Posted by: Dr Churchill | September 4, 2017

What Would Winston Churchill Do? (Chapter 25)

The first militant Islamic jihad of the modern era came when the Mahdi of Sudan, assembled a large force comprised of hundreds of thousands of men, and rebelled against the Egyptian state of “Equatoria” that was protected by the Christian English General Gordon, who had peaceably governed from his “seat” in Khartoum of Sudan, on the upper reaches of the white Nile river.

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It was then that the fierce Islamic Mahdi, wanting to enlarge his Caliphate, attacked and laid siege to the city of Khartoum and quickly overrun her defenses, and in a few hours killed all the defenders and all foreign citizens, including General Gordon, whose head he ordered impaled on a tree, and whose body, the Mahdi desecrated by cutting it up in small pieces, and throwing it down a well, fully knowing that the General Gordon was a devout Christian who hoped for a simple burial as was expected amongst honorable foes…

But magnanimity in victory was never the trait of the Muslim hordes and thus they sought to sow fear by maiming, killing, and defiling all the defenders, and also rating their women and killing all the European and African inhabitants, and all those who were not seen as devout Muslims because they couldn’t pass the illogical and flat out crazy test of faith, the Mahdi’s test of fidelity.

This peculiar form of virulent sunni Islamic faith took over Sudan and caused a full on genocide that in a dozen years killed more than eight million people.

Indeed it has been sen as the first mass genocide the modern era has even seen and it served as an example of others to follow such as the one practiced by the Turks agains the Armenian Christians in the beginning of the last century, after the collapse of the Ottoman empire…

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Indeed back in 1885, General Gordon achieved the martyrdom he had been seeking at Khartoum, as the British press portrayed him as a saintly Christian hero and martyr who had died nobly resisting the Islamic onslaught of the Mahdi. As late as 1901 on the anniversary of Gordon’s death, The Times wrote in an editorial that Gordon was “that solitary figure holding aloft the flag of England in the face of the dark hordes of Islam”. The great General Gordon’s heroic death caused a huge wave of national grief all over Britain with 13 March 1885 being set aside as a day of mourning for the “fallen hero of Khartoum.”

In a sermon, the Anglican Bishop of Chichester stated: “Nations who envied our greatness, have now rejoiced at our weakness, and our inability to protect our trusted servant General Gordon. Scorn and reproach were cast upon us, and would we plead that it was undeserved? No; the conscience of the nation felt that a strain rested upon it.”

Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton, Chancellor of the Exchequer and knowledgable financier and merchant banker par excellence, was similarly deeply moved upon hearing about the defilement of Gordon’s body. And although Lord Baring, nurtured a deep personal dislike for General Gordon, he changed, and then he wrote that, because of the “national hysteria” caused by Gordon’s heroic death, saying anything critical about him at present, would be equal to questioning Christianity.

Stones were thrown at the windows of No10 Downing Street, the home of the Prime Ministers and the offices of the cabinet, as Gladstone was denounced as the “Murderer of Gordon”, the Judas figure who betrayed the Christ figure Gordon. The wave of mourning was not just confined to Britain. In New York, Paris and Berlin, pictures of Gordon appeared in shop windows with black lining, as for nations and Christian Peoples all over the Western World, the fallen general was seen as a Christ-like man, who sacrificed himself when he was sent to resist the advances of militant Islam.


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It was then after the murder of General Gordon and the sacking of Khartoum, that the Mahdi and his Khalifas established his strict Islamic state. The Mahdi’s Caliphate, immediately restored slavery, hunted down all infidels and killed them, and imposed a very harsh Sharia rule, that according to most estimates, directly caused the deaths of upwards of Eight million people in the short dozen years between 1885–1898.


