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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 January, 2004, 15:58 GMT
Daughter scotches Churchill parrot claim
Charlie the parrot
Charlie entertains garden centre customers with anti-Nazi tirades

The daughter of Winston Churchill has dismissed claims her father was the owner of a 104-year-old parrot which shouts anti-Nazi abuse.

The macaw, named Charlie, now lives at a garden centre in Surrey and its current owner claims the bird once belonged to the war leader.

But Churchill's daughter Lady Soames believes Charlie may be confused with an African Grey parrot called Polly who lived with her family at Chartwell in Kent.

Charlie's owner Peter Oram, of Heathfield Nurseries, in Reigate, said his father-in-law Percy Dabner sold the bird to Sir Winston in 1937 and then took it back after the politician's death in 1965.

'Too tiresome for words'

He supposedly entertains customers at the garden centre by squawking anti-Nazi abuse which Mr Oram claims it picked up from Churchill.

But Lady Soames said: "My father never owned a macaw or anything remotely resembling it.

"Before the war we did have an African Grey for about three years, but that's quite, quite different from a macaw - it is smaller, or more compact, with a sort of red face."

The parrot was sold when the family left Chartwell at the start of the war to move to London before her father became Prime Minister, Lady Soames said.

"It never came to London. It may well have gone back, for all I know to the person my father got it from, but it was the end of the parrot's relationship with my father."

Claims Sir Winston taught the bird to swear were also dismissed by Lady Soames.

She said the idea was "too tiresome for words".

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