One Man…Many Lives

Today in History, January 24, 1965:

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill died at the age of 90 in London, England.

I normally try to avoid posting people’s birth and natural cause death dates. These are natural events in their lives, which we all experience. Normally not something they “accomplished.” However as I did my standard research for today’s date, my mind was changed.

Most of the individuals I post about led significant lives…and finding their connections through time is one of my favorite subjects. Yet as I read over several events that I might post about for just this single date, I kept seeing major events which I recognized for having one thing in common…or one person…the remarkable Winston Churchill.

So. Keeping in mind these events are only a microcosm of the influence he had during his 90 years on this Earth:

January 24, 1900. 26-year-old Winston Churchill was a correspondent covering the Boer War in South Africa when he was made a Lieutenant for his exploits. On today’s date he covered the Battle of Spion Kop during the Siege of Ladysmith. During the war he would manage to distinguish himself in combat.

January 24, 1915. The Royal Navy engages the German Navy at the famous Battle of Dogger Bank due to intelligence gained by the Admiralty. In charge of the Admiralty was a 41-year-old First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. He would leave the office somewhat in disgrace after failed efforts in the Dardanelles and Gallipoli…but the indefatigable man would reinvent himself, serving in the government in several posts, including Lord of the Admiralty again.

January 24, 1943. After having done his time in “the wilderness” when he was nearly the sole voice shouting against appeasement of the Nazi regime, now Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of Britain. On this date he concluded a landmark conference with American President Franklin Roosevelt at Casablanca, Morocco, during which the Allied leaders set the course for the second world war.

There is so much more to cover that Churchill was involved in; what an amazing life!

A Pompous Speech Too Far

Today in History, January 7, 1945:

The Battle of the Bulge.

After the American 101st Airborne held out against overwhelming German forces for days, refusing to surrender;

after American Gen. George S. Patton turned his entire 3rd Army 90 degrees and ran full tilt through winter conditions to reach his comrades;

after American air power helped save the day when the weather cleared,

British Gen. Bernard Law Montgomery held a press conference during which he took credit for the hard won victory. Prime Minister Winston Churchill had to address Parliament to assert the truth that The Battle of the Bulge was solely an American victory after the political fall-out of Montgomery’s typically arrogant statements.

The United Nations Initiated

Today in History, October 24, 1945 & 1949:

Since 1941 FDR and Winston Churchill had been referring to the Allies as the “United Nations.”

on this date in 1945 the 5 permanent members of the Security Council and other signatories signed the UN Charter, beginning the organization two months after the end of WWII.

Exactly 4 years later in 1949 the cornerstone to the United Nations building in New York City was laid down.

Sir Winston Churchill, Knight of the Garter

Today in History, April 24, 1953:

British Prime Minister Winston Spencer Churchill is Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, making him a Knight of the Garter.

The Queen had wanted to make Churchill a Knight as Duke of London, a new and dynamic position, but he declined since this would require his son and other descendants to live at a certain financial level that they may not be able to sustain.

Born in 1874, Churchill had served with distinction in the Boer War as a young man, been a major player in the First World War as Lord of the Admiralty, and then been banished to the political “wilderness” for ten years leading into WWII. During those years, he constantly preached a message of military preparedness to his contemporaries…acts that made him a laughing stock…the Nazis only wanted peace and he was a militant nut. Once the realities set in with Hitler’s invasion of several European neighbors, Britons turned to Churchill for their salvation, and he proved himself up to the task.

What an amazing amount of History Sir Winston and Queen Elizabeth have been a part of!

An Old Lion Retires…Sort Of

Today in History, April 5: 1955 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill resigns his post. One would think he was ending his service to his country after having served for 60 years, since 1895, courageously on the battlefield, in Parliament, as First Lord of the Admiralty, helping lead Britain into preparation for WWI; he was one of the few sounding the warning of Hitler’s aggression leading to WWII, then led his country and to a large part the world through that conflict to victory. After his retirement, he returned to parliament until 1964.