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Childhood and Youth of Winston Churchill

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Born to be a soldier, Winston Churchill, one of the most brilliant and dauntless Prime Ministers in British history, was a true warlord but what made this man the hero we know today is his childhood experiences and ventures before his more legendary exploits. These youthful choices and incidents influenced the rest of his life and matured him in body and spirit. As a child, his ultimate goal was to fight for his country which stayed the desire of his heart during his whole life as he went on to fight in the ranks of the British cavalry for several years undergoing sacrifices as a result. He would later go on to assist his country during his time in government, especially when Britain was at war in World War II.

Winston’s father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was a dexterous politician. Propelling his career forward, becoming one of the most preeminent politicians at the time, he became overconfident and resigned from office in 1886 not realizing the destruction that it would later bring upon his profession as a result. From this point on the Churchill, household income began to slowly fail. Even though Lord Randolph made this one mistake, Winston always looked up to his father and ultimately desired to make his father proud. Jenny Jerome, Winston’s mother, was ravishingly beautiful, graceful, glamorous, and refined, the perfect wife for a prominent politician. Few who met Mrs. Churchill ever forgot her. She was one of the most well-known and exciting women in England on that day. She was not only gorgeous but animated, witty and sophisticated, having been educated at one of the best schools in Paris where she met her husband. Winston Churchill wrote in his book, My Early Life, that his mother always seemed to be a fairy princess, a radiant being possessed of limitless riches and power. and that I loved her dearly but only from a distance.

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Indeed, Winston did love his parents but not in a deep and personal manner. Randolph Churchill was too busy in his line of business to attend to his young son and his mother was too sophisticated to get her hands dirty and trie with childish matters. Because of this Churchill’s true affections fell on his nanny. Winston was a devilish child and his aiming red hair seemed to kindle his fiery spirit. Very early on in his life, it was apparent that Winston was headstrong and outgoing. He was always determined to get what he wanted no matter what the means or cost. Churchill’s raids through the kitchen always annoyed and mustered the cook Rose Lewis who at one time could not bear it any longer and dropped a ladle on his head.

Mrs. Everest got the young boy interested in toy soldiers. Winston would set up whole battle scenes on his bedroom floor an army of lead men waiting for his every command. His battle plans and tactics used in his play were very organized and sometimes complicated. Shane Leslie, the first cousin of Winston Churchill, said, “Winston was particularly ingenious in demanding and manipulating his toys lead soldiers who were always standing in action even when their owner slept. This was Winston’s first realization of what he wanted in his future; to join the army. On a visit to the nursery one day his father inspected his son’s arrangement of troops. He asked Winston if he would like to join the army one day Winston quickly and readily replied that he would.

At the age of eight Winston was sent off to a boarding school called St. George’s in Ascot. He was very unwilling to leave Wom but was required to go, even though he disliked study and would rather command his lead troops. He hated this school especially, not just because of studying but because of the unfriendly environment and ill-treatment that we underwent there. The next few years of Winston’s life were more peaceful. He was taken out of St. George’s and was put into a small school in Hove run by two kind sisters. Despite Winston’s misuse at St. George’s he remained mischievous and was known to one of his teachers as, “The naughtiest small boy in the world. Churchill started attending Harrow in 1887. His days there were tedious and full of study but he never let of go of his race and bold personality. He was always determined to do what he wished and often deed the boys who jeered him by continuing to do what they teased him for. Even though his spirit was strong however Winston was not the healthiest young man. He once wrote to his mother saying that he was “cursed with so feeble a body. He experienced many physical ailments but he also had a speech impediment halfway between a lisp and stutter that often irritated him.

In 1891, his parents sent him to France under the guidance of a French master. When Churchill finished his education at Harrow his father’s hopes and expectations for Winston’s future were crumbling. In Lord Randolph’s eyes, his eldest son was a failure and not worthy of attending Oxford to pursue a career as a lawyer as Randolph had first planned. Instead, as Mr. Churchill began to fail mentally, physically, and financially, He finally decided to send his son to a military college. Winston so wanting to please his father, was dispirited by Lord Randolph’s near rejection of his achievements but it did not destroy him as it might have done any other young man of a weaker spirit. Long after his father’s death at age forty Churchill still tried to prove his worth to his father and he was motivated to follow his father’s steps into politics. He later said that his father’s attitude towards him during this time helped him to grow strong. “Solitary trees if they grow at all grow strong and a boy deprived of a father’s care often develops if he escapes the perils of youth independence and vigor of thought which may restore in the afterlife the heavy loss of the early day’.

