Churchill war ministry

The Churchill war ministry was the United Kingdom's coalition government for most of the Second World War from 10 May 1940 to 23 May 1945. It was led by Winston Churchill, who was appointed Prime Minister by King George VI following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain in the aftermath of the Norway Debate.

Churchill war ministry
1940–1945
Churchill HU 90973.jpg
Winston Churchill on 2 August 1944
Date formed10 May 1940 (1940-05-10)
Date dissolved23 May 1945 (1945-05-23)
People and organisations
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Deputy Prime MinisterClement Attlee (1942–1945)
Total no. of members223 appointments
Member parties
Status in legislatureMajority (coalition)
604 / 615 (98%)
History
Legislature term(s)37th UK Parliament
Incoming formationNorway Debate
PredecessorChamberlain war ministry
SuccessorChurchill caretaker ministry

At the outset, Churchill formed a five-man War Cabinet which included Chamberlain as Lord President of the Council, Clement Attlee as Lord Privy Seal and later as Deputy Prime Minister, Viscount Halifax as Foreign Secretary and Arthur Greenwood as a minister without portfolio. Although the original war cabinet was limited to five members, in practice they were augmented by the service chiefs and ministers who attended the majority of meetings. The cabinet changed in size and membership as the war progressed but there were significant additions later in 1940 when it was increased to eight after Churchill, Attlee and Greenwood were joined by Ernest Bevin as Minister of Labour and National Service; Anthony Eden as Foreign Secretary – replacing Halifax, who was sent to Washington D.C. as ambassador to the United States; Lord Beaverbrook as Minister of Aircraft Production; Sir Kingsley Wood as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Sir John Anderson as Lord President of the Council – replacing Chamberlain who died in November (Anderson later became Chancellor after Wood's death in September 1943).

The coalition was dissolved in May 1945, following the final defeat of Germany, when the Labour Party decided to withdraw in order to prepare for a general election. Churchill, who was the leader of the Conservative Party, was asked by the King to form a new, essentially Conservative, government. It was known as the Churchill caretaker ministry and managed the country's affairs until completion of the general election on 26 July that year.

BackgroundEdit

The 1935 general election had resulted in a Conservative victory with a substantial majority and Stanley Baldwin became Prime Minister. In May 1937, Baldwin retired and was succeeded by Neville Chamberlain who continued Baldwin's foreign policy of appeasement in the face of German, Italian and Japanese aggression. Having signed the Munich Agreement with Hitler in 1938, Chamberlain became alarmed by the dictator's continuing aggression and, in March 1939, signed the Anglo-Polish military alliance which supposedly guaranteed British support for Poland if attacked. Chamberlain issued the declaration of war against Germany on 3 September 1939 and formed a war cabinet which included Winston Churchill (out of office since June 1929) as First Lord of the Admiralty.[1]

Dissatisfaction with Chamberlain's leadership became widespread in the spring of 1940 after Germany successfully invaded Norway. In response, the House of Commons held the Norway Debate from 7 to 9 May. At the end of the second day, the Labour opposition forced a division which was in effect a motion of no confidence in Chamberlain. The government's majority of 213 was reduced to 81, still a victory but nevertheless a shattering blow for Chamberlain.[2]

9–13 May 1940: Creation of a new governmentEdit

9 May – Chamberlain considers his optionsEdit

On Thursday, 9 May, Chamberlain attempted to form a National Coalition Government. In talks at Downing Street with Viscount Halifax and Churchill, he indicated that he was quite ready to resign if that was necessary for Labour to enter such a government. Labour's leader Clement Attlee and his deputy Arthur Greenwood then joined the meeting, and when asked, they indicated that they must first consult their party's National Executive Committee (then in Bournemouth to prepare for the annual conference), but it was unlikely they could serve in a government led by Chamberlain; they probably would be able to serve under some other Conservative.[3]

After Attlee and Greenwood left, Chamberlain asked whom he should recommend to the King as his successor. The version of events given by Churchill is that Chamberlain's preference for Halifax was obvious (Churchill implies that the spat between Churchill and the Labour benches the previous night had something to do with that); there was a long silence which Halifax eventually broke by saying he did not believe he could lead the government effectively as a member of the House of Lords instead of the House of Commons.[4] Churchill's version gets the date wrong, and he fails to mention the presence of David Margesson, the government Chief Whip.[4][5][6]

Halifax's account omits the dramatic pause and gives an additional reason: "PM said I was the man mentioned as most acceptable. I said it would be hopeless position. If I was not in charge of the war (operations) and if I didn't lead in the House, I should be a cypher. I thought Winston was a better choice. Winston did not demur."[3] According to Halifax, Margesson then confirmed that the House of Commons had been veering to Churchill.

In a letter to Churchill written that night,[7] Bob Boothby asserted that parliamentary opinion was hardening against Halifax, claiming in a postscript that according to Liberal MP Clement Davies, "Attlee & Greenwood are unable to distinguish between the PM & Halifax and are not prepared to serve under the latter". Davies (who thought Chamberlain should go, and be replaced by Churchill) had lunched with Attlee and Greenwood (and argued his case) shortly before they saw Chamberlain.[8] Labour's Hugh Dalton, however, noted in his diary entry for 9 May that he had spoken with Attlee, who "agrees with my preference for Halifax over Churchill, but we both think either would be tolerable".[9]

10 May – Churchill succeeds ChamberlainEdit

On the morning of Friday, 10 May, Germany invaded the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Chamberlain initially felt that a change of government at such a time would be inappropriate, but upon being given confirmation that Labour would not serve under him, he announced to the War Cabinet his intention to resign.[10] Scarcely more than three days after he had opened the debate, Chamberlain went to Buckingham Palace to resign as Prime Minister. Despite resigning as PM, however, he continued to be the leader of the Conservative Party. He explained to the King why Halifax, whom the King thought the obvious candidate,[11] did not want to become Prime Minister. The King then sent for Churchill and asked him to form a new government; according to Churchill, there was no stipulation that it must be a coalition government.[12]

At 21:00 on 10 May, Chamberlain announced the change of Prime Minister over the BBC. Churchill's first act as Prime Minister was to ask Attlee and Greenwood to come and see him at Admiralty House. Next, he wrote to Chamberlain to thank him for his promised support. He then began to construct his coalition cabinet with the assistance of Attlee and Greenwood. Their conference went on into the early hours of Saturday and they reached a broad agreement on the composition of the new war cabinet, subject to Labour Party confirmation. Attlee and Greenwood were confident of securing this on Saturday after Churchill promised that more than a third of government positions would be offered to Labour members, including some of the key posts.[13][14]

11/12 May – formation of the national governmentEdit

On Saturday, 11 May, the Labour Party agreed to join a national government under Churchill's leadership and he was able to confirm his war cabinet. In his biography of Churchill, Roy Jenkins described the Churchill cabinet as one "for winning", while the former Chamberlain cabinet was one "for losing".[15] Labour leader Clement Attlee relinquished his official role as Leader of the Opposition to become Lord Privy Seal (until 19 February 1942 when he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister). Arthur Greenwood, Labour's deputy leader, was appointed a minister without portfolio.[16]

There was no de facto Leader of the Opposition from 11 May 1940 until Attlee resumed the role on 23 May 1945. The Labour Party appointed an acting Leader of the Opposition whose job, although he was in effect a member of the national government, was to ensure the continued functionality of the House of Commons. Due process in the Commons requires someone, even a member of the government, to fill the role even if there is no actual opposition.[17] The first acting leader was Hastings Lees-Smith, the MP for Keighley, who died in office on 18 December 1941. He was briefly succeeded by Frederick Pethick-Lawrence and then by Arthur Greenwood, who had left the War Cabinet, from 22 February 1942 until 23 May 1945.[18]

The main problem for Churchill as he became Prime Minister was that he was not the leader of the majority Conservative Party and, needing its support, was obliged to include Chamberlain in the war cabinet, but this was not to Labour's liking. Initially, Churchill proposed to appoint Chamberlain as both Leader of the House of Commons and Chancellor of the Exchequer. Attlee objected and Churchill decided to appoint Chamberlain as Lord President of the Council. The fifth member of the war cabinet was Halifax, who retained his position as Foreign Secretary.[19] Instead of Chamberlain, Sir Kingsley Wood became Chancellor but, until 3 October 1940, he was not a member of the war cabinet.[20]