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At long last the British government chose to intervene by sending a fighting force to take over Sudan, only when her imperial interests were threatened by the energetic French…

First in 1887, the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition was hastily arranged and sent under Henry Morton Stanley ostensibly sent out to rescue Dr. Emin Pasha, still holding out in Equatoria against Mahdi’s army. Many later historians have seen the attempt to save Emin Pasha, a German doctor-biologist-botanist who had converted from Judaism, first to Lutheranism, and then to Islam, and who had not been particularly famous in Europe until then — as a political consolation prize for the failure of Gladstone to save or even assist General Gordon when he and Khartoum were under siege. Indeed at that time, Egypt had been in the French sphere of influence up until 1882, when the British had occupied it. In March of 1896 a French force under the command of Jean-Baptiste Marchand, had left Dakar with the intention of marching across the length of the Sahara, with the aim of destroying the Mahdiyah state. But the Mahdi’s army was far too strong for the French. And as the French hoped that conquering the Sudan would allow them to lever the British out of Egypt, and thus restore Egypt to the French sphere of influence, they were inevitably to be confronted by the British. To block the French, a British force under Herbert Kitchener, was sent to destroy the Mahdiyah state and annihilate the “Ansar” otherwise known as the jihadists of Mahdi’s armies, fighting for the Islamic Caliphate at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898.


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Perhaps, it was this imperial rivalry with the French, and not the desire to “avenge Gordon” that led the British to end the Mahdiyah state in 1898, however the British public and Lord Kitchener himself, both saw the expedition as one to “avenge Gordon”. As the Mahdi was long dead, General Kitchener had to content himself with blowing up the Mahdi’s tomb and defiling his remains, as suitable revenge for Gordon’s murder, barbaric decapitation, and subsequent defilement.


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The serious conspiracy theorists today claim that immediately after the Battle of Omdurman, Lord Kitchener opened a letter from the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, who had explicitly ordered him to open the letter after the battle had concluded. And apparently this is how Lord Kitchener, heard for the first time that the real purpose of the expedition was to keep the French out of the Sudan, and that “avenging Gordon” was merely a pretext to wage this battle. Methinks that is all hog wash, but in the day of Fake News and even faker Conspiracy theories — such drivel persists n the minds of the easily deluded.

Still back in the day, our young hero, Winston Churchill was delighted when he heard the news of the upcoming expedition, in the spring of 1898, when he learned that Sir Herbert Kitchener, the Commander-in-Chief of the Anglo-Egyptian Army, known to us as Lord Kitchener, the winning General, was planning a large scale offensive to liberate the whole of Sudan from the tyrannical Islamic sharia rule of the Mahdi’s Caliphate and of the Khalifa and his Dervishes, who were lording it all over Eastern Africa, from the Southern reaches of the Somaliland and Uganda, to all over Sudan, and even most of Egypt at that time, and were spreading their hateful Islamic Caliphate, under their infamous leader’s banner, the Mahdi flag, and his appointed Khalifas and vengeful barbaric hordes of primitive slave seeking dervishes.


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Indeed Winston Churchill correctly recognized at the time, that this would be a thrilling campaign, and thus he was determined to be in it, and to play some role in securing Victory for God and Country, and for Western Christian Civilization as well.

SO once again he swiftly “started pulling strings” and writing “begging letters” asking for favors, cashing in his chips, and offering “alms” to the rich and the powerful — but the apparent hostility towards him, had spread in the staid military circles, same as it had always been growing in High Society and it had now extended all the way to the powerful Lord Kitchener himself. And nothing would change the situation because although Winston had obtained the coveted “permission to fight” from the War Office, that was necessary in order to join the English Egyptian forces — Lord Kitchener himself flatly refused to have him. Even Lady Randolph Churchill, his Mother who knew the General Kitchener personally, was enlisted and she wrote him a letter, but the resounding imperial “NO” still remained firm. And although his Mother Jenny, had pointed out to the old soldier the need for fresh faced young men to fight for the Empire and for the General, and as she assured Lord Kitchener that Winston was granted a temporary “leave” from his billeted regiment, and had even wrangled a nice “commission” with the 21st Lancers just so he can fight alongside him — the General held steadfast on his refusal to have Winston on his army, let alone near him or on his staff. All that was ostensibly, because as he said, otherwise, he would have to consider him as his personal responsibility, and his clutch, and in no way he wanted to take any responsibility for such an errant, inexperienced, and overly ambitious youth, who was wholly impertinent, and fully disrespectful of his elders, his seniors, and of his superior officers.

