Saturday, September 19, 2009

What a stud... for a Brit


“Mad Jack” Churchill enjoyed danger so much that he fought World War II with arrows and a broadsword — that’s him on the far right, leading a training exercise in Scotland.

“Any officer who goes into action without his sword,” he said, “is improperly dressed.”

Churchill charged through the whole war this way — he’s the only British soldier to fell an enemy with a longbow — and yet he lived to be 90. He died peacefully in Surrey in 1996.

Wiki:

He resumed his commission after Poland was invaded, and volunteered for the Commandos after fighting at Dunkirk. Churchill was not sure what Commando Duty entailed, but he signed up because it sounded dangerous. In May 1940, Churchill and his unit, the Manchester Regiment, ambushed a German patrol near l'Epinette, France. Churchill gave the signal to attack by cutting down the enemy Feldwebel (sergeant) with his barbed arrows, becoming the only known British soldier to have felled an enemy with a longbow in the course of the war.[2]

He led two companies in Operation Archery, the raid on the German garrison at Vågsøy, Norway on December 27, 1941. As the ramps fell on the first landing craft, Churchill leapt forward from his position playing The March of the Cameron Men on bagpipes,[2] threw a grenade, and began running towards the bay.

For his actions at Dunkirk and Vaasgo, Churchill received the Military Cross and Bar. He received the Distinguished Service Order in 1943 for capturing the battery at Salerno, while commanding Number 2 Commando. Leading from the front, Churchill infiltrated the town with only a corporal in support. He kidnapped a sentry and forced him to make his comrades surrender. Churchill and the riflemen walked out of town with 42 prisoners and a mortar squad.

In 1944, he led Number 2 Commando in Yugoslavia, where they supported the efforts of Tito's partisans. The commandos raided the German-held island of Brač and assaulted Hill 622. Only Churchill and six others managed to reach the objective. A mortar shell killed or wounded everyone but Churchill, who played "Will Ye No Come Back Again?" on his pipes as the Germans advanced. He was knocked unconscious by grenades and was flown to Berlin for interrogation after being captured. He was placed in Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

In September 1944, he and an RAF officer crawled under the wire through an abandoned drain and set out to walk to the Baltic coast; they were recaptured near the coastal city of Rostock, only a few miles from the sea. In late April 1945 Churchill was transferred to Tyrol together with about 140 other prominent concentration camp inmates, where the SS left the prisoners behind.[3]

He escaped from Niederdorf, Italy in April 1945 and walked 150 miles to Verona, Italy where he met an American armoured column.

As the Pacific War was still ongoing Churchill was sent to Burma, where the largest land battles against Japan were still raging, but by the time he reached India, Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been bombed, and the war abruptly ended. Churchill was said to be unhappy with the abrupt end of the war, saying: "If it wasn't for those damn Yanks, we could have kept the war going another 10 years!"

3 comments:

  1. That's an incredible story. Did he write a book or have one written about him?

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  2. I have no idea.. there should be a movie though!

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  3. Richard (from Scotland)November 28, 2009 at 11:13 AM

    If there was, no doubt the gallant Scotsman would be played by an American actor! [sigh]

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