At eighteen, Churchill was admitted to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Churchill enjoyed being at Sandhurst immensely mathematics and Latin were replaced with battle tactics. His studies included drawing maps digging trenches making landmines, building mock fortifications, and blowing up bridges all of which he rebelled in during all his months at Sandhurst. He also had to study books on war, artillery, infantry, cavalry, military administration, and military law. Even though he loved these subjects the most prominent thing he appreciated during these months was learning how to ride a horse, and he and his friends spent all their spare time and money on horse races.

However, there was one thing that marred his happiness. In 1895, he received news that his nanny, Woom, was dying and he rushed to London to be by her bedside to with her in her final moments. Fifteen months after Churchill began his studies at Sandhurst, he graduated eighth in his class of 150 other students. Graduating with such good grades gave him the option of joining the Fourth Hussars, a centuries-old British cavalry regiment with a wonderful history and many honors, and he readily accepted. He knew that military life was the life for him and specifically, life in the cavalry.

Now that the years of tedious studying were over, he was free for adventure. The next few years would be full of excitement and achievements that helped him become the legend we know today. At first, because of the peaceful times, the regiment was given time off, but instead of relaxing, Churchill decided to risk an adventure. While in Cuba, Churchill served as a front line battle reporter for The Daily Graphic and was merely an observer. His detailed articles were of great interest to the people of England at that time and he was able to earn a substantial amount of money.

After his excursions in Cuba, he went to India with the regiment. This time it was for military purposes and not for journalism, but there was hardly any action, so Churchill spent his time reading books, writing, and playing polo. He often wrote to his mother asking for boxes of volumes so that he could soak up knowledge. He wrote his book, Savonarola. A Tale of the Revolution in Laurani which was his only novel while in India, but he was not very proud of his creation and never attempted to write action again. After a while, Churchill grew restless and tired of being idle. so he set off for the Northwest to the troops under Sir Bindon as a journalist for the Daily Telegraph at ve pounds per column.

Churchill wanted action by joining the troops on the border and he definitely got what he wished for. He was thrown into the middle of the battles facing ere situations and close escapes. Churchill published a book, The Story of the Mandala Field Force about his experiences in India. His articles and book became so well known that even the Prince of Wales wrote to congratulate him on his performance. Sir Herbert Kitchener was going to Sudan in 1898 along with his troops to repress a rebellion against British rule. Churchill desperately wanted to go and report on the front lines but Kitchener refused to let him say that he did want a reporter to get in the way or cause any mischief. Churchill’s mother wanted him to succeed and it happened that Kitchener was an old acquaintance of hers so she wrote a letter to him asking for Churchill to travel and fight with Kitchener’s troops in the front line. However, even this did not sway Kitchener to allow a journalist to accompany him to Sudan. By this time Churchill had given up on his wish but during his meeting with the Prime Minister to talk about his book he mentioned his wish to go to Sudan and in a week, Churchill was invited to join Kirchner’s troops. They arrived in Sudan in 1898 and immediately entered into the battle of Omdurman.

Even though Churchill was a journalist, he helped fight in the battle instead of observing. He actually led his own group and the charge of his, and other units of cavalry in September 1898 was the last cavalry charge in the history of British warfare. In minutes the train was surrounded. Churchill sprang into action, he told the Captain they had to unblock the rail so that the un-toppled carts could get the injured out of the situation. The Captain sent him with a few others to clear the rail. It was a success and they were able to cram the injured and surviving men onboard. Churchill then raced back to the Captain to assist him but once he reached him Boers rushed out and forced them to surrender. Captain Haldane Winston and a few other troops were captured and brought to the Boer’s camp. Haldane his sergeant Brockie and Winston began to plot their escape. After careful examination of the troops and fortifications, they completed their plan but only Winston ended up being able to escape. Once he got out of the Boer camp he had to move swiftly and silently. He leaped into a coal train and stayed there until dawn when he feared being caught and jumped off. A reward of twenty pounds was published by the Boers for the capture of Winston so he could not trust anyone but he had to get some food and help. Taking a chance he went up to the biggest house and knocked on the door. Thankfully the man was an Englishman and helped him get back to England safely. This experience gave Churchill the fame to launch him into his political career and give him the chance to make the remembered choices that he took in further years that caused him to become a hero.

Churchill was an amazing politician leading his people through times of great trial. Of course, he was not perfect as we might start to think he was. He made mistakes like every man but unlike some, he learned and grew from them. In the end, Churchill was one of the most memorable leaders of Britain fearless, honorable, and adventurous.


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