Sir Winston Churchill

November 30, 1874-January 24, 1965
20th Century’s Most Famous British Prime Minister

I want to share with you, a man that I admire but I have decided to write about the upbringing of this giant. Most people talk about the many challenges he faced in the political world but rarely show you how his beginning really resulted in the opposite of what you would have expected. How this man, whose contributions to society could have come from a man so alone and unloved as a child was extraordinary to me.

England, has never seen the likes of this one incredible man! Sir Winston Churchill, was born  into the privileged world of the British aristocracy on November 30, 1874, Blenheim Palace, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough. His parents were Lord Randolph Churchill and Jennie Jerome. His father was born to the 7th Duke of Marlborough and although his mother did not come from royalty, she was from an American business tycoon, Leonard Jerome. A family of royal connections and extreme wealth. Quite impressive for a young boy. Dressed in his sailor suit, he even looks like royalty!

Photo Courtesy of the Express Newspaper 

 However, his father did not inherit either a title or property even having such incredible blood lines. So while Winston Churchill grew up with social status, privilege, and a sense of his heritage, he grew up without much money! That certainly was a surprise to learn with such a background that this young boy grew up with not much happiness nor a sense of security, financially. Yet, look at what he became and what good he has done for the world at hand from sheer passion in his beliefs. His legacy will ring out forever and he is a fine example of why recorded events simply need to happen in everyone’s life! 

I found this photograph I know you will enjoy. Churchill, with that same look in his eyes of sheer grit as well as a sense of sadness! A great saying as well. He lived through so much, I am sure it felt as he says here and he certainly did keep on going through everything he endured.

They say that money can’t buy everything and it is so true. Winston was not a happy child as his Victorian parents were distant so he received very little attention from his mother or father. Instead he was raised by a nanny, Mrs Everest, who became a surrogate mother to Winston and his younger brother, John Churchill. Sad, reports say that he was a sensitive and imaginative young boy, who had difficulty living without the warmth of loving parents, finding his world growing up lonely and so unhappy. For me, that is so hard to imagine as I grew up with loving parents and everyone I ever needed. Not to have the guidance of even his father must have been really a sad affair as he faced so many challenges as a young boy and man. When his father passed away at age 45, on January 24, 1895, Winston spoke out saying he hardly knew his father at all and they barely ever spoke to one another due to the many absences of his father in Churchill’s life.. 

Winston was also said to be rebellious, rambunctious, and extremely independent. As a child, he spent almost no time with his mother – the independent, American daughter of a millionaire – or his father. For a young impressionable young boy or any child for that matter, the lack of guidance, love and interaction at a young age with their parents would leave the child without the ability to understand the bonds of family or know the warmth of his emotional ties.

In fact, his governess attempted to teach him the basics of education during the time such as reading, writing and arithmetic but Winston was hard headed and gave her a difficult time by not listening to her. Later, he regretted he had made it so difficult as he was sent away to schools (St. George’s School in Ascot, Berkshire; Brunswick School in Hove; and Harrow School), finding them empty and so lonely. He wrote countless letters to his mother, begging her to come home or for her to visit but she never did. His brother also pleaded with their mother to visit Churchill but to no avail! I cannot imagine a mother turning a deaf ear on her own children. He was not allowed to return home. It is believed that due to his parental abandonment, his grades at school were poor for which he was punished.

His unfavorable treatment from school and his family life are believed to be responsible for his pronounced speech impediment, he struggled with for decades, in his adult life.

Winston, in his younger years, spent much of his time with his grandfather in Dublin, Ireland, who served as Viceroy, with his father serving as the Viceroy’s private secretary. It is believed with this influence as his male model, it is why he became so involved in the political arena. And involved he was! he was fascinated by the military parades frequently passing by his residence, at the Vice Regal Lodge. He attended a boarding school in 1888 close to London at the Harrow School and even joined the Harrow Riffle Corps. It’s said, that after watching the pomp and circumstance of the orderly troops in Dublin, he was drawn to it. Sadly, he did not do well as he had to undergo the British Royal Military College exam three times before passing. He enjoyed the drill and ceremony but scholastically found it very difficult, though he never gave up! He ended up graduating 20th in a class of 130…an outstanding accomplishment. Churchill had a continued problem with decent grades and finally at the end attended a cavalry school (instead of infantry) because the required grade to pass the exam was lower, also not requiring him to learn mathematics, a subject he disliked. 

Although he had a problem with grades, he was a brilliant child if you consider his goals as it is also reported that his views of politics, warfare and international affairs were traced back to his  formative views which were developed in his childhood, predicting  events that took place decades after. So you see, although he was a product of lonely existence, no parental guidance and even indifference from his parents, he put his mind to good use and yielded years ahead in his life a goodness shared by so many from his accomplishments. 

Now, I ask you, does this make sense that a young boy with nothing to do his whole young life but  concentrate on the affairs around him, as he observed his grandpa and father in business and military strategies, predicted outcomes from decades in advance….so do you really believe Churchill was anything but brilliant? 

Here is an interesting source I found that contradicts the information above and it goes so far as to say the information about Churchill, having problems in school was the most misguided spread of information about him. It goes on to say: His instructor at Harrow, Robert Somervell, recognized the boy’s abilities. In fact, Somervell thought Churchill ought to attend one of Britain’s prestigious universities rather than the military academy at Sandhurst, where he eventually enrolled. When Churchill was fourteen, Somervell challenged him to write an essay on a topic of his own choosing.

