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Sir Winston Churchill

1874-1965

Winston Churchill Biography - A Stan Klos Company

Churchill, Sir Winston (Leonard Spencer) (1874 -- 1965) ”.

British statesman, prime minister (1940--5, 1951--5), and author, born in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, SC England, UK, the eldest son of Randolph Churchill. He trained at Sandhurst, and was gazetted to the 4th Hussars in 1895. His army career included fighting at Omdurman (1898) with the Nile Expeditionary Force. During the second Boer War he acted as a London newspaper correspondent. Initially a Conservative MP (1900), he joined the Liberals in 1904, and was colonial under-secretary (1905), President of the Board of Trade (1908), home secretary (1910), and First Lord of the Admiralty (1911). In 1915 he was made the scapegoat for the Dardanelles disaster, but in 1917 became minister of munitions. After World War I, he was secretary of state for war and air (1919--21), and - as a "Constitutionalist' supporter of the Conservatives - Chancellor of the Exchequer (1924--9).

In 1929 he returned to the Conservative fold, but remained out of step with the leadership until World War 2, when he returned to the Admiralty; then, on Chamberlain's defeat (May 1940), he formed a coalition government, holding both the premiership and the defence portfolio, and leading Britain alone through the war against Germany and Italy with steely resolution. Defeated in the July 1945 election, he became a pugnacious Leader of the Opposition. In 1951 he was prime minister again, and after 1955 remained a venerated backbencher. In his last years, he was often described as "the greatest living Englishman'. He achieved a world reputation not only as a great strategist and inspiring war leader, but as the last of the classic orators with a supreme command of English; as a talented painter; and as a writer with an Augustan style, a great breadth of mind, and a profound sense of history. He was knighted in 1953, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature the same year. He left a widow, Clementine Ogilvy Hozier (1885--1977), whom he had married in 1908, and who was made a life peer in 1965 for her charitable work (Baroness Spencer-Churchill of Chartwell)..

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Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC, PC (Can) (30 November 1874 - 24 January 1965) was a British politician known chiefly for his leadership of the United Kingdom during World War II.

Winston Churchill

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Winston Churchill
 

In office
26 October 1951 – 7 April 1955
Monarch George VI
Elizabeth II
Deputy Anthony Eden
Preceded by Clement Attlee
Succeeded by Anthony Eden
In office
10 May 1940 – 27 July 1945
Monarch George VI
Deputy Clement Attlee
Preceded by Neville Chamberlain
Succeeded by Clement Attlee

In office
6 November 1924 – 4 June 1929
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by Philip Snowden
Succeeded by Philip Snowden

In office
19 February 1910 – 24 October 1911
Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith
Preceded by Herbert Gladstone
Succeeded by Reginald McKenna

Born 30 November 1874(1874-11-30)
Blenheim, Oxfordshire,
England, United Kingdom
Died 24 January 1965 (aged 90)
Hyde Park, London,
England, United Kingdom
Resting place St Martin's Church, Bladon, England
 
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
(1900–1904, 1924–1964)
Liberal (1904–1924)
Spouse Clementine Churchill
Relations Pamela Harriman, daughter-in-law
Children Diana Churchill
Randolph Churchill
Sarah Tuchet-Jesson
Marigold Churchill
Mary Soames
Residence 10 Downing Street (official)
Chartwell (private)
Alma mater Harrow School, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Profession Member of Parliament, statesman, soldier, journalist, historian, author, painter
Signature Winston Churchill's signature

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC, PC (Can) (30 November 1874 - 24 January 1965) was a British politician known chiefly for his leadership of the United Kingdom during World War II. He served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. A noted statesman and orator, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a Nobel Prize-winning writer, and an artist.

During his army career, Churchill saw combat in India, in the Sudan and the Second Boer War. He gained fame and notoriety as a war correspondent and through contemporary books he wrote describing the campaigns. He also served briefly in the British Army on the Western Front in World War I, commanding the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

At the forefront of the political scene for almost fifty years, he held many political and cabinet positions. Before the First World War, he served as President of the Board of Trade, Home Secretary and First Lord of the Admiralty as part of the Asquith Liberal government. During the war he continued as First Lord of the Admiralty until the disastrous Battle of Gallipoli caused his departure from government. He returned as Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air. In the interwar years, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Conservative government.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, Churchill was again appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain on 10 May 1940, he became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and led Britain to victory against the Axis powers.[1] Churchill was always noted for his speeches, which became a great inspiration to the British people and embattled Allied forces.

