Ten Lesser Known Facts About Winston Churchill
There are quite a lot of books and articles written about Sir Winston Churchill, the statesman, and even more about his famous speeches and literary genius. But he was also a painter, and a father. These sides of this hero are a lot less well known.
(Bet you didn’t know he was this handsome.)
- He came from a very famous and affluent aristocratic family (his mother being the daughter of American millionaire Leonard Jerome), and was born two months premature, eight months after his parents’ marriage. He was given the names Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill.
- While it’s clear that Churchill had a speech impediment, he constantly worked to overcome it and has been recorded as saying “My impediment is no hindrance”. The Stuttering Foundation has said the he had a stutter, while the Churchill Center has claimed that he lisped or cluttered. (Cluttering is a disorder in language and the way in which it is conveyed to the listener. Stutterers can think something through but have problems saying it, while a clutterer can clearly put their thoughts into words, but during speech they lose interest and the words become disorganised. For example a stutterer may say, “M—mmmmay I hhhhhave ssssome water?” while a clutterer would say, “May I have some er… tap, drink, clear thing, water.”
- Churchill went to South Africa in 1899 as a war correspondent. He was captured and held in a POW camp in Pretoria after war broke out between Britain and the Boer Republic. He bravely escaped but instead of returning home, he rejoined General Redvers Buller’s army to assist the British at the Siege of Ladysmith. This impressive feat, made him a sort of national hero. When he returned to England eight months later, it was on the very ship on which he sailed to South Africa. Later he published his books “London to Ladysmith Via Pretoria” and “Ian Hamilton”s March’.
- In June of 1953, Churchill’s health was dealt a severe blow, (he had earlier suffered a mild heart attack in 1941 at the White House and had contracted pneumonia in 1943. This never seemed to affect his work much as he traveled over 100,000 miles as Colonel Warden throughout the war to meet other leaders) he suffered a stroke. This news was kept from the public and we went to his country home to recuperate. Picture of Churchill, his son Randolph and his grandson Winston.
- Churchill once proposed to actress Ethel Barrymore, but eventually married Clementine Hozier with whom he had 5 children, one son and four daughters. One of his daughters, an actress starred with Fred Astaire in “Royal Wedding.” His son and three grandsons, Nicholas, Soames and Winston all followed his footsteps into Parliament.
- Churchill painted more than 570 paintings, but only a few major shows were held in his own lifetime. His first public exhibition was under a different name. His work has now been displayed all over the world, and have been sold at major auction houses. In July of this year, a painting of his Chartwell estate in Kent sold at Sothebys in London for a world record auction price for a work of Britain’s wartime Prime Minister for one million pounds.
- In January of 1965 Churchill suffered a stroke and died 9 days later at the ripe old age of 90, 70 years to the day after his father died.
- His body lay in State for 3 days. His was the first state funeral to be held for a non-royal family member since 1914, and no other has been held since. Representatives from more than 100 nations attended, including many heads of states. It was the largest assembly of statesmen in the world until the funeral of Pope John Paul ll in 2005
- Churchill was said to have been very fond of alcoholic beverages and added small amounts of whiskey to his water on a daily basis for long periods of his life.
- Churchill, apart from being a statesman, had a very sharp and witty tongue. I think of all the quotes I’ve heard and read, his are the most powerful of all, here are some of my favorite ones.
Bessie Braddock: “Winston you’re drunk.”
Sir Winston Churchill: “Bessie, you’re ugly and tomorrow I shall be sober.”
Lady Astor: “Winston if you were my husband I would flavour your coffee with poison.”
Churchill: “Madam if I were your husband I should drink it.”
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.
The price of greatness is responsibility.
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