Now, isn’t that what you suspected all along?

My son, Simon Ambrose, is writing a book about legacies and Winston Churchill is perhaps one of my favorite people to read about and one who may be found as an example in my son’s book which will launch this year, during the winter holidays. Stay tuned for more about him later. I am very proud of him and grateful for his support. 

Churchill, suffered hard times on and off his entire life but made the best of it for others.  

When you think of Winston Churchill, this is not the image one may see in their minds but it is him in 1900. This photograph is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, taken in 1900.

A photo of Churchill shortly after his escape in 1900. (Credit: Imperial War Museum)

The following text is what I found very informative, so rather than  condense or summarize it, I elected to share it with you as follows: Chasing the ghost of his distant ancestor John Churchill, the great British general whose figure literally loomed over the family’s estate at Blenheim Palace from atop a triumphant column, young Winston “threw himself into unbelievably dangerous situations,” Millard says. While working as a newspaper correspondent and military observer with the Spanish army during an uprising in Cuba, a bullet whistled just a foot past his head and killed a horse standing next to him. In British India, he survived a bloody battle in which he had seen friends mutilated by the enemy. Churchill believed greater forces than simple luck were at work. “I do not believe the Gods would create so potent a being as myself for so prosaic an ending,” he wrote to his mother.

While some of the British fighters were able to flee to safety, the war correspondent was among those captured by the Boers and transported to a prisoner-of-war camp in the enemy capital of Pretoria.

On the night of December 12, 1899, while the guards weren’t watching, Churchill scaled the prison fence and made a break for freedom. The fugitive may have had no map, no ability to speak the local language and just “four slabs of melting chocolate and a crumbling biscuit” in his pocket, but he still possessed a seemingly superhuman level of self-belief that he could safely navigate the 300-miles journey through enemy territory.

As the Boers launched a massive manhunt—posters offered a reward for his capture, “dead or alive”—Britain became captivated by Churchill’s saga. “To their shock and horror, the British were losing the war,” Millard says. “When Churchill escaped, they had lost huge battle after huge battle, and they needed a hero. Here they had this young son of a lord who had humiliated the Boers. Everyone and Churchill knows the Boers are scouting the terrain, and if they catch him, there’s a real risk they would kill him. Everyone’s mesmerized.”

After his successful escape, Churchill went on with his life from being a young reporter to a young man, who by the age of 25, had already written and published  three books, run and lost for Parliament and even been on three continents participating in four wars! 

It was reported that Churchill hungered for fame and glory, likely due to what he did not have for recognition as a child…but not shy shared with whomever would listen, that one day he would be prime minister. He was also reported as saying in a letter to his mother, I have faith in my star that I am intended to do something in the world.

As with other influential world leaders, Churchill left behind a complicated legacy. Remembered by his countrymen for defeating the dark regime of Hitler and the Nazis, he topped the list of greatest Britons of all time in a 2002 BBC poll, outlasting other luminaries like Charles Darwin and William Shakespeare. To critics, his steadfast commitment to British imperialism underscored his disdain for other races and cultures.

In closing, here is one other reported summary I found to best describe Churchill’s accomplishments: 

Here are a few of his major political accomplishments in adulthood:

  • Sir Winston Churchill was elected to British Parliament as a conservative in 1900.
  • He became a liberal and then became the President of the Board of Trade in 1904.
  • Served as Undersecretary of the colonies 1906 through 1908.
  • He served in the British military in France during World War 1.
  • Became the Secretary of War 1918 through 1921.
  • Chancellor of Exchequer from 1924 to 1929
  • He was serving as First Lord of Admiralty when World War II broke out.
  • Shortly after he became the Prime Minister of Britain he led them out of the war.
  • He served as Prime Minister of Britain from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955.
  • He coined the term Iron Curtain in a speech he made in 1946 about Soviet Russia’s nature of expansion.
  • He was knighted and awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1953 for his six volume history of World War Two.
  • He graced the cover of Time magazine multiple times winning the title of Man of the Year in 1940 and Man of the Half Century in 1949.

Churchill accomplished more than most people ever dream of doing. It’s difficult to say which was his finest deed as his best moment. But he had many sides to his character and was involved in many outside activities as well. His writing career afforded him to live the lifestyle in which he quite enjoyed but in October 1929, his gambling lost him a mass fortune in the great crash of the American stock market. Fortunately, though it greatly effected his family financial situation, his writing continued to allow him to write and with being published in the 1950’s he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953; painting became a constant solace, which he loved so much, he always carried his canvas’s and brushes with him.

I am ready to meet my Maker, Churchill had said on his seventy-fifth birthday; whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter. 

Churchill died on January 24,1965 – seventy years to the day after the death of his father.  He received the greatest state funeral given to a commoner since that of the Duke of Wellington. He was buried in Bladon churchyard beside his parents and within sight of his birthplace, Blenheim Palace.  

Until We Meet Again!,


Chris Ambrose, Author 

       70 is the new 50`

No matter what Life throws at you, 

it’s where Giving Up, is Never an Option!




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