Churchill appointed himself as Leader of the House of Commons (it was normal procedure until 1942 for a prime minister in the Commons to lead the House) and created for himself the new role of Minister of Defence, so that he would be permanent chair of the Cabinet Defence Committee (CDC) which included the three service ministers, the three service chiefs of staff and other ministers and experts as and when required.[21][22] Anthony Eden became Secretary of State for War; Labour's A. V. Alexander succeeded Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty; and the Liberal Party leader, Sir Archibald Sinclair, became Secretary of State for Air.[23] The three service Chiefs of Staff (CoS) at this time were Admiral Sir Dudley Pound, the First Sea Lord; Air Marshal Sir Cyril Newall, the Chief of the Air Staff; and Field Marshal Sir Edmund Ironside, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS). (On 27 May, Ironside was replaced at Churchill's request by his deputy Field Marshal Sir John Dill, and Ironside became Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces.) In addition, for the ministry's whole term, both the war cabinet and the CDC were regularly attended by Sir Edward Bridges, Cabinet Secretary; General Sir Hastings Ismay, Chief of Staff to the Minister of Defence; and Major General Sir Leslie Hollis, Secretary to the Chiefs of Staff Committee.[24]

13 May – Churchill's first speech as Prime MinisterEdit

By Monday, 13 May, most of the senior government posts were filled. That day was Whit Monday, normally a bank holiday but cancelled by the incoming government. A specially convened sitting of the House of Commons was held and Churchill spoke for the first time as Prime Minister:[25]

I beg to move, that this House welcomes the formation of a Government representing the united and inflexible resolve of the nation to prosecute the war with Germany to a victorious conclusion.

He explained that a War Cabinet of five members had been formed to represent the unity of the nation with all three main party leaders agreeing to serve either in the War Cabinet or in high executive office. Churchill was hoping to complete all ministerial appointments by the end of the 14th. He announced an adjournment of Commons business until the 21st and apologised for making only a short address for the present. Even so, his speech has become one of his most famous because he concluded with his statement of intent:[26]

I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat". We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realised; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, "Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength".

In reply, Hastings Lees-Smith as acting Leader of the Opposition announced that Labour would vote for the motion to assure the country of a unified political front.[27] After several other members had spoken, including David Lloyd George and Stafford Cripps, the House divided on the question: "That this House welcomes the formation of a Government representing the united and inflexible resolve of the nation to prosecute the war with Germany to a victorious conclusion". 381 members voted "aye" in favour of the motion and, apart from the two tellers for the "noes", the wartime coalition was endorsed unanimously.[28]

Meanwhile, the Labour Party's conference had gone ahead as planned. On the 13th, Attlee spoke to confirm that the party was now in coalition with the Conservatives and Liberals as a national government. He told the conference that: "We are trying to form a government that should rally all the nation and set forth the energies of the people". He added that he had "not the slightest doubt about our victory".[29]

14 May 1940 to 30 April 1941Edit

 
Churchill's ministers on 24 October 1941.[30] Back row (l to r): Sinclair, Alexander, Cranborne, Morrison, Moyne, Margesson, Bracken. Front row (l to r): Bevin, Beaverbrook, Eden, Attlee, Churchill, Anderson, Greenwood, Wood.
  • 2 August 1940: Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of Aircraft Production, joined the War Cabinet.
  • 22 September 1940: resignation of Neville Chamberlain for health reasons (terminal colon cancer).
  • October 1940: Sir John Anderson succeeded Chamberlain as Lord President and joined the War Cabinet. Sir Kingsley Wood, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Ernest Bevin, the Minister of Labour, also entered the War Cabinet. Lord Halifax assumed the additional job of Leader of the House of Lords.
  • 9 November 1940: death of Neville Chamberlain.
  • 22 December 1940: Anthony Eden succeeded Lord Halifax as Foreign Secretary (Eden held the post until 26 July 1945) and joined the War Cabinet as its eighth member. Halifax became Ambassador to the United States. His successor as Leader of the House of Lords was not in the War Cabinet.
  • 30 April 1941: Beaverbrook ceased to be Minister of Aircraft Production, but remained in the War Cabinet as Minister of State (appointed 1 May 1941). His successor was not in the War Cabinet.

1 May 1941 to 30 April 1942Edit

1 May 1942 to 30 April 1943Edit

  • October 1942: Sir Stafford Cripps retired as Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons and left the War Cabinet. His successor as Lord Privy Seal (Viscount Cranborne) was not in the Cabinet, Anthony Eden took the additional position of Leader of the House of Commons. The Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison, entered the Cabinet.

1 May 1943 to 30 April 1944Edit

  • 21 September 1943: death of Sir Kingsley Wood.
  • September 1943: Anderson succeeded Wood as Chancellor of the Exchequer, remaining in the War Cabinet. Clement Attlee succeeded Anderson as Lord President, remaining also Deputy Prime Minister. Attlee's successor as Dominions Secretary was not in the Cabinet.
  • November 1943: Lord Woolton entered the Cabinet as Minister of Reconstruction.
  • January 1944: Lord Moyne replaced Richard Gardiner Casey as Minister-Resident for the Middle East.

1 May 1944 to 22 May 1945Edit

  • 6 November 1944 – Lord Moyne was assassinated in Cairo by Jewish militants. His successor was not in the war cabinet.

23 May 1945 – End of the ministryEdit

In October 1944, Churchill had proposed to the Commons that the current Parliament, which had begun in 1935, should be extended by a further year. He correctly anticipated the defeat of Germany in the spring of 1945 but he did not expect the end of the Far East war until 1946. He therefore recommended that the end of the European war should be "a pointer (to) fix the date of the (next) General Election".[31]

Attlee, along with Eden and others, attended the San Francisco Conference and had returned to London by 18 May 1945 (ten days after V-E Day) when he met Churchill to discuss the future of the coalition. Attlee, in agreement with Churchill, wanted it to continue until after the Japanese surrender but he discovered that others in the Labour Party, especially Morrison and Bevin, wanted an election in October after Parliament ended. On 20 May, Attlee attended his party conference and found that opinion was against him so he informed Churchill that Labour must leave the coalition.[32]

On 23 May, Labour left the coalition to begin their general election campaign. Churchill resigned as prime minister but the King asked him to form a new government, known as the Churchill caretaker ministry, until the election was held in July. Churchill agreed and his new ministry, essentially a Conservative one, held office for the next two months until it was replaced by Attlee's Labour government after their election victory.[33][34][35][36]

Government membersEdit

Ministers who held War Cabinet membership, 10 May 1940 – 23 May 1945Edit

This table lists those ministers who held war cabinet membership in Churchill's ministry.[37]

The focus in this table is upon the ministers themselves while the tables below are primarily concerned with ministerial offices. There were five war cabinet members at the outset and two, Churchill and Attlee, served throughout the ministry's entire term. Some members such as Bevin, Morrison and Wood were appointed to the war cabinet while retaining offices that had originally been part of the outer cabinet. Anderson and Eden were promoted to the war cabinet from other offices after their predecessors, Chamberlain and Halifax, had left the government. Others such as Beaverbrook, Lyttelton and Woolton were brought in to fill new offices that were created to address current priorities. The list includes Sir Edward Bridges, who was the Cabinet Secretary through the entire war and was rarely absent from war cabinet sessions – as a senior civil servant, he was not a political appointee and his entry below is in italics.

 
Lord Moyne (1918)
 
Wilfred Paling ( in 1923)
 
Tom Williams (in 1923)
 
Ben Smith (1927)
Minister Party Portfolio Joined war cabinet Left war cabinet Notes
Winston Churchill Conservative Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury 10 May 1940 23 May 1945 Churchill had been First Lord of the Admiralty under Neville Chamberlain and succeeded him as Prime Minister and Leader of the House. He created the new role of Minister of Defence for himself to preside over the Cabinet Defence Committee, Operations, and hold full responsibility for prosecution of the war.[38] To reduce his workload in February 1942, Churchill appointed Sir Stafford Cripps as Leader of the House.[39]
Minister of Defence 10 May 1940 23 May 1945
Leader of the House of Commons 10 May 1940 19 February 1942
Sir Edward Bridges none Cabinet Secretary 10 May 1940 23 May 1945 Bridges was a civil servant who was appointed Cabinet Secretary in 1938 and remained in situ until 1946.
Neville Chamberlain Conservative Lord President of the Council 11 May 1940 29 September 1940 Although he had resigned as Prime Minister, Chamberlain retained the leadership of the Conservative Party. He succeeded Earl Stanhope as Lord President. Chamberlain resigned for health reasons and died on 9 November 1940. He was succeeded by Home Secretary Sir John Anderson who joined the war cabinet.
Clement Attlee Labour Lord Privy Seal 11 May 1940 15 February 1942 Attlee was the Leader of the Labour Party and relinquished the office of Leader of the Opposition for the duration. He became Deputy PM in February 1942 with general responsibility for domestic affairs.[40] Except during Attlee's tenure, Dominions was not a war cabinet portfolio (see below).
Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs 15 February 1942 24 September 1943
Deputy Prime Minister 19 February 1942 23 May 1945
Lord President of the Council 24 September 1943 23 May 1945
Viscount Halifax Conservative Foreign Secretary 11 May 1940 22 December 1940 Halifax was in situ as Foreign Secretary, having been appointed by Chamberlain on 21 February 1938. He was also briefly the Leader of the House of Lords before Churchill sent him to Washington DC as British Ambassador to the United States. He was succeeded by Anthony Eden as Foreign Secretary and by Lord Lloyd in the Lords.
Leader of the House of Lords 3 October 1940 22 December 1940
Arthur Greenwood Labour Minister without portfolio 11 May 1940 22 February 1942 Greenwood was the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and a former Health Minister. He left the war cabinet in February 1942 and became acting Leader of the Opposition until 23 May 1945.
Lord Beaverbrook Conservative Minister of Aircraft Production 2 August 1940 30 April 1941 Aircraft Production was a new office within the war cabinet that was created by Churchill to address the urgent need for military aircraft. Beaverbrook had been outside politics since 1917. He resigned on 30 April 1941 and became Minister of State which was a nominal role only with no specific portfolio. As Minister of Supply, Beaverbrook clashed with Ernest Bevin and resigned again, briefly becoming Minister of War Production before resigning for the third time. He later became Lord Privy Seal but outside the war cabinet. Except during Beaverbrook's tenures, Aircraft Production and Supply were not war cabinet portfolios (see below).
Minister of State 1 May 1941 29 June 1941
Minister of Supply 29 June 1941 4 February 1942
Minister of War Production 4 February 1942 19 February 1942
Sir John Anderson National Lord President of the Council 3 October 1940 24 September 1943 Anderson had been Home Secretary since 4 September 1939 but did not join the war cabinet until he succeeded Chamberlain as Lord President. He became Chancellor of the Exchequer in September 1943, remaining in the war cabinet.
Chancellor of the Exchequer 24 September 1943 23 May 1945
Ernest Bevin Labour Minister of Labour and National Service 3 October 1940 23 May 1945 Bevin had been the General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union and was new to political office. Succeeding Ernest Brown, he was appointed on 13 May 1940 but did join the war cabinet until 3 October 1940.
Sir Kingsley Wood Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer 3 October 1940 22 February 1942 Previously Lord Privy Seal, Wood was appointed Chancellor on 12 May 1940 but did not join the war cabinet until 3 October 1940. He left the war cabinet on 22 February 1942 but remained Chancellor until his death on 21 September 1943. He was succeeded by Anderson.
Anthony Eden Conservative Foreign Secretary 22 December 1940 23 May 1945 Eden had been the Secretary of State for War from 11 May 1940 but was outside the war cabinet until he succeeded Halifax as Foreign Secretary. In November 1942, he succeeded Cripps as Leader of the House of Commons and combined both these roles till the end of the ministry.
Leader of the House of Commons 22 November 1942 23 May 1945
Oliver Lyttelton Conservative Minister-Resident for the Middle East 29 June 1941 12 March 1942 Minister-Resident for the Middle East was a new war cabinet office created to relieve military commanders in the Middle East of civil responsibility. Lyttelton had been President of the Board of Trade since October 1940, but that was outside the war cabinet. He became Minister of Production (formerly War Production) and was succeeded by Richard Casey.
Minister of Production 12 March 1942 23 May 1945
Sir Stafford Cripps Labour Lord Privy Seal 19 February 1942 22 November 1942 Cripps had been the British Ambassador to the Soviet Union and was invited into the war cabinet in February 1942 as both Leader of the House of Commons, replacing Churchill, and Lord Privy Seal, replacing Attlee. In November 1942, he took over at Aircraft Production, which was no longer a war cabinet portfolio, until the end of the administration.
Leader of the House of Commons 19 February 1942 22 November 1942
Herbert Morrison Labour Home Secretary and Minister for Home Security 22 November 1942 23 May 1945 Morrison was appointed Home Secretary on 2 October 1940 but did not join the war cabinet (see below) until 22 November 1942.
Richard Casey National Minister-Resident for the Middle East 12 March 1942 14 January 1944 Casey previously Australian Ambassador to the United States and became Governor of Bengal in January 1944. He was succeeded by Lord Moyne.
Lord Woolton National Minister of Reconstruction 11 November 1943 23 May 1945 Reconstruction was a new war cabinet office created to lead post-war planning. Woolton had been the Minister of Food since April 1940, but that was outside the war cabinet.
Lord Moyne Conservative Minister-Resident for the Middle East 14 January 1944 6 November 1944 Moyne had been the Deputy Minister-Resident to Casey, whom he succeeded. He was assassinated by Jewish militants on 6 November 1944. Sir Edward Grigg took over, but the portfolio was then dropped from the war cabinet.

Cabinet Defence Committee (CDC), OperationsEdit

Established by Churchill in May 1940, the Cabinet Defence Committee (CDC), Operations, was the key organisation through which the government prosecuted the war, especially in 1940 and 1941. From 1942, as the tide of war began to turn in favour of the Allies, the importance of the CDC was reduced and its meetings became fewer as its work was increasingly delegated or raised at conferences. Churchill created the office of Minister of Defence so that he could preside over the CDC and chair its meetings. The essential members were the three Chiefs of Staff (CoS), the three service ministers and Churchill's aide, General Ismay. Other ministers, especially Attlee, frequently attended CDC sessions, as did various experts who were summoned at need.

The CoS continued to hold their own Chiefs of Staff Committee (CSC) meetings. The CDC enabled Churchill to have direct contact with them so that strategic concerns could be addressed with due regard to civil matters and foreign affairs. This table lists the key members of the CDC.

Portfolio Minister Party Took office Left office Notes
Minister of Defence Winston Churchill Conservative 10 May 1940 23 May 1945 (see above)
Secretary of State for War Anthony Eden Conservative 11 May 1940 22 December 1940 Eden had previously been the Dominions minister. In December 1940 he was promoted back to his old post as Foreign Secretary and joined the war cabinet. Margesson, the former Chief Whip, succeeded him at the War Office until he was dismissed and replaced by his Permanent Under-Secretary, James Grigg, who remained in situ till May 1945.
David Margesson Conservative 22 December 1940 22 February 1942
Sir James Grigg National 22 February 1942 23 May 1945
Secretary of State for Air Sir Archibald Sinclair Liberal 11 May 1940 23 May 1945 Sinclair was the Leader of the Liberal Party and, as a close friend and ally of Churchill, he was often co-opted to the war cabinet though never an actual member. Churchill valued his support during the crisis in late May 1940.
First Lord of the Admiralty A. V. Alexander Labour 11 May 1940 23 May 1945 Alexander was a Labour front-bench spokesman on trade. He had been First Lord from 1929 to 1931 under Ramsay MacDonald.
Secretary of the CSC General Sir Hastings Ismay none 10 May 1940 23 May 1945 Ismay was Churchill's chief staff officer and military adviser throughout the war.
Secretary to the CoS Committee Major General Sir Leslie Hollis none 10 May 1940 23 May 1945 Hollis was Senior Assistant Secretary in the War Cabinet Office throughout the war.
First Sea Lord Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound none 10 May 1940 15 October 1943 Pound was in situ, having been appointed 12 June 1939. He resigned 15 October 1943 due to failing health and died six days later. Cunningham had been the Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet.
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham none 15 October 1943 23 May 1945
Chief of the General Staff (CIGS) General Sir Edmund Ironside none 10 May 1940 26 May 1940 Ironside was in situ, having been appointed 4 September 1939. He became Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces and was replaced by Dill who, as Vice Chief of the General Staff was his deputy. Dill was replaced by Brooke and became Chief of British Joint Staff Mission in Washington, DC. Brooke had been Ironside's successor as C-in-C, Home Forces.
General Sir John Dill none 26 May 1940 25 December 1941
Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke none 25 December 1941 23 May 1945
Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Sir Cyril Newall none 10 May 1940 25 October 1940 Newall was in situ, having been appointed 1 September 1937. He was pushed into retirement and replaced by Portal who had been C-in-C of Bomber Command.
Air Marshal Sir Charles Portal none 25 October 1940 23 May 1945

Senior government ministries and offices, 10 May 1940 – 23 May 1945Edit

This table lists cabinet level ministries and offices during the Churchill administration.[37] Most of these were portfolios in the "outer cabinet" and outside the war cabinet, although some were temporarily included in the war cabinet, as indicated by bold highlighting of the ministers concerned.[37] Focus here is upon the ministerial offices. Some ministries, such as Foreign Secretary, were in the war cabinet throughout the entire administration whereas others like Lord Privy Seal, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Home Secretary were sometimes in the war cabinet and sometimes not, depending on priorities at the time. A number of ministries were created by Churchill in response to wartime needs. Some of the ministers retained offices that they held in former administrations and their notes include the date of their original appointment. For new appointments to existing offices, their predecessor's name is given.

Portfolio Minister Party Took office Left office Notes
Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury Winston Churchill Conservative 10 May 1940 23 May 1945 (see above)
Deputy Prime Minister Clement Attlee Labour 19 February 1942 23 May 1945 (see above)
Minister of Defence Winston Churchill Conservative 10 May 1940 23 May 1945 (see above)
Lord Chancellor Viscount Simon Liberal National 12 May 1940 23 May 1945 Simon had previously been Chancellor of the Exchequer under Chamberlain and succeeded Viscount Caldecote as Lord Chancellor. In the 1940s, the Lord Chancellor presided over the House of Lords and headed the judiciary.
Lord President of the Council Neville Chamberlain Conservative 10 May 1940 29 September 1940 (see above)
Sir John Anderson National 3 October 1940 24 September 1943
Clement Attlee Labour 24 September 1943 23 May 1945
Lord Privy Seal Clement Attlee Labour 11 May 1940 15 February 1942 Attlee and Cripps were members of the war cabinet while holding this office; Cranborne and Beaverbrook were not. Cranborne, previously Secretary of State for the Colonies, was simultaneously Leader of the House of Lords and became Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs in September 1943. Beaverbrook, out of government since February 1942, succeeded Cranborne and held the tenure until the end of the administration.
Sir Stafford Cripps Labour 19 February 1942 22 November 1942
Viscount Cranborne Conservative 22 November 1942 24 September 1943
Lord Beaverbrook Conservative 24 September 1943 23 May 1945
Minister without portfolio Arthur Greenwood Labour 11 May 1940 22 February 1942 (see above)
Foreign Secretary Viscount Halifax Conservative 10 May 1940 22 December 1940 (see above)
Anthony Eden Conservative 22 December 1940 23 May 1945
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Kingsley Wood Conservative 12 May 1940 21 September 1943 (see above)
Sir John Anderson National 24 September 1943 23 May 1945
Home Secretary and Minister for Home Security Sir John Anderson National 12 May 1940 3 October 1940 Anderson was in situ having been appointed by Chamberlain on 4 September 1939. He was confirmed in office by Churchill but was not invited to join the war cabinet until he succeeded Chamberlain as Lord President of the Council in October 1940. Morrison succeeded Anderson, having previously been the Minister of Supply. Morrison was appointed on 2 October 1940 but was not asked to join the war cabinet until 22 November 1942. He remained in the office and in the war cabinet until May 1945.
Herbert Morrison Labour 2 October 1940 23 May 1945
Minister of Labour and National Service Ernest Bevin Labour 13 May 1940 23 May 1945 (see above)
Secretary of State for War Anthony Eden Conservative 11 May 1940 22 December 1940 (see above)
David Margesson Conservative 22 December 1940 22 February 1942
Sir James Grigg National 22 February 1942 23 May 1945
Secretary of State for Air Sir Archibald Sinclair Liberal 11 May 1940 23 May 1945 (see above)
First Lord of the Admiralty A. V. Alexander Labour 11 May 1940 23 May 1945 (see above)
Leader of the House of Commons Winston Churchill Conservative 10 May 1940 19 February 1942 An office traditionally held by the prime minister; Churchill duly succeeded Chamberlain but later relinquished the role to reduce his workload.[39] Since then, no prime minister has taken it.
Sir Stafford Cripps Labour 19 February 1942 22 November 1942
Anthony Eden Conservative 22 November 1942 23 May 1945
Leader of the House of Lords Viscount Caldecote Conservative 10 May 1940 3 October 1940 Caldecote, previously Lord Chancellor, succeeded Earl Stanhope and was simultaneously the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. He became Lord Chief Justice of England in October 1940 and was briefly succeeded by Halifax. The office was a war cabinet portfolio while Halifax held it. Halifax was succeeded by Lloyd who was simultaneously Secretary of State for the Colonies. Lloyd died in February 1941 and was succeeded in both offices by Moyne who had been Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. In February 1942, Moyne moved to Cairo as Deputy Minister-Resident and was replaced by Cranborne to the end of the administration. Besides Leader of the Lords, Cranborne successively held the offices of Secretary of State for the Colonies (to November 1942), then Lord Privy Seal (to September 1943), and then Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to May 1945.
Viscount Halifax Conservative 3 October 1940 22 December 1940
Lord Lloyd Conservative 22 December 1940 4 February 1941
Lord Moyne Conservative 8 February 1941 21 February 1942
Viscount Cranborne Conservative 21 February 1942 23 May 1945
Minister of Aircraft Production Lord Beaverbrook Conservative 2 August 1940 30 April 1941 A new office within the war cabinet that was created by Churchill to address the urgent need for military aircraft. Beaverbrook's successor, Moore-Brabazon, was not in the war cabinet. His anti-Soviet views obliged him to resign in February 1942 and he was succeeded by Llewellin, also outside the war cabinet. Cripps replaced Llewellin in November 1942 and held the office until May 1945. Cripps had previously been in the war cabinet as Lord Privy Seal but Aircraft Production remained an outer cabinet portfolio.
John Moore-Brabazon Conservative 1 May 1941 22 February 1942
John Llewellin Conservative 22 February 1942 22 November 1942
Sir Stafford Cripps Labour 22 November 1942 23 May 1945
Minister of State Lord Beaverbrook Conservative 1 May 1941 29 June 1941 (see above)
Minister of Supply Herbert Morrison Labour 12 May 1940 2 October 1940 This had been a new ministry created by Chamberlain in July 1939 to co-ordinate supply of weapons and equipment to the armed forces. Morrison, who had previously been the Leader of the London County Council was appointed by Churchill to replace Leslie Burgin. Morrison became Home Secretary in October 1940 and was succeeded by Duncan, previously President of the Board of Trade. Duncan returned to the Board of Trade and, under Beaverbrook, Supply became a war cabinet portfolio. Duncan was brought back from Trade and held Supply till May 1945, but again as an outer cabinet portfolio.
Sir Andrew Rae Duncan National 3 October 1940 29 June 1941
Lord Beaverbrook Conservative 29 June 1941 4 February 1942
Sir Andrew Rae Duncan National 4 February 1942 23 May 1945
Minister of (War) Production Lord Beaverbrook Conservative 4 February 1942 19 February 1942 A new office originally called War Production and shortened to Production when Lyttelton took over.
Oliver Lyttelton Conservative 12 March 1942 23 May 1945
Minister of Reconstruction Lord Woolton National 11 November 1943 23 May 1945 (see above)
Minister-Resident for the Middle East Oliver Lyttelton Conservative 29 June 1941 12 March 1942 This was a war cabinet portfolio until the assassination of Moyne in November 1944. Grigg, a former junior minister who had lately been a backbench MP, took over as an outer cabinet member until the end of the administration.
Richard Casey National 12 March 1942 14 January 1944
Lord Moyne Conservative 14 January 1944 6 November 1944
Sir Edward Grigg Conservative 21 November 1944 23 May 1945
Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs Viscount Caldecote Conservative 14 May 1940 3 October 1940 Caldecote, who had previously been Lord Chancellor, succeeded Anthony Eden in May 1940. Caldecote was simultaneously Leader of the House of Lords. In October 1940, he became Lord Chief Justice of England and was succeeded by Cranborne, previously the Paymaster General. In February 1942, Cranborne became Secretary of State for the Colonies and Dominions was taken over by Attlee in addition to his new role as Deputy Prime Minister. While was Attlee in tenure, Dominions was a war cabinet portfolio. Cranborne, who had moved from Colonies to Lord Privy Seal, moved back to Dominions but it reverted to outer cabinet with Attlee's departure. Cranborne retained it until May 1945 and was simultaneously Leader of the House of Lords.
Viscount Cranborne Conservative 3 October 1940 15 February 1942
Clement Attlee Labour 15 February 1942 24 September 1943
Viscount Cranborne Conservative 24 September 1943 23 May 1945
Minister of Information Duff Cooper Conservative 12 May 1940 20 July 1941 Cooper had previously been out of office; he succeeded Sir John Reith, a Chamberlain appointee who was sacked by Churchill. Cooper was never comfortable with censorship and was replaced by Bracken in July 1941. Cooper became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Bracken retained Information until May 1945.
Brendan Bracken Conservative 20 July 1941 23 May 1945
Minister of Health Malcolm MacDonald National Labour 13 May 1940 8 February 1941 A portfolio that had much less importance until Aneurin Bevan took over in 1945. MacDonald succeeded the Chamberlain appointee Dr Walter Elliot and, in February 1941, moved to Canada as its High Commissioner. Brown, the Secretary of State for Scotland, took over until November 1943 when he became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Willink had been a backbench MP who remained at Health till the end of the administration.
Ernest Brown Liberal National 8 February 1941 11 November 1943
Henry Willink Conservative 11 November 1943 23 May 1945
Minister of Food Lord Woolton Conservative 13 May 1940 11 November 1943 Woolton was in situ having been appointed by Chamberlain on 3 April 1940 and retained by Churchill. He was well known for Woolton pie, a leftovers recipe named after him which millions of British people relied upon during rationing. On 11 November 1943, he joined the war cabinet as Minister of Reconstruction. Llewellin succeeded him and held the office to May 1945.
John Llewellin Conservative 11 November 1943 23 May 1945
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Robert Hudson Conservative 14 May 1940 23 May 1945 Previously Minister of Shipping, Hudson remained at Agriculture and Fisheries throughout the Churchill administration. According to Earl Winterton, Hudson "was by far the best of Ministers of Agriculture in either war...he was determined to see that farmers and landowners alike utilised every acre of soil to help keep the nation from starvation".[41]
Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton Labour 15 May 1940 22 February 1942 This ministry was created by Chamberlain in September 1939. The minister was in charge of the Special Operations Executive (SOE). Dalton had previously been Labour's front-bench spokesman on foreign affairs. He succeeded Ronald Cross, who became Minister of Shipping. In the February 1942 reshuffle, Dalton became President of the Board of Trade. Selborne had been out of active politics for two years, having formerly held junior ministerial posts.
Earl Selborne Conservative 22 February 1942 23 May 1945
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Lord Hankey Independent 14 May 1940 20 July 1941 Hankey, who was formerly a minister without portfolio in Chamberlain's war cabinet, succeeded Lord Tryon. Hankey became Paymaster General in July 1941 and was succeeded by Cooper who had been the Minister of Information. Cooper moved to a post as British representative at the French Committee of National Liberation (FCLN) and was succeeded by Brown, who had been the Minister of Health.
Duff Cooper Conservative 20 July 1941 11 November 1943
Ernest Brown Liberal National 11 November 1943 23 May 1945
Attorney General Sir Donald Somervell Conservative 15 May 1940 23 May 1945 Somervell was in situ having been appointed by Stanley Baldwin on 18 March 1936 and re-confirmed by both Chamberlain (1937) and Churchill (1940). He became Home Secretary in the Churchill caretaker ministry.[42]
Lord Advocate Thomas Cooper Conservative 15 May 1940 5 June 1941 Cooper was in situ, having been appointed by Baldwin in 1935. He became the Lord Justice Clerk. Reid had been Solicitor-General for Scotland.
James Reid Conservative 5 June 1941 23 May 1945
Solicitor General Sir William Jowitt Labour 15 May 1940 4 March 1942 Jowitt had been a backbench MP and became Paymaster General. Maxwell Fyfe was a barrister appointed by Churchill on Bracken's recommendation.
Sir David Maxwell Fyfe Conservative 4 March 1942 23 May 1945
Solicitor General for Scotland James Reid Conservative 15 May 1940 23 May 1945 Reid was in situ, having been appointed by Baldwin in 1935. He became Lord Advocate. King Murray had been Chairman of the Scottish Land Court.
David King Murray Conservative 5 June 1941 23 May 1945
Paymaster General Viscount Cranborne Conservative 15 May 1940 3 October 1940 Cranborne, previously Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, succeeded Earl Winterton. Cranborne moved to Dominion Affairs and Paymaster General was a vacant office until July 1941. Hankey had been Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He was sacked in March 1942 and left politics. Jowitt, previously Solicitor General, became a minister without portfolio dealing with legal matters. Cherwell was previously a scientific advisor to the government.
Lord Hankey Independent 20 July 1941 4 March 1942
Sir William Jowitt Labour 4 March 1942 30 December 1942
Lord Cherwell Conservative 30 December 1942 23 May 1945
Postmaster-General William Morrison Conservative 15 May 1940 7 February 1943 Morrison was in situ, having been appointed by Chamberlain on 3 April 1940. He moved to Town & Country Planning. Crookshank was previously Financial Secretary to the Treasury.
Harry Crookshank Conservative 7 February 1943 23 May 1945
President of the Board of Education Herwald Ramsbotham Conservative 14 May 1940 20 July 1941 Ramsbotham was in situ having been appointed by Chamberlain on 3 April 1940. He was replaced by Butler and elevated to the peerage. Butler had previously been the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
The Board of Education was renamed the Ministry of Education on 3 August 1944 during Butler's tenure.
Rab Butler Conservative 20 July 1941 23 May 1945
President of the Board of Trade Sir Andrew Rae Duncan National 12 May 1940 3 October 1940 Duncan was in situ having been appointed by Chamberlain on 5 January 1940. During Lyttelton's tenure, Duncan was the Minister of Supply and he returned to that office after his second term at Trade in February 1942. Lyttelton had been a businessman known to Churchill who was brought into the government several weeks before he became an MP. Lyttelton was appointed Minister-Resident for the Middle East and Duncan returned to Trade from Supply. Llewellin, previously a backbench MP, was at Trade for less than three weeks before being appointed Minister of Aircraft Production. He was replaced by Dalton, formerly the Minister of Economic Warfare.
Oliver Lyttelton Conservative 3 October 1940 29 June 1941
Sir Andrew Rae Duncan National 29 June 1941 4 February 1942
John Llewellin Conservative 4 February 1942 22 February 1942
Hugh Dalton Labour 22 February 1942 23 May 1945
Secretary of State for India and Burma Leo Amery Conservative 13 May 1940 23 May 1945 Amery had been a minister in the 1920s but was out of office prior to this appointment. It was as a backbench MP that he made his famous speech in the Norway Debate on 7 May 1940.
Secretary of State for Scotland Ernest Brown Liberal National 14 May 1940 8 February 1941 Brown had been Minister of Labour under Baldwin and Chamberlain. He moved to Health in February 1941 and was succeeded by Johnston, who was until then a backbench MP.
Tom Johnston Labour 8 February 1941 23 May 1945
Secretary of State for the Colonies Lord Lloyd Conservative 12 May 1940 4 February 1941 Lloyd was previously the head of the British Council. From 22 December 1940, he was also Leader of the House of Lords. He died in office on 4 February 1941 and was succeeded in both offices by Moyne, who had been one of the Parliamentary Secretaries at Agriculture and Fisheries. Moyne became the Deputy Resident-Minister in Cairo and was succeeded in both offices by Cranborne who came from Dominions. He was appointed Lord Privy Seal and was succeeded, at Colonies only, by Stanley who had been out of office for over two years.
Lord Moyne Conservative 8 February 1941 22 February 1942
Viscount Cranborne Conservative 22 February 1942 22 November 1942
Oliver Stanley Conservative 22 November 1942 23 May 1945
Minister of Civil Aviation Viscount Swinton Conservative 8 October 1944 23 May 1945 A new ministry created by Churchill to consider peacetime use of aircraft and air industry factories. Swinton had been Secretary of State for Air in the 1930s but out of office in the interim.
Minister of (War) Transport Sir John Reith National 14 May 1940 3 October 1940 Reith had been Minister of Information under Chamberlain and became First Commissioner of Works. Moore-Brabazon had been a backbench MP and moved to Aircraft Production. Leathers, an industrialist, was brought into government by Churchill. The department was renamed War Transport when Leathers took over.
John Moore-Brabazon Conservative 3 October 1940 1 May 1941
Lord Leathers Conservative 1 May 1941 23 May 1945
Minister of Shipping Ronald Cross Conservative 14 May 1940 1 May 1941 Having been created in October 1939, the office was merged into the Ministry of War Transport under Leathers on 1 May 1941. Cross was previously Minister of Economic Warfare under Chamberlain and became the British High Commissioner to Australia.
Minister for Pensions Sir Walter Womersley Conservative 15 May 1940 23 May 1945 in situ – appointed 7 June 1939 by Chamberlain; Womersley was the only minister to hold the same office throughout the war until the 1945 general election.
Minister of Social/National Insurance Sir William Jowitt Labour 8 October 1944 23 May 1945 This office was created in October 1944 to reduce the workload at Pensions. Initially called Social Insurance, the name was changed to National Insurance on 17 November 1944. Jowitt, who had been a minister without portfolio for two years, was a former Solicitor General and Paymaster General.
Minister of Fuel and Power Gwilym Lloyd George Liberal 3 June 1942 23 May 1945 A new office created to manage certain functions of the Board of Trade. Lloyd George was formerly a Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Food.
Minister of Town and Country Planning William Morrison Conservative 7 February 1943 23 May 1945 This was a new portfolio.[43] Morrison was previously Postmaster-General.
Minister-Resident for North-West Africa Harold Macmillan Conservative 30 December 1942 23 May 1945 Macmillan had been the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. Based in Algiers, he reported directly to Churchill, not the Foreign Office, and had cabinet rank for the first time.
Minister-Resident for West Africa Viscount Swinton Conservative 8 June 1942 8 October 1944 The office was based at Freetown and assumed civil responsibility for the colonies of British West Africa. Swinton had been out of office for some years. He took over at Civil Aviation and was succeeded by Balfour, who had been the Under-Secretary of State for Air.
Harold Balfour Conservative 21 November 1944 23 May 1945
Minister without portfolio Sir William Jowitt Labour 30 December 1942 8 October 1944 Jowitt, formerly Solicitor General and Paymaster General, advised the cabinet on legal matters. He took over the new National Insurance ministry in October 1944.
Minister of Works Lord Tryon Conservative 18 May 1940 3 October 1940 This role was called First Commissioner of Works until 11 February 1942 when it became Minister of Works and Planning and then Minister of Works in February 1943. Tryon, previously the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, succeeded Lord de la Warr but had to resign due to ill-health – he died on 24 November 1940.
Sir John Reith National 3 October 1940 22 February 1942
Lord Portal Conservative 22 February 1942 21 November 1944
Duncan Sandys Conservative 21 November 1944 23 May 1945
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Government Chief Whip) David Margesson Conservative 17 May 1940 22 December 1940 A jointly held sinecure position for the Government Chief Whip. Margesson (Conservative) had held the office since November 1931. From 17 May 1940, he shared it with Edwards for Labour. They were eventually succeeded by Stuart for Conservative and Whiteley for Labour.
Sir Charles Edwards Labour 17 May 1940 12 March 1942
James Stuart Conservative 14 January 1941 23 May 1945
William Whiteley Labour 12 March 1942 23 May 1945

Financial and parliamentary secretaries, 10 May 1940 – 23 May 1945Edit

This table lists the junior offices (often ministerial level 3) that held the title of Financial Secretary and/or Parliamentary Secretary.[37] None of these officials were ever in the war cabinet. Their offices have rarely, if ever, been recognised as cabinet-level, although some of the office holders here did, at need, occasionally attend cabinet meetings. Some of the appointees retained offices that they held in former administrations and these are marked in situ with the date of their original appointment. For new appointments to existing offices, their predecessor's name is given.

Portfolio Minister Party Took office Left office Notes
Financial Secretary to the Admiralty George Hall Labour 4 February 1942 25 September 1943 A new office created to support the existing Parliamentary and Financial Secretary. Hall was previously the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies and became the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Thomas was previously a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury.
James Thomas Conservative 25 September 1943 23 May 1945
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Harry Crookshank Conservative 15 May 1940 7 February 1943 Crookshank was in situ, having been appointed by Chamberlain on 21 April 1939. He became Postmaster-General. Assheton had been the parliamentary secretary at Supply and left office to become chairman of the Conservative Party. Peake was previously the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department.
Ralph Assheton Conservative 7 February 1943 29 October 1944
Osbert Peake Conservative 29 October 1944 23 May 1945
Financial Secretary to the War Office Richard Law Conservative 17 May 1940 20 July 1941 Law and Sandys were both backbench MPs prior to this office. Law became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; Sandys became Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply. Henderson was previously the Under-Secretary of State for War.
Duncan Sandys Conservative 20 July 1941 7 February 1943
Arthur Henderson Labour 7 February 1943 23 May 1945
Lords Commissioners of the Treasury William Whytehead Boulton Conservative 12 May 1940 13 March 1942 There are at least six Lords Commissioners who serve as a commission for the office of Lord High Treasurer. They always include the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer so the title of Lord Commissioner applies in practice to the four or more junior lords involved. Lords Commissioners are often government whips, as was so with several in this ministry – Stuart was promoted from Lord Commissioner to Government Chief Whip as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury.