Yet Winston persisted. Churchill, being WHO he always was — was certainly not going to quit, or take NO for an answer, so when the opportunity arose, he grasped for it…

Indeed his opportunity washed ashore not as a message in a bottle, but it came as an official invitation to visit No10 when Lord Salisbury, the Prime Minister, wrote Winston telling him how much he had enjoyed his book “The Malakand Field Force” and invited him to come and see him. Winston indeed jumped at the opportunity. And not only he accepted the Prime Minister’s invitation with unusual alacrity, but when he arrived, he spent a full hour with the Prime Minister discussing all about the military operations in India, and also the war plans in general, and all the military campaigns going on elsewhere in the vast Empire — thus showing off, and displaying an unusual acumen for the understandings of Geopolitics and Military Grand Strategies. As Winston was leaving the Prime Ministers’ office, the elderly Statesman was so impressed that he told Winston to let him know if he could ever be of any help to him. Winston without a moment’s hesitation took him at his word immediately and asked him right then and there, to intervene with the General so that Winston could fight in the Sudan campaigns.


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Lord Salisbury promptly sought to satisfy Winston’s request, but Lord Kitchener proved an even harder nut to crack, and refused the Prime Minister’s suggestion to enlist young Cavalry Officer of the Queen’s Own Hussars, Winston Churchill with his Egypt bound troops. Thus even the hugely respectable and appropriately aged Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, failed to get Winston seconded to General Kitchener’s expeditionary army for the campaign in Southern Egypt and Sudan. At this point, it looked as there would be no chance for Winston to join the fray and to fight in the field of honor, to avenge General Gordon’s heroic death, by participating in the military proceedings of the British expeditionary force going to fight, alongside the Egyptian army, in Eastern Africa.

Indeed his hopes were dashed, because Lord Kitchener still said “NO” to all inquiries on behalf of Winston, and always held firm against Churchill, whom he saw as an uppity upstart, an aggrandizer, and a fortune seeker, and in time Kitchener came to be seen as a major obstacle to the young man’s military and honorable ambitions — something that Winston never forgot and certainly never forgave him for…

But the funny thing about this whole episode, is that Winston, after this myriad of rejection letters, still persisted and never abandoned his hope for avenging Western Civilization, by fighting against the infidels in Sudan.

And as he says it — providence might have intervened, and he was somehow delivered in a rather providential way, when he finally got his way by exploiting the rivalry which existed between the haughty imperious Lord Kitchener, and the working stiffs, the planners, and the engineers, of the War Office that made all the logistical preparations, and put together the industrial effort that sped forward the Expeditionary force and thus allowed Kitchener to lord it over his troops in battle. In this particular case the angel of providence and delivery for Winston’s desires, was Sir Evelyn Wood, the Adjutant-General, who had felt that Lord Kitchener was being too imperial and far too autocratic in exclusively picking and choosing his own officer corps, despite the recommendations, the seniority ladder, and the best efforts of the War Office.


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The particularly galling case of Lord Kitchener negating young Winston Churchill’s desire to fight, and if need be to die, for King and Country, thus preventing a young spark from fighting for the Empire — gave Sir Evelyn Wood, the Adjutant-General an opportunity to fully assert himself and to put his antagonist on notice by delivering a black eye punch to the haughty brow of the the old General. To accomplish all that, Sir Evelyn Wood, the Adjutant-General then swiftly declared that General Kitchener was indeed Commander of the Egyptian Army, but not of the British Army in whole. And since the 21st Lancers were part of the English Expeditionary Force — they were not under Lord Kitchener’s control until they had finally arrived in Egypt and joined the main Egyptian force…

A stratagem, but none the less, it held promise of success, and thus Sir Evelyn Wood, sent Winston a personal War Office note, informing him that he was now fully attached to the 21st Lancers, and ordering him to report at once to the Regimental Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt. “It is understood” said the war office personal to Winston Churchill communication, that you will proceed at your own expense, and that in the event of your being killed, or wounded, in the impending operations or for any other reason, no charge of any kind will fall on British Army Funds.


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With this sanguine note in his breast pocket, the impetuous and unperturbed young Winston Churchill, set off for the war of Sudan against the Dervishes and against idolatry and backwardness of the islamic heathens. Typical of Winston, just before leaving he didn’t bother signing his will — but instead, he signed up with the Morning Post, to write articles at 15 quid each.

The next day, he promptly sailed, and he next arrived in Cairo, on the 1st of August. That is when he learned that two squadrons of the 21st Lancers had already started trooping up the Nile, and the other two were just scheduled to leave in the morning. A troop in one of the leading squadrons had been reserved for him but because of the uncertainty of his arrival it had been given to Lieutenant Grenfell. This was part of Winston Churchill’s luck for Grenfell and his troop were destined to be cut to pieces in the battle to come.

