Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC (Can) (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British politician known chiefly for his leadership of Great Britain 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 known as an officer in the British Army, a historical writer, and an artist.
Gibraltar (1995) 50 Pounds (back) – Portrait of Winston Churchill
During his army career Churchill saw combat on the Northwest Frontier, in the Sudan and during the Second Boer War, during which he also gained fame and notoriety, as a war correspondent. He also served in the British Army on the Western Front and commanded the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. At the forefront of the political scene for almost sixty years, he held many political and cabinet positions. Before the First World War, he served as President of the Board of Trade and Home Secretary during the Liberal governments. In the First World War he served as First Lord of the Admiralty, Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air and during the interwar years, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
After the outbreak of the Second World War, Churchill was 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. His speeches were a great inspiration to the embattled Allied forces. After losing the 1945 election, he became the leader of the opposition. In 1951, he again became Prime Minister before finally retiring in 1955. 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.
A descendant of the famous Spencer family, Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, like his father, used the surname Churchill in public life. 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. Churchill was born two months premature in a bedroom in Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire on 30 November 1874. He arrived eight months after his parents’ hasty marriage, and had one brother, John Strange Spencer-Churchill.
Churchill had an independent and rebellious nature and 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. He earned high marks in English and history; he was also the school’s fencing champion. He was rarely visited by his mother (then known as Lady Randolph), but wrote letters begging her to either come to the school or to allow him to come home. He also had a very distant relationship with his father and once remarked that they barely spoke to each other. Due to his lack of parental contact he became very close to his nanny, Elizabeth Anne Everest, whom he used to call “Woomany”.
See also: List of stutterers
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.” Although the Stuttering Foundation of America has claimed that he stammered, the Churchill Centre has concluded that he lisped. His impediment may also have been cluttering, which would fit more with his lack of attention to unimportant details and his very secure ego. Weiss suggests that he may have “excelled because of, rather than in spite of, his cluttering.”
Marriage and children
Churchill at the age of 27.Churchill met his future wife, Clementine Hozier, in a ball at the Crewe House, home of the Earl of Crewe and his wife, Margaret Primrose (daughter of Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery), in 1904. In 1908 they met again at a dinner party hosted by Lady St Helier. Churchill found himself seated alongside Hozier at the dinner party, and they soon began their lifelong romance. On August 10, 1908, he proposed to Hozier in a house party in Blenheim, in a small Temple of Diana.  On September 12, 1908, they were married in Church of St. Margaret, Westminster. The church was packed; the Bishop of St Asaph conducted the service. In March 1909, the couple moved to a house in 33 Eccleston Square. On July 11, 1909, in London, their first child, Diana, was born. After the pregnancy, Clementine moved to Sussex to recover, while Diana stayed in London with her nanny. On May 28, 1911, their second child, Randolph, was born in 33 Eccleston Square.
Mary Soames, his youngest daughter.After the start of World War I, on October 7, 1914, their third child, Sarah, was born in the 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” prior to the birth. Four days after the official end of World War I, Clementine gave birth to her fourth child, Marigold Frances Churchill, on November 15, 1918. 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 August 23, 1921, and Marigold was buried in the Kensal Green Cemetery three days later. On September 15, 1922, the Churchills’ last child, Mary, was born. Later that month, the Churchills bought Chartwell, a house that would be Winston’s home until his death in 1965
Churchill as a historian and writer
Aside from his work as a politician, Churchill was a prolific writer, writing over 25 stories, biographies and histories. Two of his largest undertakings included his Nobel prize winning six-volume history on The Second World War and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples; a four-volume history covering the period from Caesar’s invasions of Britain (55 BC) to the beginning of the First World War (1914).
Honours of Winston Churchill
Aside from receiving the great honour of a state funeral, Churchill also received numerous awards and honours, including being made the first Honorary Citizen of the United States. Churchill received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his numerous published words, especially his six edition set The Second World War. In a 2002 BBC poll of the “100 Greatest Britons”, he was proclaimed “The Greatest of Them All” based on approximately a million votes from BBC viewers. Churchill was also rated as one of the most influential leaders in history by Time magazine.