For which Mrs. Churchill received the Order of the Red Banner of Labor

In mid-September 1941, on the initiative of Clementine Churchill, the wife of Winston Churchill, the Russian Aid Fund was created. Mrs. Churchill herself made the first contribution to the fund and encouraged members of the British government to do so.

Contributions were made not only by rich people, but also by ordinary citizens. The One Penny a Week campaign was launched. Millions of British public sector employees deducted from their salaries one penny a week to help the Soviet people.

When the Clementine Churchill Foundation received the first list of what was needed from the Soviet Red Cross, the British were at first shocked. The requests were too great. But in reality they corresponded to the scale of Soviet losses.

The British quickly got down to business, and orders began to be promptly placed at British enterprises.

The first shipments went already in October 1941. Tens of tons of medical supplies, hundreds of X-ray machines, ambulances and a wide variety of medical instruments were delivered to the USSR. For the civilian population, woolen blankets, children's coats, sweaters, cardigans, scarves, warm socks, gloves, etc. were sent.

The Cabinet of Ministers immediately set a strict condition: not to send any second-hand goods to the USSR, although parcels with worn-out things came to Great Britain itself from friendly countries. No "non-liquid", low-quality or expired goods were sent to the USSR. In 1944, the British helped establish the production of prostheses for war invalids in the USSR.

All in all, over the years of its work (1941-1948), the Russian Aid Fund delivered supplies to the USSR in the amount of approximately 8 million pounds sterling (approximately 200 million rubles in modern terms).

Clementine Churchill

On April 1, 1945 (on the day of her 60th birthday) Clementine Churchill arrived in the USSR at the invitation of the Soviet government, and a week later Stalin himself received her in the Kremlin. On behalf of the leadership of the USSR, he presented her with a gold ring with a diamond; on May 7, Lady Churchill was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor - for "outstanding services in holding public events to raise funds in England to help the Red Army."

The guest also celebrated Victory Day in Moscow: on May 9, Lady Churchill read on the radio a message of congratulations to the Soviet people from Winston Churchill.

Clementine Churchill's visit lasted 1, 5 months. She visited many destroyed cities, including Stalingrad, as well as dozens of hospitals. The Soviet people greeted her very warmly.

Clementine Churchill expressed her wish that an object be built in the USSR as a token of the solidarity of the two peoples. We decided that it should be a hospital. The Soviet authorities provided several buildings for this purpose - first in Rostov-on-Don, then in Stalingrad and Sevastopol. But the buildings were destroyed, with bare walls, and the Russian Aid Fund sent everything for them to be repaired - linoleum, plumbing, finishing materials, sewing machines, telephones and even ... doorbells. Then the restored buildings were equipped with British equipment, furniture, surgical instruments. The renovated hospitals provided kitchen and laundry equipment, as well as transport.

In April 2016, in Rostov-on-Don, a memorial plaque to Clementine Churchill was installed on the building of Rostov City Hospital No. 1, where during the war years the largest military hospital was located, fully equipped with the Russian Aid Fund. The writing on the board reads:

"To Baroness Clementine Ogilvy Spencer-Churchill with sincere gratitude for her mercy and help during the years of joint struggle against fascism and in memory of the visit to Rostov-on-Don on April 22, 1945".