The regiment travelled fourteen hundred miles deep towards the upper Nile and the end of Egypt and on to Sudan and into the heart of Africa. It took them nearly three weeks to reach the front, an outpost about twenty miles from the great city of Omdurman. They journeyed by train and steamer, then marched two hundred miles through blistering heat in full battle array. The tension and excitement mounted as they drew nearer their destination and heard the first reports of horsemen in white with drawn curved swords.

A few hours after the Lancers had reached their final battle camp, Winston had his first sight of the enemy, as he promptly rode up to an advance outpost where, with several other officers, he looked through field glasses and saw a long dark smudge on the horizon which was the massed Dervish Army, estimated to be sixty thousand men strong. Indeed at this moment, the shadow was beginning to move and Winston was ordered to ride post haste to Kitchener, and give him the latest report. He was exhilarated at the thought of the coming action but filled with apprehension at having to face the Commander who had flatly refused to
have him in Egypt. He cantered back seven miles, paused on a hill to watch the British Army advancing in splendid formation with their standards flying, and Kitchener himself leading the procession, then rode forward and delivered his message. Kitchener asked a few questions, and then dismissed his informant curtly. He did not even know who Winston was.

Apparently all this time Winston Churchill had spent in fantom sparing with Lord Kitchener, hoping to be admitted to the fighting in Egypt and Sudan — he was in reality fighting only against his own personal reputation as a black swan, a pompous cad, and who knows what else, society had charged him with, for his abundant intelligence, and for his impetuosity to show it and upstage all others, and above all else for his abundant bravery in battle…

Still now that he was at the front, Winston was happy to await and see, what the fates had decreed for him. And that night all was quiet and peaceful as it always is just the lull before the storm hits. In outwardly appearances, the night was still but storms raged under the men’s livers. Storms that threatened the hearts of all the combatants in anticipation of the morrow’s battle where they knew that if they lost there would be no quarters given and they would be brutally slaughtered like so many sheep hanging upside down, and readied for the Islamic Eid al-Adha festival, where the butcher sharpens the knives in full view of the victims before proceeding to ceremoniously and slowly slice through their throats amidst cries of joy from the attendants and the celebrants who perceive the suffering of the infidels as just reward. As you can imagine the quiet of this night was “thick” with expectation, and you could cut it with a knife, but silence prevailed as it always does when time slows down to allow events to overcome the speed of things to come… and as men were clutching their arms tightly in their chests unwilling to be caught unaware in the event of a surprise attack the dervishes were well known for.

But the Dervish Army had not attacked after all their nerve raking maneuvering, and indeed did not attack during that night either…

It appeared that they had just moved in circles, and were just reorienting their positions to find a good spot on the long savannah to rest and make camp. Much like wild animals, coyotes, and even wild dogs, that they turn around walking rapidly in three circles, in order to smooth down the tall grasses, thus forming a perfect nest, to lay down and rest. Go to sleep — this appeared to be the modus operandi, or otherwise known as the operational plan of the Mahdi’s army, as seen by the uninformed British observers who commented about the movements of the dervishes and their vast troops.

As it was at the time, several British gunboats were anchored on the Nile river banks, not far from Winston Churchill’s camp, and some of the naval officers chafed with the soldiers and strategized about the coming battle. At those moments, a young navy-man, a mariner named Beatty, flung a bottle of champagne ashore which Winston picked up and drank thirstily. He returned the empty bottle to the ship calling out his Thanks in a grateful manner that only those that intimately knew Winston could vouch for…

At dawn the great battle began.


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Lord Kitchener’s Army consisted of only twenty thousand men, but from the start, this was an uneven struggle. Some of the Dervishes had antiquated guns and some had modern weapons, but most of them attacked with lances and swords, and were swiftly mowed down by the Maxim machine guns, the gaitlings, the barrage of artillery, and the well aimed rifle fire of the disciplined and well lined up, British regular expeditionary army.


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At the end of an hour, the sandy ground was red hued, and strewn with over twenty thousand Dervishes, dead and wounded, along with their gear & kit, their horses, and camels all destroyed too.


