Churchill (Spencer-Churchill), Winston

Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill

b. 30 Nov 1874, Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire [1]
d. 24 Jan 1965, London [2]

Title: Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury
Term: 10 May 1940 - 23 May 1945
Chronology: 10 May 1940, accepted the offer to hold the post of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, audience of the King, Buckingham Palace, London [3][4]
12 May 1940, took the oath of office as First Lord of the Treasury before the King in Council, Buckingham Palace, London [5]
  23 May 1945, tendered resignation as Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, and Minister of Defense (accepted), audience of the King, Buckingham Palace, London [6]
Term: 23 May 1945 - 26 Jul 1945
Chronology: 23 May 1945, invited to form an Administration and accepted the offer to hold the post of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, audience of the King, Buckingham Palace, London [6][7]
  28 May 1945, took the oath of office as First Lord of the Treasury before the King in Council, Buckingham Palace, London [8]
  26 Jul 1945, tendered resignation as Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, and Minister of Defense (accepted), audience of the King, Buckingham Palace, London [9]
Term: 26 Oct 1951 - 5 Apr 1955
Chronology: 26 Oct 1951, invited to form an Administration and accepted the offer to hold the post of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, audience of the King, Buckingham Palace, London [10][11]
  27 Oct 1951, took the oaths of office as First Lord of the Treasury and Minister of Defense before the King in Council, Buckingham Palace, London [12]
  5 Apr 1955, tendered resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury (accepted), audience of the Queen, Buckingham Palace, London [13]
Names/titles: Baptized (Blenheim, 27 Dec 1874); in both birth and baptism certificates Christian names were given as "Winston Leonard" and father's family name as "Spencer Churchill" or "Spencer-Churchill" [14]; family name change was authorized in 1817 by Royal Licence [15]
  Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (from 24 Apr 1953, Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter) [16]
Biography:

Descended from the Dukes of Marlborough through his father, Randolph Henry Spencer-Churchill, Conservative leader and MP (1874-1885); was educated at St. George's School, Ascot (1882-1884) and taught by the Misses Thomson in Brighton (1884-1888); attended Harrow School (1888-1892) and was trained at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, as a cavalry cadet (1893-1894); commissioned second lieutenant (1895) in the 4th Queen's Own Hussars; promoted to lieutenant (1896); participated in military operations in Cuba, British India and the Sudan, writing dispatches from the battlefields for the British newspapers; failed to win a by-election as a Conservative candidate in Oldham (1899); was captured by the Boers (15 Nov 1899) during the South African War; escaped from a prisoner-of-war camp in Pretoria (12 Dec 1899); retired from Regular Army (1900); was returned to Parliament as a Conservative MP for Oldham, Lancashire (1900-1906); promoted to captain (1902), major (1905); changed party allegiance over the issue of Tariff Reform and became a member of Liberal Party (1904); served as Under-Secretary for the Colonies (1905-1908) in the administration of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman; was returned MP for Manchester North West (1906-1908) in the General Election of 1906; sworn in as a member of the UK Privy Council (7 May 1907); lost his seat in Parliament in by-election (1908), but was soon elected in another by-election as representative of Dundee (1908-1922); as President of the Board of Trade (16 Apr 1908 - 19 Feb 1910) in the Cabinet of H.H.Asquith, supported radical social welfare programs, including the People's Budget (1909); was appointed Secretary of State for the Home Department (19 Feb 1910 - 24 Oct 1911); moved to the post of First Lord of the Admiralty (24 Oct 1911 - 27 May 1915), a position better suited to his military interests, he had to resign after the failed expedition to capture the Dardanelles; briefly held the office of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (25 May 1915 - 15 Nov 1915); posted to the Western Front during World War I; commissioned lieutenant-colonel (temporary appointment, 1916) and commanded the 6th battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers (1916); returned to a Cabinet position as Minister of Munitions (17 Jul 1917 - 10 Jan 1919) under David Lloyd-George; was appointed Secretary of State for War (14 Jan 1919 - 14 Feb 1921) and Secretary of State for the Royal Air Force (14 Jan 1919 - 5 Apr 1921, from 29 Mar 1919 Secretary of State for Air); as Secretary of State for the Colonies (14 Feb 1921 - 25 Oct 1922) negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921); lost his seat in the House of Commons in the 1922 General Election; was returned to Parliament standing as an independent candidate or "Constitutionalist" (MP for Epping, Essex 1924-1945); appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer (7 Nov 1924 - 7 Jun 1929) in the government of Stanley Baldwin; formally rejoined the Conservatives in 1924; oversaw Britain's return to the Gold Standard which resulted in disastrous economic consequences; on odds with Conservative leadership, he distanced from politics and supported himself by writing (A History of the English-Speaking Peoples and other works); became an outspoken critic of the Conservative governments; called for continuing colonial rule in India, helping the foundation of the India Defense League; as a friend of King Edward VIII, he supported the monarch during the abdication crisis (1936), but that cost him much of his popularity; despite his favorable remarks towards authoritarian regimes in Europe, he made early warnings about the threat of German Nazism; joined the administration of Neville Chamberlain as First Lord of the Admiralty (3 Sep 1939 - 12 May 1940); succeeded Chamberlain as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury (10 May 1940 - 26 Jul 1945); in the War Cabinet also assumed the office of Minister of Defense (11 May 1940 - 26 Jul 1945); was elected Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party (7 Oct 1940 - 5 Apr 1955) and formed a Coalition War Cabinet; concentrated on the British war effort and succeeded in building up a coalition against the Nazi Germany; after the capitulation of the German troops in Europe (8 May 1945), he resigned (23 May 1945), but King George VI invited him to form a caretaker Conservative government; continued in office until the General Election which resulted in a Labour victory (5 Jul 1945): Government 413 (Labour 393, Liberal 12, Independent Liberal Party 3, Nationalist Party 2, Communist 2, Common Wealth 1), Opposition 213 (Conservative 189, Liberal National 13, Ulster Unionist 9, National 2), independents 14; was returned to Parliament as MP for Woodford, Essex (1945-1964); acted as Leader of the Opposition (1945-1951) during the Labour administration of Clement Attlee; was invited to form a Cabinet after the 1951 General Election returned the Conservatives to power (25 Oct 1951: Conservative including National Liberal 321, Labour 295, Liberal 6, others 3); was appointed Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury (26 Oct 1951 - 5 Apr 1955) and also took the office of Minister of Defense (28 Oct 1951 - 1 Mar 1952); knighted shortly before the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II; was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (1953) for historical writings; maintained a cautious approach to the idea of European integration, refusing to join the European Coal and Steel Community (1951) and stressing Britain's "own dream and own task"; suffered a stroke in June 1953, but made relatively quick recovery; under the pressure of his own Cabinet, he resigned on 5 Apr 1955; did not stand for reelection in the 1964 General Election. Biography source: [17][18]


