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Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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Wartime Prime Minister
Known for

Winston Churchill and US naval chiefs at Greenwich.
View full size imageWinston Churchill and US naval chiefs at Greenwich. © NMM
Leading the country to victory as Prime Minister during the Second World War.

Holding almost all of the great offices of state during his long political career.

Being extremely fond of brandy and cigars.

Port connection

Hay's Wharf.
View full size imageHay's Wharf showing crane jibs. © NMM
As Prime Minister he remained in London and helped to maintain public morale during the Blitz.

In January 1965, after a memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral, Churchill's coffin was taken to Tower Pier. There it was placed on the Havengore, which carried it upstream through the heart of London.

As his coffin passed Hay’s Wharf, dockers lowered their crane jibs as a salute.

Interesting facts

His contribution to the war was rewarded with a string of decorations, including an honorary US citizenship.

In 1953 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

As well as his many political achievements, he wrote an impressive number of publications including the multi-volume The History of the English Speaking Peoples and The History of the Second World War.

In 2002, he was voted in a BBC poll as the greatest Briton of all time.

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Life story
1874Born at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, son of a prominent Conservative politician, Lord Randolph Churchill.
1895Attended the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, joining the Fourth Hussars.
1895-1898He saw action on the Indian north-west frontier and in the Sudan taking part in the Battle of Omdurman (1898).
1900Ambushed during the Boer war while reporting for the 'Morning Post' newspaper, but he escaped.
1900Became Conservative MP for Oldham.
1904Churchill decided to join the Liberal Party.
1906Elected MP for North West Manchester.
1910Appointed Home Secretary.
1911Churchill became First Lord of the Admiralty, where he helped modernise the navy.
1912He set up the Royal Naval Air Service.
1917Appointed as Minister of Munitions.
1919-1921Acted as Secretary of State for War and Air.
1924Became Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Conservative government.
1940Became Prime Minister, leading his country to victory in the Second World War.
1945Lost power in the post-war general election.
1951Elected Prime Minister again at the age of 77.
1955Ill-health forced his retirement from politics.
1965Dies and is honoured with a state funeral that included a procession along the Thames.
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Find out more
StoriesDocklands and the Blitz
London in the firing line
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StoriesDefending the East End
Dealing with the Blitz
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StoriesThe 20th-century port
The changing fortunes of Docklands and the port
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GalleriesGrowing up in the Blitz
Children in London during the second world war
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National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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