Sir Winston Churchill’s former bodyguard has paid tribute to the legendary wartime leader ahead of the 50th anniversary of the ex-PM’s death.
Former Royal Marine Neville Bullock, of Garswood, who accompanied Churchill during the Potsdam conference, described him as “the right man for England at the right time”.
The 89-year-old also told how he still remembers the day Churchill died - January 24, 1965 - “like it was yesterday”.
He said: “Churchill was the right man for England at the right time. It was a time when almost everybody else thought that winning the war was an impossibility - Hitler had built up an enormous army and air force.
“In my mind, Churchill will never be equalled. He inspired not only England but much of the rest of the world with his gestures about freedom and his refusal to let our country be overrun by dictators.”
Just weeks after the end of the Second World War, Neville showed no hesitation in putting himself forward for a special secret mission.
Little did he know that the secret mission was to act as a bodyguard for the revered wartime leader!
“I assumed it was something to do with an invasion,” admitted Neville, who wasn’t the only marine to step forward.
“But I only found out what I had said ‘yes’ to in a briefing at a top-secret government garage off Sloane Square in London.
“The job was to accompany Mr Churchill to Potsdam for his meeting with Stalin and President Truman about Germany and post-war Europe.”
Neville’s brief was to silently shadow Churchill everywhere he went.
But he followed his orders so meticulously that Churchill ended up branding him “a bloody nuisance”!
He explained: “At one point Mr Churchill slipped outside for a bit of a think away from his family.
“When I realised he had gone outside I ran down the path to guard him and he said ‘do you have to follow me everywhere?’ I replied ‘yes sir’ and he said ‘you’re a bloody nuisance’ before adding ‘come along, I’ve been a bloody nuisance for years’!”
In recent years Neville served as a local councillor for Billinge and Seneley Green.
But it is his link with Winston Churchill which continues to win the father-of-two and grandfather-of-three admirers across the globe.
He even counts Rudy Giuliani, the Mayor of New York at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as a personal friend!
And, in 2010, he was delighted to receive a surprise, but much treasured, honour.
Neville, also a former Garswood parish councillor, received the Churchill Centre and Cabinet War Rooms Museum’s Somervell Award for his his fascinating essay, Eyewitness To Potsdam.