[1] The Times, No. 28,176, London, Thursday, December 3, 1874, p. 1.
[2] The Times, No. 56,228, Royal Edition, London Monday January 25 1965, pp. 1-2, 12.
[3] The Times, No. 48,613, Late London Edition, London Saturday May 11 1940, p. 9: "Court Circular - BUCKINGHAM PALACE, May 10 <...> The King subsequently received in audience the Right Hon. Winston Spencer-Churchill, M.P. and offered him the post of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury. The Right Hon. Winston Spencer-Churchill accepted His Majesty's offer and kissed hands upon his appointment."
[4] Appointment as Lord Commissioner of the Treasury by Letters Patent under the Great Seal dated 12 May 1940, announced by the Crown Office 29 May 1940, and gazetted 31 May 1940 (The London Gazette, No. 34862, Friday, 31 May, 1940, p. 3274).
[5] The Times, No. 48,614, Late London Edition, London Monday May 13 1940, p. 9: "Court Circular - BUCKINGHAM PALACE <...> May 12 <...> The King held a Council to-day at 12 o'clock noon. <...> The Right Hon. Winston Spencer-Churchill, M.P., was sworn First Lord of the Treasury."
[6] The Times, No. 50,150, Late London Edition, London Thursday May 24 1945, p. 6: "Court Circular - BUCKINGHAM PALACE, May 23 The Right Hon. Winston Spencer-Churchill, M.P., had an audience of The King this morning and tendered his resignation as Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, and Minister of Defence. This afternoon The King again received the Right Hon. Winston Spencer-Churchill in audience and was graciously pleased to accept his resignation. Subsequently His Majesty requested the Right Hon. Winston Spencer-Churchill to form a new Administration. The Right Hon. Winston Spencer-Churchill accepted His Majesty's offer, and kissed hands upon his appointment as Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, and Minister of Defence."
[7] Appointment as Lord Commissioner of the Treasury by Letters Patent under the Great Seal dated 28 May 1945, announced by the Crown Office 7 Jun 1945, and gazetted 12 Jun 1945 (The London Gazette, No. 37128, Tuesday, 12 June, 1945, p. 3091).
[8] The Times, No. 50,154, Late London Edition, London Tuesday May 29 1945, p. 6: "Court Circular - BUCKINGHAM PALACE, May 28 <...> The King held a Council this evening at 6.30 o'clock. <...> The Right Hon. Winston Spencer-Churchill, M.P., was sworn First Lord of the Treasury."
[9] The Times, No. 50,205, Late London Edition, London Friday July 27 1945, p. 6: "Court Circular - BUCKINGHAM PALACE, July 26 <...> The Right Hon. Winston Spencer-Churchill had an audience of The King this evening and tendered his resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury and Minister of Defence, which His Majesty was graciously pleased to accept."
[10] The Times, No. 52,143, Late London Edition, London Saturday October 27 1951, p. 8: "Court Circular - BUCKINGHAM PALACE, Oct. 26 <...> The King subsequently received in audience the Right Hon. Winston Spencer-Churchill and requested him to form a new Administration. The Right Hon. Winston Spencer-Churchill accepted His Majesty's offer and kissed hands upon his appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury."
[11] Appointment as Lord Commissioner of the Treasury by Letters Patent under the Great Seal dated 27 Oct 1951, announced by the Crown Office 29 Oct 1951, and gazetted 30 Oct 1951 (The London Gazette, No. 39372, Tuesday, 30 October, 1951, p. 5659).
[12] The Times, No. 52,144, Late London Edition, London Saturday October 29 1951, p. 6: "Court Circular - BUCKINGHAM PALACE, Oct. 27 <...> The King held a Council at 3 o'clock this afternoon. <...> The Right Hon. Winston Spencer-Churchill was sworn First Lord of the Treasury and Minister of Defnce and kissed hands upon appointment."
[13] The Times, No. 53,200, Royal Edition, London Thursday April 21 1955, Strike Period Supplement: The Times Summary For Wednesday April 6 1955, p. v: "Court Circular - BUCKINGHAM PALACE, April 5 <...> The Right Hon. Sir Winston Churchill, M.P. (Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury), had an audience of The Queen this afternoon and tendered his resignation as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, which Her Majesty was pleased to accept."
[14] The texts of Churchill's birth and baptism certificates are found in "Winston S. Churchill: Companion, Volume I, Part I: 1874-1896", ed. by Randolph S. Churchill (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1966).
[15] Change of surname announced 26 May 1817 and gazetted 3 Jun 1817: "... may henceforth take and use the surname of Churchill, in addition to and after that of Spencer,..." (The London Gazette, Numb. 17256, Tuesday, June 3, 1817, 1817, p. 1277)
[16] The London Gazette, No. 39838, Tuesday, 28 April, 1953, p. 2357.
[17] "Winston S. Churchill", by Randolph S. Churchill (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1966-1967), 2 vol.; "Winston S. Churchill", ed. by Martin Gilbert (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1971-1988), 6 vol.; "Winston S. Churchill. Companion Volumes", ed. by Randolph S. Churchill [1966-1967], Martin Gilbert (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1966-1988), 15 vol.; "The Churchill War Papers", ed. by Martin Gilbert (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1993-2001), 3 vol.
[18] "Churchill: A Biography", by Roy Jenkins (London: Macmillan, 2001).
Image: photograph, c. 1939.
Last updated on: 26 Jun 2009 04:20:59