My Early Life by Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Churchill - The Early Years
The Right Honorable Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS (1874 - 1965) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. His career had been exciting and varied as a soldier, journalist, historian, painter, and politician. In 1953 he received the Nobel Prize in literature. Churchill is revered as one of the greatest leaders in British and world history.
Born the grandson of the 7th Duke of Marlborough his mother was the daughter of American millionaire and major shareholder in The New York Times, Leonard Jerome. Winston was educated at the English public school of Harrow, excelling in English and becoming fencing champion but otherwise failed to apply himself. He remembered the Harrow songs as being particularly good.
The young Churchill joined the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and passed out as a Subaltern of the IV (Queen's Own) Hussars Cavalry regiment. His first posting was to India where he read widely and started writing for newspapers. Using his family connections he was able to get involved in many of the small wars and skirmishes of the British Empire. He combined soldering with journalism and in 1897 his first book The Story of the Malakand Field Force, was published.
After wangling a posting to the 21st Lancers, combining it with War Correspondent for The Morning Post, Churchill joined Kitchener in the Sudan. Whilst there, he took part in the Battle of Omdurman - the last British cavalry battle charge. In 1898 he returned to Britain and started work on his second volume of The River War, published in 1899. That year he had his first attempt at politics but failed to win a seat as the Conservative candidate.
Later that year the second Anglo-Boer war erupted in South Africa. As War Correspondent for The Morning Post, Churchill rushed to the scene. He caught a lift on a British Army Armored Train only to find himself ambushed and derailed by a Boer attack. Churchill took charge, had the track cleared, and managed to free the engine and half the train. The wounded escaped but Churchill and other officers and soldiers were captured and sent to a camp in Pretoria. He was not at this time an official combatant and could have been shot as a spy.
Before long he contrived to escape and traveled almost 300 miles to Portuguese Lourenco Marques in Delgagoa Bay. He was helped by an English mine manager who smuggled him onto a train. This exploit made him a hero back home. Still a war correspondent, Churchill obtained a commission in the South African Light Horse, fought at Spion Kop and was one of the first into Ladysmith and Pretoria; receiving, with his cousin The Duke of Marlborough, the surrender of fifty-two Boer prison camp guards. He published two books on the Boer war in 1900. He was still only twenty-six.