London - Winston Churchill did not own a macaw and certainly did not teach it to swear, according to his daughter and experts on the British wartime leader.
They have been at pains to debunk reports that the parrot is alive and still cursing Hitler.
"My father never owned a macaw or anything remotely resembling it," Mary Soames said, although she acknowledged he had owned an African Grey for about three years before the war.
"The idea that he spent time in the war teaching it swear words is too tiresome for words," 81-year-old Lady Soames said.
She was responding to reports on Monday that the macaw was still shouting "F*** Hitler, f*** the Nazis" with Churchillian intonations from its perch in a garden centre, at the age of 104.
Charlie, the blue and yellow macaw at the centre of the controversy, currently lives in Reigate, south of London. Its owner, Peter Oram, insists the bird used to live with Sir Winston, causing consternation to Churchill's guests and providing its owner with constant amusement.
Oram says his father-in-law, Percy Dabner, sold Charlie to Churchill in 1937 and then took the bird back after his death in 1965.
The story now appears to be a hoax. - Sapa-DPA
But when Watson and Holmes arrive at the home of Colonel Hayter in Reigate there is no parrot.
It was some time before the health of my friend Mr. Sherlock Holmes recovered from the strain caused by his immense exertions in the spring of '87. The whole question of the Netherland-Sumatra Company and of the colossal schemes of Baron Maupertuis are too recent in the minds of the public, and are too intimately concerned with politics and finance to be fitting subjects for this series of sketches. They led, however, in an indirect fashion to a singular and complex problem which gave my friend an opportunity of demonstrating the value of a fresh weapon among the many with which he waged his life-long battle against crime.