After losing the 1945 election, he became Leader of the Opposition. In 1951, he again became Prime Minister before finally retiring in 1955. Elizabeth II offered to create him Duke of London, but this was declined due to the objections of his son Randolph, who would have inherited the title on his father's death.[2] Upon his death the Queen granted him the honour of a state funeral, which saw one of the largest assemblies of statesmen in the world.

 

Family and early life

Blenheim Palace, Churchill's ancestral home

A descendant of the famous Spencer family,[3] Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, like his father, used the surname Churchill in public life.[4] His ancestor George Spencer had changed his surname to Spencer-Churchill in 1817 when he became Duke of Marlborough, to highlight his descent from John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. Winston's father, Lord Randolph Churchill, the third son of John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough, was a politician, while his mother, Lady Randolph Churchill (née Jennie Jerome) was the daughter of American millionaire Leonard Jerome. Born on 30 November 1874 in a bedroom in Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire;[5] he arrived eight months after his parents' hasty marriage.[6] Churchill had one brother, John Strange Spencer-Churchill.

Independent and rebellious by nature, Churchill generally did poorly in school, for which he was punished. He entered Harrow School on 17 April 1888, where his military career began. Within weeks of his arrival, he had joined the Harrow Rifle Corps.[7] He earned high marks in English and history and was also the school's fencing champion.

Winston Churchill's father - Lord Randolph Henry Spencer Churchill

He was rarely visited by his mother (then known as Lady Randolph), and wrote letters begging her to either come to the school or to allow him to come home. His relationship with his father was a distant one, he once remarked that they barely spoke to each other.[8] Due to this lack of parental contact he became very close to his nanny, Elizabeth Anne Everest, who he used to call "Woomany".[9][10] His father died on 24 January 1895, aged just 45, leaving Churchill with the conviction that he too would die young, so should be quick about making his mark on the world.

 

Speech impediment

Churchill aged seven in 1881

Churchill described himself as having a "speech impediment" which he consistently worked to overcome. After many years, he finally stated, "My impediment is no hindrance." Trainee speech therapists are often shown videotapes of Churchill's mannerisms while making speeches and the Stuttering Foundation of America uses Churchill, pictured on its home page, as one of its role models of successful stutterers. This diagnosis is confirmed by contemporaries writing in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. The Churchill Centre, however, flatly refutes the claim that Churchill stuttered while confirming that he did have difficulty pronouncing the letter 'S' and spoke with a lisp.[11] His father also spoke with a lisp.[12] The National Cluttering Association however maintains that Churchill had not a stutter but a clutter.

 

Marriage and children

Churchill met his future wife, Clementine Hozier, in 1904 at a ball in Crewe House, home of the Earl of Crewe and his wife Margaret Primrose (daughter of Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery).[13] In 1908, they met again at a dinner party hosted by Lady St Helier. Churchill found himself seated beside Clementine, and they soon began a lifelong romance.[14] He proposed to Hozier during a house party at Blenheim Palace on 10 August 1908, in a small Temple of Diana.[15] On 12 September 1908, they were married in St. Margaret's, Westminster. The church was packed; the Bishop of St Asaph conducted the service.[16] In March 1909, the couple moved to a house at 33 Eccleston Square.

Winston's mother, Lady Randolph Churchill

Their first child, Diana, was born in London on 11 July 1909. After the pregnancy, Clementine moved to Sussex to recover, while Diana stayed in London with her nanny.[17] On 28 May 1911, their second child, Randolph, was born at 33 Eccleston Square.[18] Their third child, Sarah, was born on 7 October 1914 at Admiralty House. The birth was marked with anxiety for Clementine, as Winston had been sent to Antwerp by the Cabinet to "stiffen the resistance of the beleaguered city" after news that the Belgians intended to surrender the town.[19]

Clementine gave birth to her fourth child, Marigold Frances Churchill, on 15 November 1918, four days after the official end of World War I.[20] In the early months of August, the Churchills' children were entrusted to a French nursery governess in Kent named Mlle Rose. Clementine, meanwhile, travelled to Eaton Hall to play tennis with Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster and his family. While still under the care of Mlle Rose, Marigold had a cold, but was reported to have recovered from the illness. As the illness progressed with hardly any notice, it turned into septicaemia. Following advice from a landlady, Rose sent for Clementine. However the illness turned fatal on 23 August 1921, and Marigold was buried in the Kensal Green Cemetery three days later.[21] On 15 September 1922, the Churchills' last child was born, Mary. Later that month, the Churchills bought Chartwell, which would be Winston's home until his death in 1965.[22][23]

 

Service in the Army

After Churchill left Harrow in 1893, he applied to attend the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. It took three attempts before he passed the entrance exam; he applied for cavalry rather than infantry because the grade requirement was lower and did not require him to learn mathematics, which he disliked. He graduated eighth out of a class of 150 in December 1894,[24] and although he could now have transferred to an infantry regiment as his father had wished, chose to remain with the cavalry and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 4th Queen's Own Hussars on 20 February 1895.[25] In 1941, he received the honour of Colonel of the Hussars.

