Sir Winston Churchill

"We shall go on till the end. We shall fight in France. We shall fight on the seas and oceans. We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island what ever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches and we shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight in the hills. We will never surrender."

"The Battle of Britain is about to begin. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth should last a thousand years, men will still say: This was their finest hour."

Sir Winston Churchill was born in 1874 at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. He attended Sandhurst before embarking on a military career, during which he saw action in two separate campaigns including brutal hand-to-hand fighting with the Nile expeditionary force. During the Boer War he was ambushed while working as a reporter for The Morning Post, but managed to escape with a price of £25.00 on his head.

Shortly after this the popular appeal of his exploits helped him gain a Parliamentary seat. He had a chequered political career, notably marked by his meticulously prepared speeches full of wit and humour. 1917 saw him appointed Lloyd George's Minister of Munitions where he was involved in the mass production of tanks, which were in the end to play a large part in Britain's victory. From 1919 to 1921 he acted as Secretary of State for War and Air and in 1924 he became Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The following years saw a decline in his political status but, when war came in 1940, Churchill came into his own. He described the war years as his "walk with destiny" and truly believed that it was a destiny that he had spent his entire life in preparation for. "Cometh the hour, cometh the man" as they say. His national spirit and unflinching determination in the face of Germany and Italy's warmongering and his uncompromising belief in standing up for what is right, won support across the country. His stirring speeches and his promise of no more than "blood, toil, tears and sweat" mobilised and inspired courage in an entire nation and, from the dark days of 1940, moved us on to ultimate victory.

For his achievements he was awarded a string of decorations, including an honorary US citizenship. In his role as wartime Prime Minister he proved to be the saviour of his country and, by our defiant stand, took the entire nation on to its finest hour. This must surely list him among the greatest ever Englishmen.

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