To keep himself occupied he took up archery, fast becoming an expert, and eventually representing the UK at the World Archery Championships in 1939. However as the Second World War started Churchill immediately re-enlisted with his old unit.
|Churchill at the Championships in 1939|
In 1940 during the German Blitzkrieg Churchill secured his place in the history books, and started a war long career of daring deeds. At the village of L'Epinette Churchill's company was assigned as rear guard. The job of rear guard is always a difficult one. You have to hold off a much larger force while all your mates run for safety. But if you hold on too long the larger force will squash you.
Churchill's company set up an ambush and waited. Soon the Germans approached and were sheltering behind a stone wall. Churchill opened the ambush with a prearranged signal. He shot the German NCO with his long bow. As the German fell Churchill's men opened fire from two directions catching the Germans utterly off guard and driving them back.
When the Germans attacked again The British fought them off, with Churchill personally manning two of the companies machine guns. However as night fell the company was surrounded. Churchill's inspiring Leadership allowed him to lead the company in a break out attempt, and they managed to get through the German lines and rejoin the Regiment as it retreated to Dunkirk. For his actions at L'Epinette Churchill was awarded the Military Cross.
In the fierce fighting at Dunkirk Churchill was hit by German machine gun, luckily it was only a single bullet in his shoulder.
Back in England, another long spell of boredom appeared to loom on the horizon. When Churchill saw a call for volunteers go out. It gave no details, just said the duties would be extremely hazardous. Churchill lept at he chance, and found himself joining the Commando's. Churchill had many exploits with the Commando's. Far too many for this article, so I might come back to some of his other adventures in a later article. I do however want to skip ahead to his actions at the Salerno Landings, which won him a DSO.
|Churchill on the Far Right of the picture.|
In shock both Germans immediately surrendered. Seeing some Germans in a nearby courtyard Churchill left Cpl Ruffell to cover him and the prisoner's and charged the Germans alone. Again shock and Churchill's overwhelming presence caused a whole German mortar crew to surrender.
Churchill then took one of the German sentries and led him around the village. Every time a German position or another sentry would challenge them Churchill's captive would give the password. The password allowed Churchill to approach the new German and pounce on them causing their surrender with his sword. At the end of it all Churchill, almost alone had captured 42 Germans plus a full Mortar position.
Before you judge that German Soldier too harshly remember its very hard to resist when an unpleasant person with mean intent is prodding you in the kidney's with a 3ft sword!
Returning to friendly lines with all those prisoner's his Commanding officer asked him how he'd done it. Churchill gave a reply that reflects his world view:
"I maintain that, as long as you tell a German loudly and clearly what to do, if you are senior to him he will cry 'Jawohl' and get on with it enthusiastically and efficiently whatever the situation."
Churchill's exploits continued until Germany's defeat. But what about the Japanese! Time for some Katana Vs Scottish broadsword fighting? Churchill got himself posted back to Burma. However as he got off the train in Rangoon the news of Japan's surrender arrived. Churchill joked to a friend "You know, if it hadn’t been for those damned Yanks we could have kept the war going for another ten years."
After the war Churchill continued his adventures. Such as becoming Jump Qualified on his 40th birthday and leading a Parachute regiment. Or learning to surf and building his own boards, eventually becoming the first person to Surf the Severn River and its tidal bore.