Churchill's pay as a second lieutenant in the 4th Hussars was £300. However, he believed that he needed at least a further £500 (equivalent to £25,000 in 2001 terms) to support a style of life equal to other officers of the regiment. His mother provided an allowance of £400 per year, but this was repeatedly overspent. According to biographer Roy Jenkins, this is one reason he took an interest in war correspondence.[26] He did not intend to follow a conventional career of promotion through army ranks, but to seek out all possible chances of military action and used his mother's and family influence in high society to arrange postings to active campaigns. His writings both brought him to the attention of the public, and earned him significant additional income. He acted as a war correspondent for several London newspapers[27] and wrote his own books about the campaigns.

Churchill in military uniform in 1895

 

Cuba

In 1895, Churchill travelled to Cuba to observe the Spanish fight the Cuban guerrillas; he had obtained a commission to write about the conflict from the Daily Graphic. To his delight, he came under fire for the first time on his twenty-first birthday.[25] He had fond memories of Cuba as a "...large, rich, beautiful island..."[28] While there, he soon acquired a taste for Havana cigars, which he would smoke for the rest of his life. While in New York, he stayed at the home of Bourke Cockran, an admirer of his mother's. Bourke was an established American politician, member of the House of Representatives and potential presidential candidate. He greatly influenced Churchill, both in his approach to oratory and politics, and encouraging a love of America.[29]

He soon received word that his nanny, Mrs Everest, was dying; he then returned to England and stayed with her for a week until she died. He wrote in his journal "She was my favourite friend." In My Early Life he wrote: "She had been my dearest and most intimate friend during the whole of the twenty years I had lived."[30]

 

India

In early October 1896, he was transferred to Bombay, British India. He was considered one of the best polo players in his regiment and led his team to many prestigious tournament victories.[31]

A young Winston Churchill on a lecture tour of the United States in 1900

 

Malakand

In 1897, Churchill attempted to travel to both report and, if necessary, fight in the Greco-Turkish War, but this conflict effectively ended before he could arrive. Later, while preparing for a leave in England, he heard that three brigades of the British Army were going to fight against a Pashtun tribe and he asked his superior officer if he could join the fight.[32] He fought under the command of General Jeffery, who was the commander of the second brigade operating in Malakand, in what is now Pakistan. Jeffery sent him with fifteen scouts to explore the Mamund Valley; while on reconnaissance, they encountered an enemy tribe, dismounted from their horses and opened fire. After an hour of shooting, their reinforcements, the 35th Sikhs arrived, and the fire gradually ceased and the brigade and the Sikhs marched on. Hundreds of tribesmen then ambushed them and opened fire, forcing them to retreat. As they were retreating four men were carrying an injured officer but the fierceness of the fight forced them to leave him behind. The man who was left behind was slashed to death before Churchill’s eyes; afterwards he wrote of the killer, "I forgot everything else at this moment except a desire to kill this man".[33] However the Sikhs' numbers were being depleted so the next commanding officer told Churchill to get the rest of the men and boys to safety.

Before he left he asked for a note so he would not be charged with desertion.[34] He received the note, quickly signed, and headed up the hill and alerted the other brigade, whereupon they then engaged the army. The fighting in the region dragged on for another two weeks before the dead could be recovered. He wrote in his journal: "Whether it was worth it I cannot tell."[33][35] An account of the Siege of Malakand was published in December 1900 as The Story of the Malakand Field Force. He received £600 for his account. During the campaign, he also wrote articles for the newspapers The Pioneer and The Daily Telegraph.[36] His account of the battle was one of his first published stories, for which he received £5 per column from The Daily Telegraph.[37]

 

Sudan and Oldham

The River War was published in 1899

Churchill was transferred to Egypt in 1898 where he visited Luxor before joining an attachment of the 21st Lancers serving in the Sudan under the command of General Herbert Kitchener. During his time he encountered two future military officers, with whom he would later work, during the First World War: Douglas Haig, then a captain and John Jellicoe, then a gunboat lieutenant.[38] While in the Sudan, he participated in what has been described as the last meaningful British cavalry charge at the Battle of Omdurman in September 1898. He also worked as a war correspondent for the Morning Post. By October 1898, he had returned to Britain and begun his two-volume work; The River War, an account of the reconquest of the Sudan published the following year. Churchill resigned from the British Army effective from 5 May 1899.