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Winston watched the great dash, from an observation post only four hundred yards away and itched to get into the thick of it…

He describes the scene of the enemy sweeping across the sands like a great incoming tide cheering fanatically for God, for their prophet, and for the Khalifa: “We were so close, as we sat spellbound on our horses that we almost shared their perils. I saw the full blast of Death strike this human wall. Down went their standards by dozens and their men by hundreds. Wide gaps and shapeless heaps appeared in their battle array. One saw them jumping and tumbling under the shrapnel bursts; but none turned back.”

The 21st Lancers played no part in the initial assault, but as soon as the main
body of the Dervishes Army was broken up, and had started retreating, the Lancers had orders to advance and reconnoitre, without engaging the enemy, in order to find out what type, and what numbers of enemy forces, stood between Lord Kitchener’s army, and the city of Omdurman.

It appeared that this was going to be a simple observation task, as simple and benign as milktoast… Indeed their orders to march forth, were the equivalent of a cake walk.

At this juncture of history, the three hundred men of the 21st Lancers had no idea when they mounted their horses, and when they set off towards the near horizon galloping — that they were going to provide the most dramatic chapter of the day’s fighting, or that they would be the pivot to which the great armies would wheel around in order to end this battle.


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They were indeed riding forward in formation, when suddenly two thousand Dervishes who were concealed in a dry river bed during the army fighting — rode up from the ground like apparitions as provided by some kind of virulent black, and rather strong magic emanating from hashish induced dreams…


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Because right then, the 21st Lancers’ Colonel, fully intended to follow his orders of “No Engagement with the Enemy” and thus started to wheel around Winston’s cavalry column towards their flank — but the Dervishes opened fire, and he had no choice except to charge at them, head on. He gave the order and the trumpet sounded ‘Right wheel into line’ and all the sixteen troops swung around towards the blue-black jalabiya, flowing scarfs, and turban and skullcap wearing, mounted riflemen, with extended swords.


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This is what Winston wrote when he went on describing the opening salvos of the battle: “Almost immediately the regiment broke into a gallop, and the 21st Lancers were fully committed to the Charge.”


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He continues writing and describing the battle in this way: “In one respect a ‘cavalry charge’ is very like ordinary life. So long as you are all right, firmly in your saddle, your horse in hand, and well armed, lots of enemies will give you a wide berth. But as soon as you have lost a stirrup, have a rein cut, have dropped your weapon, are wounded, or your horse is wounded, then is the moment when, from all quarters enemies rush upon you. Such was the fate of not a few of my comrades in the troop immediately on my left. The ‘Charge’ took only two minutes. The Lancers lost twenty dead and fifty wounded, but the enemy was in full flight.”


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The story caused widespread interest in England, for even in 1898, the “cavalry charge” was almost a thing of the past. Revolvers, rifles, machine guns, and artillery were giving war a new sheen of new technique, and technological innovation, and the flowing heroic cavalry action in which young Winston and the 21st Lancers took part in, was almost the last of its kind in all of British history.

It could easily be compared to the “Cavalry Charge” of the “Light Brigade” in Sebastopol, but the newspapers of the nineteenth century were so staid and dull, that the Morning Post did not even think to exploit its good fortune, in having a well known journalist, as an eyewitness. Instead the Morning Post actually ran Winston’s account without even bothering to sign his name, and however much their ‘special correspondent’ wrote — they printed only one short paragraph on the day’s fighting in the middle of a column of closely printed type. Very few people could have guessed that this is what came from Winston Churchill’s quilled pen, at the end of one of the most exciting days of his life as a young Cavalry officer.

The Morning Post text read as follows: “The Dervishes attacked our Zareba at Kareri shortly before seven in the morning. The battle lasted five hours, the enemy charging repeatedly. The gunboats, artillery and Maxims, did deadly execution at long range. The enemy eventually wavered and fell back. Whereupon British Brigades, with the cavalry, advanced towards Omdurman. A great mass of the enemy, accompanied by horsemen, suddenly charged the First and Second Brigades from the right flank. Both sides showed great gallantry. The Dervishes were completely destroyed, though our losses were not severe.”

And although the 21st Lancers suffered the greatest proportion of casualties, the army moved ahead and the citadel and the city of Omdurman were taken at sundown.

The “Khalifa” has not yet been captured but troops were hotly pursuing him. Charles Neufeld, a European who had been a prisoner with the Dervishes for many years, was also released.

