At the end of a particularly long footnote that listed Winston Churchill’s many major achievements and the great offices of state he had held, A.J.P. Taylor, in his ‘English History 1914–1945’, finished with a five-word sentence – ‘The saviour of his country’.
The popular book had been published not long after Churchill’s death in 1965. Taylor was hardly a supporter of the Tories and indeed was known for his provocative radical irreverence but there was no irony when he wrote those words. It showed how Churchill’s reputation was seen by most at the time.
Even Tony Benn, then a minister in Harold Wilson’s Labour Government, wrote in his diary after hearing news of the wartime leader’s death: “Thus ends the life of one of the greatest Englishmen of our time.”
Winston Churchill as a seven year old in a seaman’s suit.
Winston Churchill as a Cornet (Second Lieutenant) in the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars.
Winston Churchill as a war correspondent for the Morning Post covering the Boer War in South Africa.
Winston Churchill, right, as a prisoner of war in Pretoria, South Africa.
Winston Churchill as a Conservative candidate for Oldham in 1899, the first to be fought by the future Prime Minister.
Winston Churchill, portrait taken when he first took his seat in the House of Commons.
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, Mr Winston Churchill on his way to the Houses of Parliament.
President of the Board of Trade Winston Churchill pays off a taxi, 1908.
Winston Churchill with Miss Clementine Hosier in 1908, the year of their engagement.
Winston Churchill as a Liberal, addressing a crowd in the 1908 by-election in Manchester North West, caused by his appointment as President of the Board of Trade. He lost his seat to the Conservative candidate William Joynson-Hicks.
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies Winston Churchill arrives at Number 10 Downing Street with John Morley, Secretary of State for India. 1908.
Winston Churchill, President of the Board of Trade, and German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1909.
Winston Churchill, Home Secretary in 1911.
The Home Secretary, Winston Churchill (left, in top hat), during the siege of Sidney street in Stepney, East London, 1911.
First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill and his private secretary Rear Admiral Sir Ernest Charles Thomas Troubridge, 1911.
Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine Churchill on holiday in Sandwich, Kent. 1914.
Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, arrived at Portsmouth, in an Army bi-plane, piloted by Major Gerrard. The flight from Upavon, Salisbury Plain, had taken 20 minutes. April 1914.
Winston Churchill after bathing in the sea at Deauville, France, 1922.
The Westminster Abbey by-election fight has begun in earnest. Winston Churchill (Constitutionalist) has made a statement of his policy and has started to construct his organisation with characteristic energy. Mr Churchill is pictured at his home in Sussex Square, London. 1923.
Winston Churchill gestures to the crowds after his defeat at the Abbey by-election, 1924.
Winston Churchill, far right, standing in a car whilst being chased by jeering socialists after the Abbey Division of Westminster by-election, 1924.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Winston Churchill and The Duke of Sutherland warp themselves in towels after having a dip in the sea, 1927.
Winston Churchill wearing a Tom Mix hat (named after the popular American western star) near Del Monte, California, during his visit to the Monterey Peninsular, 1929.
Winston Churchill meets the comedian and actor Charlie Chaplin (far right), 1931.
Winston Churchill, and his daughter, Mary, who are thoroughly appreciating the show at the Bertram Mill’s Circus, at Olympia, London, on Dec. 22, 1938.
First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill leaving number ten, Downing street in London, United Kingdom on Sept. 18, 1939, by the back door a short time after the announcement of the sinking of H.M. aircraft carrier “Courageous”. (AP Photo)
Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill is cheered by shipyard workers after a short speech at a shipyard in north east England, Aug. 1, 1940. Churchill is visiting the region to inspect coastal fortifications and defence works.
Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill wears leather earmuffs as he watches gunnery practice onboard the Royal Navy battleship HMS Renown, in September 1943. Churchill is crossing the Atlantic on his return from a visit to North America, during which he received an honorary degree from Harvard university, in Cambridge, Mass, on Sept. 6.
Soviet President Joseph Stalin, standng with Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Foreign Minister Anthony Eden, makes at toast at Churchill’s 69th birthday party, in Tehran, Iran, Nov. 30, 1943. Churchill and Stalin are in Tehran for a conference with U.S. President Roosevelt.
After an informal luncheon party on Christmas Day in Carthage to celebrate his recovery from a severe attack of pneumonia, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, dressed in his now world famous “siren suit” and wearing a colorful dressing gown was photographed with his guests, Dec. 25, 1943 which included a number of Allied Chiefs of Staff. From Left to right are: Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gen. Harold Alexander, Commander-in-Chief., Allied Armies in Italy, and Mr. Churchill.
WINSTON Churchill’s precious bulk. As featured in LIFE Magazine, 1947:
“To protect the precious bulk of Winston Churchill in wartime a special one-man pressure chamber was built for the personal plane which carried him many times across the Atlantic and to Casablanca, Moscow and Yalta. Churchill was warned by his doctors that it was dangerous for a man of his age and physical condition to fly above 8,000 feet. The solution was a pressure chamber complete with ash trays, telephone and an air-circulation system good enough to prevent smoke from the ubiquitous cigar from fogging the atmosphere.”
Soviet Marshall Josef Stalin, left, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill are shown laughing in the conference room at the Lividia Palace in Yalta, in Crimea, U.S.S.R., in Feb. 1945 for the Yalta Conference between the three Allied leaders during World War II.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill is mobbed by the excited crowds as he made his triumphant ride to the Houses of Parliament after his victory speech which was relayed to the thousands in Whitehall on V.E. Day.
Mr. and Mrs. Churchill arriving at Walthamstow Stadium where Winston Churchill was due to address the crowd. 1945.
Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill comes ashore after a swim at Larvotto Beach, Monte Carlo, Sept. 28, 1948. Finding the pebbles a little tough on his feet, he came ashore on all fours.
Sir Winston Churchill with cigar still burning, nods as if having a sleep, on board the Yacht Christina owned by Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, at Cartagena, Spain, Sept. 28, 1958 during his current Mediterranean Cruise. Onassis shown at right.
Sir Winston Churchill watches loading preparations in President Dwight Eisenhowers helicopter before a flight with the chief executive to his Gettysburg farm in Washington on May 6, 1959. In background are presidential Press Secretary James Hagerty, second from right, and Anthony Montague-Browne, right, Churchills secretary.
Sir Winston Churchill seats himself on the edge of a road in order to rest a few minutes in the sun. The politician was spending a few days holiday in Monaco, 1963.
Sir Winston Churchill, the inevitable cigar between his lips, gets an affectionate helping hand from his daughter, Mary, and son-in-law Christopher Soames, as he leaves their Georgian home at Hamsell Manor, Eridge Green, near Tunbridge Wells. With Lady Churchill, he had been a guest at a family luncheon party to celebrate her 79th birthday. They had driven over from their home at Chartwell.
Metropolitan Police on duty near the home of Sir Winston Churchill in Hyde Park Gate, London, 1965.
The advertising signs in Piccadilly Circus are switched off in tribute to Sir Winston Churchill. 1965.
The lying in State of Sir Winston Churchill in Westminster Hall.
A queue of people stretches from the Houses of Parliament to Millbank over Lambeth Bridge and along the Albert Embankment, as they wait to file through Westminster Hall for the Lying-in-State of Sir Winston Churchill.