British Prime Minister, Nobel Prize Recipient. He received world-wide acclaim for leading Great Britain through the Second World War, especially during the first two years when the nation was enduring intense fire bombings by Nazi Air Force planes and being the sole resistance to German Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler. With the war near its end, he helped broker the peace agreements which led to the partitioning of Europe by Russia and the West, and it was Churchill who coined the term “iron curtain”, referring to the demarcation between east and west Europe. Born the son of Randolph and Jennie Churchill, his father was a noted politician and his mother an American, who was the daughter of Leonard Jerome, a New York businessman. Educated at Harrow, a school for boys in London, he ranked at the bottom of his class in grades. With these low grades, he was not college material. After three attempts at the entrance exam before passing, he graduated from the Royal Military College at Sandhurst ranking 20 th in a class of 130. He joined the army serving in Cuba and in South Africa where he was taken prisoner for two weeks before escaping during the Boer War. Churchill displayed conspicuous physical courage on the battlefield, and from 1895 to 1900 while in the Sudan, his vivid articles for British newspapers received wide notice and gave him much needed income. His well-publicized military career launched his political career, which began with election to Parliament in 1900. Other positions followed: Lord of the Admiralty, Secretary of State for War and Air, and then Chancellor of the Exchequer. While being semi-retired, the World War II hostilities dictated his return to his old post First Lord of the Admiralty. When Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned in disgrace in 1940, Churchill became Prime Minister, and remained in office through the end of the war. In the postwar era, his party lost control of the Parliament, thus he was no longer in office. Six years later, he again assumed the reigns of power as prime minister strongly supporting initiatives for the defense of Western Europe against communist aggression . In 1953 Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values." The same year, he was Knighted. In poor health, he left politics for good in 1955 and spent most of his retirement in southern France. While in England, his residence was located at Chartwell House in Kent where the family lived from its purchase in 1922 and where he suffered his final stroke resulting in his death. He lingered for nine days dying at age 90, seventy years to the day of his father's death. His body lay in state in Westminster Hall for three days followed by a state funeral service at St Paul's Cathedral. The procession leading to his burial place was elaborate and planned so as many as possible could witness this historic event. His coffin passed down the Tames, the shores lined by millions, on a barge with the cranes of London's docklands bowed in salute. At Waterloo Station, the casket was placed on a special funeral train for the final leg home. Although offered many famous sites for his burial, he had chosen St. Mary's Cemetery, the burial ground of the Churchill family. There is also a memorial for him at Guildhall in London. Churchill was a constant visitor to America either on official business or because of his American roots. In 1946, Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri invited him to speak. Instead of delivering a brief talk, he gave a major foreign policy statement, the Iron Curtain Speech, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent...” The Cold War had begun and lasted forty years. Many monuments have been constructed around the world in honor of Churchill but none as significant as what graces the campus of Westminster College. Dedicated in 1969 and known as the Winston Churchill Memorial and Library, it is a little rundown 12th century structure, the Church of St. Mary the Virgin of Aldermanbury, which was relocated to Fulton from the middle of London. The historic church had the touch of Sir Christopher Wren, who redesigned it in 1677. Today, it is a museum filled with artifacts and information relating to the life and times of Sir Winston Churchill. He was intrigued by the idea of a restored Wren church to be located in America's heartland and commented, ”It may symbolize in the eyes of the English-speaking peoples the ideals of Anglo-American association of which rest, now as before, so many of our hopes for peace and the future of mankind.” In 1963 United States President John F. Kennedy named him “Honorary Citizen of the United States,” but Churchill was too ill to attend a White House ceremony, hence his son and grandson accepted the honor for him. By the time of his death, this English statesman had accumulated a large collection of his written papers, which included an autobiography describing his adventures as a officer and war correspondent; a comprehensive biography of his ancestor, the First Duke of Marlborough; and multivolume work about World War I and World War II.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield
Clementine Ogilvy Hozier Churchill
1885–1977 (m. 1908)