He soon had his first opportunity to begin a Parliamentary career, when he was invited by Robert Ascroft to be the second Conservative Party candidate in Ascroft's Oldham constituency. In the event Ascroft's sudden death caused a double by-election and Churchill was one of the candidates. In the midst of a national trend against the Conservatives, both seats were lost; however Churchill was impressed by his vigorous campaigning.

 

South Africa

Having failed at Oldham, Churchill looked about for some other opportunity to advance his career. On 12 October 1899, the Second Boer War between Britain and the Boer Republics broke out and he obtained a commission to act as war correspondent for the Morning Post with a salary of £250 per month. He rushed to sail on the same ship as the newly appointed British commander, Sir Redvers Buller. After some weeks in exposed areas he accompanied a scouting expedition in an armoured train, leading to his capture and imprisonment in a POW camp in Pretoria. His actions during the ambush of the train led to speculation that he would be awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy, but this did not occur.[25] Writing in London to Ladysmith via Pretoria, a collected version of his war reports, he described the experience:

I have had, in the last four years, the advantage, if it be an advantage, of many strange and varied experiences, from which the student of realities might draw profit and instruction. But nothing was so thrilling as this: to wait and struggle among these clanging, rending iron boxes, with the repeated explosions of the shells and the artillery, the noise of the projectiles striking the cars, the hiss as they passed in the air, the grunting and puffing of the engine--poor, tortured thing, hammered by at least a dozen shells, any one of which, by penetrating the boiler, might have made an end of all--the expectation of destruction as a matter of course, the realization of powerlessness, and the alternations of hope and despair--all this for seventy minutes by the clock with only four inches of twisted iron work to make the difference between danger, captivity, and shame on the one hand--safety, freedom, and triumph on the other.[39]

He escaped from the prison camp and travelled almost 300 miles (480 km) to Portuguese Lourenço Marques in Delagoa Bay, with the assistance of an English mine manager.[40] His escape made him a minor national hero for a time in Britain, though instead of returning home, he rejoined General Buller's army on its march to relieve the British at the Siege of Ladysmith and take Pretoria.[41] This time, although continuing as a war correspondent, he gained a commission in the South African Light Horse. He was among the first British troops into Ladysmith and Pretoria. He and his cousin, the Duke of Marlborough, were able to get ahead of the rest of the troops in Pretoria, where they demanded and received the surrender of 52 Boer prison camp guards.[42]

In 1900, Churchill returned to England on the RMS Dunottar Castle, the same ship on which he set sail for South Africa eight months earlier.[43] He there published London to Ladysmith and a second volume of Boer war experiences, Ian Hamilton's March. Churchill stood again for parliament in Oldham in the general election of 1900 and won (his Conservative colleague, Crisp, was defeated) in the contest for two seats.[44][45] After the 1900 general election he embarked on a speaking tour of Britain, followed by tours of the United States and Canada, earning in excess of £5,000.[46]

 

Territorial service

In 1900, he retired from regular army and in 1902 joined the Imperial Yeomanry where he was commissioned as a Captain in the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars on 4 January 1902.[47] In April 1905, he was promoted to Major and appointed to command of the Henley Squadron of the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars.[48] In September 1916, he transferred to the territorial reserves of officers where he remained till retiring in 1924.[48]

 

Western front

Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty at the start of World War I, but was obliged to leave the war cabinet after the disastrous Battle of Gallipoli. He attempted to obtain a commission as a brigade commander, but settled for command of a battalion. After spending some time with the Grenadier Guards he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding the 6th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, on 1 January 1916. Correspondence with his wife shows that his intent in taking up active service was to rehabilitate his reputation, but this was balanced by the serious risk of being killed. As a commander he continued to exhibit the reckless daring which had been a hallmark of all his military actions, although he disapproved strongly of the mass slaughter involved in many western front actions.[49]

Lord Deedes explained to a gathering of the Royal Historical Society in 2001 why Churchill went to the front line: "He was with Grenadier Guards, who were dry [without alcohol] at battalion headquarters. They very much liked tea and condensed milk, which had no great appeal to Winston, but alcohol was permitted in the front line, in the trenches. So he suggested to the colonel that he really ought to see more of the war and get into the front line. This was highly commended by the colonel, who thought it was a very good thing to do."[50]

 

Political career to World War II

 

Early years in Parliament

Churchill's election poster for the 1899 by-election in Oldham, which he lost.

Churchill stood again for the seat of Oldham at the 1900 general election. After winning the seat, he went on a speaking tour throughout Britain and the United States, raising £10,000

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