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Churchill cheered by the House
Winston Churchill sits down, head in hands, following his speech to the House of Commons on 4 July 1940. On the previous day, the Royal Navy had attacked the French Naval ships moored in Mers-El-K颩r on the Algerian coast. Following France's armistice with Germany, there was a fear that these ships might fall into enemy hands, and thus the difficult decision to destroy them was taken, leading to the death of well over a thousand French sailors. It was seen as being a symbolic demonstration that Britain would be just as ruthless as the opposing forces, and Churchill viewed it a key moment, "the supreme hour to which we have been called." On their feet, cheering Churchill are Clement Attlee to the left and Neville Chamberlain to the right of Churchill, waving his order paper. Behind Chamberlain is Arthur Greenwood, Labour politician. To the right is David Lloyd-George and beyond him Sir Charles Edwards, Chief Labour Whip. Behind him is Hastings Lees-Smith, acting leader of the Labour Party. Date: 4 July 1940
© Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans