In 1940 John Martin was appointed Private Secretary to Winston Churchill. He remained at Churchill's side throughout the war and was promoted, in May 1941, to Principal Private Secretary. During this time he kept an almost daily record of events, large and small, in a five-year diary, and wrote extensive letters to his mother. In this volume Sir John has combined his diary entries and extracts from his letters with a memoir, which fills in the background of government and international affairs against which his daily life took place. As well as his regular work at Downing Street and Chequers, Sir John accompanied Churchill on most of his many wartime trips abroad. These included visits to North America for conferences with President Roosevelt; the historic meetings between Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt in Teheran and Yalta; tours in North Africa encompassing Cairo, Tripoli, Algiers, Tunis, Casablanca and Marrakesh; a trip to Moscow to see Stalin; and inspections of the Normandy landings and the Allied advance through France. Needless to say, Sir John met every important figure among the Allies, from de Gaulle to Eisenhower, from Molotov to the King of Greece.
Interwoven with Sir John's observations of Downing Street and the world stage is a touching account of his private life. Despite having very little free time and frequently working into the small hours, John Martin managed to court his future wife, get married, be on hand for the birth of his son, acquire a family house in South Kensington and supervise its repair after bomb damage. He also took delightfull country walks on his days off.show more