Besides Winston, only three survivors of the cavalry charge were alive at the time of Churchill’s last Premiership. One of them, Mr Morris, a private soldier who lived his retirement in Dublin, Ireland, wrote a letter about the part Churchill played in the last great Cavalry Charge.

In contrast to the antagonism Winston aroused among his senior officers
this touching tribute is interesting for the warm regard which the ordinary
man felt for him.

Mr Morris wrote: “Winston Churchill, was in command of my troop and I must say that he was a daring and a resourceful soldier. I was only nineteen years of age then and Winston Churchill must have been about twenty-four years of age. The morning of the battle my regiment was told to scout out, and turn their flank and during this manoeuvre I saw him dismount and firing his revolver at the Dervishes. When he was spotted by my colonel whose name was Martin he was told to mount his horse and join his troop, and no sooner had he joined when the regiment wheeled into line for the charge. We had a drop of six feet or more and
the ditch was about twenty feet wide. They were lying in wait for us. I saw Winston Churchill firing away for all he was worth. The troop went into the charge twenty-five strong but only twelve of us were left, some were killed and others wounded.”

“After the battle that night when I was picketing my horse, down my foot came in contact with a bundle of rags and on picking it up I found it was a Dervish baby. Just then Winston Churchill came down the line asking if anybody knew of any man who had done a great deed. When he came to me, I handed the baby to him, and like a gentleman he took it to the Sudanese lines as they had their wives with them, and that was the last time I saw him. I would like to see him again before I leave this world. I am going on for seventy-three years of age.”

Three weeks after the charge Winston was on his way back to London and he now took a momentous step. He decided the time had come to leave the Army and strike out on his own. The Morning Post was impressed by his enterprise and he was certain they would give him a permanent job. But first he decided to write a book on the Egyptian campaign. With characteristic zeal he proceeded at once, working half the night on the ship that was taking him home. On the voyage towards England, new hopeful horizons, and setting his compass towards home & hearth — Winston struck up a friendship with a newspaper correspondent, G. W. Steevens of the Daily Mail. The latter was immensely struck by the young man’s energy and brilliance, and wrote an article about him describing him as “the youngest man in Europe.”

G. W. Steevens went on to predict: “There will hardly be room for him in Parliament at thirty or in England at forty.”

Other people were not so complimentary, particularly the military hierarchy. They called him a “young whippersnapper,” a “medal snatcher,” and a “self advertiser.” And although he had held a commission in the 4th Hussars for four years, (they pointed out that) he had spent less than six months on routine duty. This was true. Yet what his critics failed to appreciate, was Winston’s extraordinary capacity for hard work, both physical and mental. And that while his brother officers, spent their afternoons in siestas, and their evenings in writing letters, or just talking, fraternizing, and drinking in the Officer’s mess — he was enthusiastically hard at work.

And that although he was not yet twenty five years of age — he had already produced three books and a score of articles.

As for his zeal and for his philosophy towards Life, Winston’s outlook on these matters was distinctly Victorian.

His philosophy could have been summed up as expressed by the hero of his first novel titled “Savrola.”

“Asked Savrola: “Would you rise in the world?”

“You must work while others amuse themselves.

Are you desirous of a reputation for courage?

You must risk your life.

Would you be strong morally or physically?

You must resist temptation.

All this is paying in advance.”

According to all of the eyewitness and contemporaries’ first hand accounts — Winston Churchill indeed lived the Talk and walked the Walk.

Because although Winston Churchill was unpopular with the high Generals of the Army and with High Society — there is abundant proof of the sincere loyalty of soldiers, his troops, his mates, & his subordinates as this report states and as it comes from the writings of a contemporary, who served in Winston Churchill’s regiment in India, as a sergeant-major, and who gave this interview in the early 1950’s when he was an eighty-two year old man.

Here is the writing from one of Winston Churchill’s soldiers, from the days of his command in the wilds of the Northwest Indian Raj, or what is today’s Afghanistan and the Pashtun territories:

The interview of Mr Halkway with the BBC journalist starts with his name which is Mr Halkway, and the fact that he lived on splendid memories, in a little house in Wimbledon.

