Reporting from London—Patrick Kinna, whose wartime duties as stenographer to Winston Churchill included taking dictation as the prime minister bathed, has died. He was 95.
He was a witness to the famous encounter between a naked Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House at Christmas time in 1941.
Kinna died March 14 in Brighton on England's south coast, according to announcements published by Hanningtons Funeral Directors. The cause of death was not disclosed.
His shorthand and typing skills led to his first assignment with Churchill, accompanying the prime minister to Newfoundland for a meeting with Roosevelt in August 1941. He was with the prime minister again in December in Washington.
"Churchill was in the bath and began dictating. He would submerge himself under the water every now and again and come up and carry on with the dictation," Kinna said in a recording for the BBC's oral history archive.
"He was very absorbed in his work that morning and would not keep still for the valet to help dress him; he kept walking around the room speaking aloud. There was a rat-a-tat-tat on the door, and Churchill swung the door open to President Roosevelt!
"Churchill simply said that he had nothing to hide from Mr. President!"
Kinna was reluctant to join Churchill's staff and had told the prime minister's parliamentary private secretary, or PPS, that he had decided not to accept.
"The PPS had restrained himself until then, but now he told me that this was the nearest thing to a royal command I was ever going to get," Kinna recalled. "If the prime minister wanted me on his staff, then I started on Monday. So I did."
Kinna declined an offer to remain with Churchill after the war and served Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin until his death in 1951.
Later joining the timber company Montague Meyer, Kinna rose to be personnel director and retired at age 60.
Born Sept. 5, 1913, Kinna never married. A funeral was planned for Wednesday.