3 AUGUST 1996, Page 22

A grandson speaks

Sir: Poor Alistair Forbes! Most people grow mellow with the passage of time but in his case, as is evident from the disjointed ramble that passes for a book review (27 July), the bile and venom with which he has so long been replete is still fermenting.

His vicious and gratuitous attack on my maternal grandfather, the late Lord Digby, dismissed on the say-so of a Forbes crony at the bar of White's club as 'the stupidest man I ever met', comes ill from one whose life has been devoid of distinction in war or peace and who has found it easier to go through life criticising others than notching up achievements of his own. Kennie Digby may not have had the pseudo-intellectual pretensions of a gossip and lounge-lizard such as Forbes, whose principal service to his fellow countrymen was to remove himself many years ago into tax exile in Switzerland; but, besides being a foremost expert on dendrology and animal husbandry, my grandfather was the youngest man ever to command a battalion of the Brigade of Guards in action, winning ' a DSO, two Military Crosses and a Croix de Guerre in the first world war and being honoured by his sovereign with a Knight- hood of the Garter. Caveat detractor!

Winston S. Churchill

House of Commons, London SW1