It goes on like that: “I called on him there, and found a charming person with bright blue eyes and a handsome snow-white moustache. He seemed pleased to talk of the old days and showed me pictures of the young gentlemen of the 4th Hussars, in their wonderful uniforms with astrakhan collars and cuffs. He goes: “They cost 150 apiece.” … “Winston Churchill was a real live one” he beamed. “Not at all stuffy like some of the other officers, if you know what I mean. Easy going, and always ready for a joke. He hated to see chaps punished. The officers used to inspect the stables every day and we never knew when they were coming. But Mr Churchill would whisper to me “Eleven-thirty, sergeant-major.”

“But perhaps you had better not mention that” he broke off anxiously, “because he ought not to have done it.”

“But the great thing about him was the way he worked. He was busier than half the others put together. I never saw him without pencils sticking out all over him.”

“And once when I went to his bungalow I could scarcely get in what with books and papers and foolscap all over the place.”

“Oh, he was a live one. He told me he was leaving the Army to earn some money.”

“We always had one thing in common.”

“Both of us was always broke. . . .”

Indeed that was the way all of his subordinates felt about him. A sense of honorable worth to have served with Winston, before he became Churchill.

Indeed Winston Churchill returned to India, said goodbye to his regiment, and also took the opportunity to participate in a polo tournament, which he promptly won.

Then he went on to Egypt, and discussed and checked the manuscript for his new book. The book was called “The River War” and was published in two volumes. It aroused a good deal of interest but did little to appease military circles for the author did not hesitate to criticize Lord Kitchener and his handling of the war. As a matter of fact, Winston Churchill hotly condemned Kitchener, for his ordering the desecration of the Mahdi’s Tomb. Winston told his readers of how the Mahdi’s corpse was dug up, and cut to pieces, and he then commented acidly: “Such was the chivalry of the conquerors.”

In June 1899, three months after he had resigned from the Army, he was invited to fight an election as Conservative candidate for Oldham, a great Lancashire working-class constituency. Purely political issues were far less absorbing in those days and Winston’s opening speech was on the issue of high church versus low. He began with a diatribe on the “lawlessness and disorder in the Church of England” caused by the introduction of “ritualistic practice”. This was an opinion he had acquired from both his nurse and his masterful aunt, Lady Wimborne, and he fought their cause with fervour. He was sure, he told his audience, that this subject was uppermost in their minds, but he also spoke about the well known Tory platforms of “unity of the Empire,” the “benefits of the existing system of society,” and about the “virtues of Conservative rule.”

However, as the election progressed it became apparent that the opposition was gaining ground by the unpopularity of a Tithes Bill which at that moment was being passed through the House of Commons. The Bill had been introduced to help the Church of England’s poor clergy, but it was arousing widespread antagonism among Non conformists, a large number of whom lived in Lancashire. Winston’s
Conservative supporters did not like the Bill, and in the middle of the campaign he suddenly threw it overboard, promising not to vote for it, if he were turned to Parliament.

This spectacular move caused an uproar. In the House of Commons Liberals were able to jeer at the Government with the taunt that even their Conservative candidate did not dare face the electors on the issue; and Mr Balfour, the Leader of the House, remarked acidly: “I thought he was a young man of promise, but it appears he is a young man of promises.”

Winston was soundly and roundly beaten at that particular poll. But he would be sure to run again.

At the moment, he returned to London to find his home and hearth all over again, but instead found himself to be the subject of general ridicule & abuse, because even the conservative newspapers were running editorial headers, saying that in the future the Conservatives must not send raw young candidates to fight elections in the deeply liberal working-class areas.

Still that fake news malaise, did not face Winston, and after a temporary tryst with destiny, he now found himself to be a bit sadder, but a lot wiser, about elections, and about the Public’s appetite for polling on persons but not on ideas and principles. This made him fiercer and more determined than ever, because Winston was still undaunted, and fully committed to the electoral process as he now temporarily turned his attention back to the writing of his book, and to journalism in general… while waiting for the next elections to roll around.

Much history transpired in the intervening years and many years later Winston Churchill met the concurrent Mahdi of Sudan, in his office of Prime Minister at No10 Downing Street, where he would discuss issues facing Sudan and the Eastern Africa in general, with the Mahdi, without any malice or rancor… towards his past enemy who had sought to kill him and decapitate him.


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Strange how fate and hope declare you the winner, or the loser, as they bid your time served, for the Good Cause.

Indeed the wheel of Fortune holds many surprises for mere mortals, demigods, and Gods alike.


To be continued:

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