Throughout the ministry, there were always five Lords Commissioners. Most of them held only this one office – Thomas and Paling, for example, became financial/parliamentary secretaries. Buchan-Hepburn was a Lord Commissioner twice; in the interim, he served in the armed forces.
Patrick Buchan-Hepburn Conservative 12 May 1940 26 June 1940
Stephen Furness Liberal National 12 May 1940 18 May 1940
Patrick Munro Conservative 12 May 1940 13 March 1942
James Stuart Conservative 12 May 1940 14 January 1941
Wilfred Paling Labour 18 May 1940 8 February 1941
James Thomas Conservative 26 June 1940 25 September 1943
Thomas Dugdale Conservative 8 February 1941 23 February 1942
William Murdoch Adamson Labour 1 March 1941 2 October 1944
Arthur Young Conservative 23 February 1942 3 July 1944
Sir John McEwen Conservative 13 March 1942 6 December 1944
Leslie Pym Conservative 13 March 1942 23 May 1945
Alec Beechman Liberal National 25 September 1943 23 May 1945
Cedric Drewe Conservative 3 July 1944 23 May 1945
William John Labour 2 October 1944 23 May 1945
Patrick Buchan-Hepburn Conservative 6 December 1944 23 May 1945
Minister of State at the Foreign Office Richard Law Conservative 25 September 1943 23 May 1945 New office. Law was formerly the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty Sir Victor Warrender, Bt Conservative 17 May 1940 23 May 1945 Warrender was in situ, having been appointed by Chamberlain on 3 April 1940.
Parliamentary Secretary for India and Burma Duke of Devonshire Conservative 17 May 1940 1 January 1943 Devonshire was a former MP who had moved to the Lords in 1938 when he succeeded to his title. He became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. Munster had previously been in the Lords and became Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department. Listowel had been Labour whip in the Lords and was also Deputy Leader of the Lords.
Earl of Munster Conservative 1 January 1943 31 October 1944
Earl of Listowel Labour 31 October 1944 23 May 1945
Parliamentary Secretary for the Home Department William Mabane Liberal National 15 May 1940 3 June 1942 A new office which existed for the duration of the war only. Mabane had been Minister for Home Security under Chamberlain. From October 1940, he shared the office with Wilkinson until 1942 when he became Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food; she continued as sole office holder. Wilkinson, famous for the Jarrow March, had been Parliamentary Secretary for Pensions. She was also Chairwoman of the Labour Party from 4 January 1944.
Ellen Wilkinson Labour 8 October 1940 23 May 1945
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education James Chuter Ede Labour 15 May 1940 23 May 1945 Chuter Ede had previously been a backbench MP. The Board of Education was renamed the Ministry of Education on 3 August 1944 during Chuter Ede's tenure.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade Gwilym Lloyd George Liberal 15 May 1940 8 February 1941 Lloyd George was in situ having been appointed by Chamberlain on 6 September 1939. From 22 October 1940, he was also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food and he continued in that role from February 1941. Waterhouse was previously the Assistant Postmaster-General.
Charles Waterhouse Conservative 8 February 1941 23 May 1945
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Lord Moyne Conservative 15 May 1940 8 February 1941 The role was held jointly and Williams was in office throughout the war. Moyne became Secretary of State for the Colonies and was succeeded by Norfolk who had previously been in the army.
Tom Williams Labour 15 May 1940 23 May 1945
Duke of Norfolk Conservative 8 February 1941 23 May 1945
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aircraft Production John Llewellin Conservative 15 May 1940 1 May 1941 Llewellin became PS at War Transport in May 1941, swapping roles with Montague. Smith and Lennox-Boyd had both been backbench MPs.
Frederick Montague Labour 1 May 1941 4 March 1942
Ben Smith Labour 4 March 1942 11 November 1943
Alan Lennox-Boyd Conservative 11 November 1943 23 May 1945
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation Robert Perkins Conservative 22 March 1945 23 May 1945 The ministry was created in October 1944 but without a Parliamentary Secretary until March 1945. Perkins had previously been a backbench MP.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare Dingle Foot Liberal 17 May 1940 23 May 1945 Foot had previously been a backbench MP.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food Robert Boothby Conservative 15 May 1940 22 October 1940 Boothby had been a backbench MP. He was forced to resign for failure to declare a conflict of interest. Lloyd George had been Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade since 6 September 1939 and, in the wake of Boothby's resignation, held two offices until 8 February 1941 when he left Trade and continued at Food. In June 1942, he became Minister of Fuel and Power. Mabane had been joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Home Department.
Gwilym Lloyd George Liberal 22 October 1940 3 June 1942
William Mabane Liberal National 3 June 1942 23 May 1945
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power Geoffrey Lloyd Conservative 3 June 1942 23 May 1945 A newly created office which Lloyd and Smith held jointly. Lloyd had been Secretary for Petroleum and Smith was previously a backbench MP.
Tom Smith Labour 3 June 1942 23 May 1945
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health Florence Horsbrugh Conservative 15 May 1940 23 May 1945 Horsbrugh was previously a backbench MP. She was one of the British delegates at the San Francisco Conference in the spring of 1945, accompanying Attlee, Eden and Ellen Wilkinson.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Information Harold Nicolson National Labour 17 May 1940 20 July 1941 Nicolson and Thurtle were both former backbench MPs. Nicolson returned to the backbench when replaced by Thurtle.
Ernest Thurtle Labour 20 July 1941 23 May 1945
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour Ralph Assheton Conservative 15 May 1940 4 February 1942 Assheton, formerly a backbench MP, became Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply. After he moved, the office became a shared role. Tomlinson had been a backbench MP. McCorquodale was an MP but had been serving in the RAF.
George Tomlinson Labour 8 February 1941 23 May 1945
Malcolm McCorquodale Conservative 4 February 1942 23 May 1945
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of National Insurance Charles Peat Conservative 22 March 1945 23 May 1945 NI was split from Pensions in 1944 and the PS was a new role in March 1945. Peat had previously been PS at the Ministry of Supply.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions Ellen Wilkinson Labour 17 May 1940 8 October 1940 Wilkinson had been a backbench MP and became Parliamentary Secretary for the Home Department. Tryon had been the First Commissioner of Works. He died in office. Tryon was eventually succeeded by Paling, who had previously been a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury.
Lord Tryon Conservative 8 October 1940 24 November 1940
Wilfred Paling Labour 8 February 1941 23 May 1945
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Production George Garro-Jones Labour 10 September 1942 23 May 1945 Production was a new ministry created in 1942. Garro-Jones had previously been a backbench MP.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Shipping Sir Arthur Salter Independent 15 May 1940 29 June 1941 Shipping was merged into the Ministry of War Transport in May 1941 and Salter became PS there until the end of the war.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply Harold Macmillan Conservative 15 May 1940 4 February 1942 This role was usually shared. Macmillan had hitherto been a backbench MP and this was his first government office. He became Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies and was succeeded by Assheton, who had been the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour. Portal had chaired the Coal Production Council and became Minister of Works and Planning. Peat, formerly Churchill's Principal Private Secretary, succeeded Portal and became Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Insurance. Peat's successor Rothschild had been a backbench MP. Sandys, who succeeded Assheton, had been Financial Secretary to the War Office and became Minister of Works. Wilmot, who succeeded Sandys, had been a backbench MP.
Lord Portal Conservative 4 September 1940 22 February 1942
Ralph Assheton Conservative 4 February 1942 7 February 1943
Charles Peat Conservative 4 March 1942 22 March 1945
Duncan Sandys Conservative 7 February 1943 21 November 1944
John Wilmot Labour 21 November 1944 23 May 1945
James de Rothschild Liberal 22 March 1945 23 May 1945
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning Henry Strauss Conservative 30 December 1942 22 March 1945 Strauss was previously a PS at the Ministry of Works. He resigned in March 1945 as he opposed the terms of the Yalta Conference re Poland. Jenkins had previously been a backbench MP.
Arthur Jenkins Labour 22 March 1945 23 May 1945
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport Frederick Montague Labour 18 May 1940 1 May 1941 Montague became PS at Aircraft Production in May 1941, swapping roles with Llewellin. Llewellin became President of the Board of Trade in February 1942. Salter had been PS at the Ministry of Shipping which was merged into this office in May 1941. Salter and Llewellin shared the role for seven months.
John Llewellin Conservative 1 May 1941 4 February 1942
Sir Arthur Salter Independent 29 June 1941 23 May 1945
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works George Hicks Labour 19 November 1940 23 May 1945 This was a new office which became a shared role in 1942. Hicks was previously a backbench MP. Strauss had been Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney-General and, after he moved to become PS at Town and Country Planning, Hicks continued as sole PS to the Ministry of Works.
Henry Strauss Conservative 4 March 1942 30 December 1942

Other junior ministries, 10 May 1940 – 23 May 1945Edit

This table lists the junior offices (often ministerial level 3) whose titles signify an assistant, deputy or under-secretary function.[37] It excludes financial and parliamentary secreataries who are in the table above. None of these officials were ever in the war cabinet. Their offices have rarely, if ever, been recognised as cabinet-level, although some of the office holders here did, at need, occasionally attend cabinet meetings. Some of the appointees retained offices that they held in former administrations and these are marked in situ with the date of their original appointment. For new appointments to existing offices, their predecessor's name is given.

Portfolio Minister Party Took office Left office Notes
Assistant Postmaster-General Charles Waterhouse Conservative 17 May 1940 1 March 1941 Waterhouse was in situ having been appointed by Chamberlain in 1939. He became Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. Chapman was previously a backbench MP and became Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. Grimston was previously Treasurer of the Household.
Allan Chapman Conservative 1 March 1941 4 March 1942
Robert Grimston Conservative 4 March 1942 23 May 1945
Civil Lord of the Admiralty Sir Austin Hudson, Bt Conservative 15 May 1940 4 March 1942 Hudson, who succeeded John Llewellin, left politics in 1942. Pilkington, previously a backbench MP, left the Army to take over.
Richard Pilkington Conservative 4 March 1942 23 May 1945
Deputy Minister-Resident for the Middle East Lord Moyne Conservative 27 August 1942 28 January 1944 This post was in Cairo. Moyne had been Secretary of State for the Colonies and, simultaneously, Leader of the House of Lords. He succeeded Richard Casey as Minister-Resident in January 1944 but was assassinated by Zionist militants in November 1944.
Secretary for Mines David Grenfell Labour 15 May 1940 23 May 1945 Grenfell had been a backbench MP and succeeded Geoffrey Lloyd. He was also the chairman of the Welsh Parliamentary Labour Party.
Secretary for Petroleum Geoffrey Lloyd Conservative 15 May 1940 3 June 1942 Petroleum was a new ministry which was itself merged into the Ministry for Fuel and Power. Lloyd had been Secretary for Mines under Chamberlain and was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to Fuel and Power after the merger.
Secretary for Overseas Trade Harcourt Johnstone Liberal 15 May 1940 1 March 1945 Johnstone was a former MP who was appointed by Churchill while outside Parliament. He was then elected unopposed at a by-election. He died suddenly on 1 March 1945 of a cerebral stroke. Johnstone was not replaced until Churchill formed the caretaker ministry.
Under-Secretary of State for Air Harold Balfour Conservative 15 May 1940 21 November 1944 Balfour was in situ having been appointed by Chamberlain in 1938. He became the Minister Resident in West Africa. The office became a shared role in July 1941. Seely had been a backbench MP who was created Baron Sherwood three weeks after taking this office. Balfour was replaced by Brabner, formerly an RAF pilot and backbench MP, who died in office. Hogg had been a backbench MP.
Hugh Seely, 1st Baron Sherwood Liberal 20 July 1941 23 May 1945
Rupert Brabner Conservative 21 November 1944 27 March 1945
Quintin Hogg Conservative 12 April 1945 23 May 1945
Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs Geoffrey Shakespeare Liberal National 15 May 1940 4 March 1942 Shakespeare was previously the Secretary for Overseas Trade. Emrys-Evans had been a backbench MP.
Paul Emrys-Evans Conservative 4 March 1942 23 May 1945
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Rab Butler Conservative 15 May 1940 20 July 1941 Butler was in situ having been appointed by Chamberlain on 25 February 1938. He became Minister for Education. Law had been Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and was promoted to Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Hall had been Financial Secretary to the Admiralty.
Richard Law Conservative 20 July 1941 25 September 1943
George Hall Labour 25 September 1943 23 May 1945
Under-Secretary of State for Scotland Joseph Westwood Labour 17 May 1940 23 May 1945 Westwood had been a backbench MP and succeeded John McEwen. The office became a shared role from February 1941. Wedderburn had been a backbench MP who was on Army service. He took office after a war wound ended his military career. He joined a parliamentary delegation to China and was succeeded by Chapman who had previously been Assistant Postmaster-General.
Henry Wedderburn Conservative 8 February 1941 4 March 1942
Allan Chapman Conservative 4 March 1942 23 May 1945
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies George Hall Labour 15 May 1940 4 February 1942 Hall had previously been a backbench MP. He became Financial Secretary to the Admiralty and was succeeded by Macmillan who had been Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply. Macmillan became Minister Resident in North West Africa. Devonshire was previously the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for India and Burma.
Harold Macmillan Conservative 4 February 1942 1 January 1943
Duke of Devonshire Conservative 1 January 1943 23 May 1945
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department Osbert Peake Conservative 15 May 1940 31 October 1944 Peake was in situ having been appointed by Chamberlain in April 1939. He moved to the Treasury as Financial Secretary. Munster had been the Parliamentary Secretary for India and Burma.
Earl of Munster Conservative 31 October 1944 23 May 1945
Under-Secretary of State for War Sir Henry Page Croft Conservative 17 May 1940 23 May 1945 A shared role until February 1943. Croft and Grigg had been backbench MPs. Grigg resigned in March 1942 but later became Minister-Resident for the Middle East. Henderson had been a backbench MO and was appointed Financial Secretary to the War Office in February 1943, after which Croft was the sole USS for War.
Sir Edward Grigg Conservative 17 May 1940 4 March 1942
Arthur Henderson Labour 4 March 1942 7 February 1943

Royal household appointments, 10 May 1940 – 23 May 1945Edit

This table lists the officers appointed to the royal household during the Churchill administration.[37]

Portfolio Minister Party Took office Left office Notes
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms Lord Snell Labour 31 May 1940 21 April 1944 Snell succeeded George Bingham, 5th Earl of Lucan. He was formerly Labour's leader in the House of Lords and died in office on 21 April 1944. The position remained unfilled until Fortescue's appointment in March 1945; he was previously a Lord-in-Waiting.
Earl Fortescue Conservative 22 March 1945 23 May 1945
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard Lord Templemore Conservative 31 May 1940 23 May 1945 Templemore was in situ having been appointed by Baldwin in January 1934.
Comptroller of the Household William Whiteley Labour 17 May 1940 12 March 1942 Whiteley, John and Mathers had all previously been backbench MPs. Whiteley became Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury; John became a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury.
William John Labour 12 March 1942 2 October 1944
George Mathers Labour 2 October 1944 23 May 1945
Lords-in-Waiting Earl Fortescue Conservative 10 May 1940 22 March 1945 There are three holder of this office and all are government whips in the House of Lords. Fortescue was in situ having been appointed by Baldwin in 1936. In March 1945, he became Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (chief government whip in the House of Lords). Alness and Clifden had been members of the Lords and were appointed by Churchill in May 1940. Fortescue was succeeded by Normanby, a repatriated prisoner-of-war who had held Parliamentary Private Secretary roles.
Lord Alness Liberal National 31 May 1940 23 May 1945
Viscount Clifden Liberal 31 May 1940 23 May 1945
Marquess of Normanby Conservative 22 March 1945 23 May 1945
Treasurer of the Household Robert Grimston Conservative 17 May 1940 4 March 1942 Grimston was appointed by Chamberlain in 1939 and confirmed by Churchill in May 1940. He became Assistant Postmaster-General in March 1942. Edmondson had previously been the Vice-Chamberlain of the Household.
Sir James Edmondson Conservative 12 March 1942 23 May 1945
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household Sir James Edmondson Conservative 17 May 1940 12 March 1942 Edmondson was in situ having been appointed by Chamberlain in September 1939. While holding this office, he also served as a government whip. He became Treasurer of the Household. Boulton had been a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury and retired from politics in July 1944. Young had been a backbench MP.
William Whytehead Boulton Conservative 12 March 1942 13 July 1944
Arthur Young Conservative 13 July 1944 23 May 1945

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Jenkins 2001, pp. 551–552.
  2. ^ Jenkins 2001, pp. 576–582.
  3. ^ a b quoted in Gilbert, as from David Dilks, ed. (1971). The Diaries of Sir Alexander Cadogan O.M 1938–45. London: Cassel. p. 280 (diary entry for 9 May 1940). ISBN 978-03-04937-37-0.
  4. ^ a b Churchill 1968, pp. 523–524.
  5. ^ Jenkins 2001, p. 583.
  6. ^ Shakespeare 2017, p. 362.
  7. ^ cited in Gilbert: "Letter of 9 May 1940, marked by Churchill 'secret, for dinner, in a box'; Churchill papers 2/392".
  8. ^ Schneer, Jonathan (16 March 2015). Ministers at War. Oneworld Publications. p. 28. ISBN 978-17-80746-14-2.
  9. ^ quoted in Thomas-Symonds, Nicklaus (1 March 2012). Attlee: A Life in Politics. I.B.Tauris. pp. 94–95. ISBN 978-08-57730-74-9.
  10. ^ War Cabinet No. 119 of 1940, 4.30 p.m. (there were three War Cabinet meetings that day): Cabinet papers 65/7 cited in Gilbert.
  11. ^ Wheeler-Bennett 1958, pp. 433–434.
  12. ^ Churchill 1968, p. 525.
  13. ^ Gilbert 1983, pp. 299–314.
  14. ^ Hermiston 2016, pp. 23–24.
  15. ^ Jenkins 2001, pp. 714–715.
  16. ^ Jenkins 2001, p. 587.
  17. ^ "Ministers of the Crown Act 1937". Modern Law Review. Blackwell Publishing. 1 (2): 145–148. 1937. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2230.1937.tb00014.x. ISSN 0026-7961.
  18. ^ a b Jenkins 2001, p. 685.
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BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Chamberlain war ministry
Government of the United Kingdom
1940–1945
Succeeded by
Churchill caretaker ministry