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Winston Churchill the British Bulldog

Battle of BritainBy the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

When England was facing an impossible future in 1941, Winston Churchill emerged as the dynamic visionary leader who gave the English people the courage to see their way through to victory.

Churchill has been described as the greatest statesman of the past 100 years. Others have called him the last truly great man of the western world. As Commentator Peter Graves notes, “His record of wartime heroism and peacetime leadership may never be equalled …” Churchill was born into the privileged world of British aristocracy. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill was the youngest son of the Duke of Malborough. His mother Jenny Jerome was the vivacious daughter of an American financier.

Winston Churchill 2 PictureChurchill was a rising star in the Conservative Party at just age 26. He landed in hot water however for supporting free trade, at a time when the Conservatives were in a protectionist mood. Churchill then switched to the Liberal Party, becoming one of the youngest cabinet ministers ever. As president of the Board of Trade, he introduced many social reforms. Notably he eliminated sweat labour, set up labour exchanges for the unemployed, and brought in a nationwide minum wage, along with compulsory meal breaks at work. Many people don’t realize that the British owe their traditional tea breaks to Churchill!

Churchill was blamed for a disastrous WWI military expedition to the Dardanelles in Turkey, which cost the British many lives and ships. Cold-shouldered by his colleagues, he decided to fight on the Western Front. His frontline heroism earned him a reputation as a real man’s man. Churchill was then brought back into the Liberal Cabinet, until in 1924 he changed parties a second time. He returned to the Conservatives, becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer.  But once again Churchill fell out of favour, and spent the next 10 years out of political office. Peter Graves commented that Churchill led a life of spectacular victories and spectacular failures.

 

Even in serious setbacks, however, Churchill winston churchill gravehad an amazing ability to find something encouraging. While lecturing in the States, he looked the wrong way and was run over by a New York taxicab. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, be made $5,000, while in hospital, by writing an article about what it is like to be run over by a car. A most prolific writer, Churchill once humorously commented: “I’ve written very many books. I think that by the time I was 25 years old, I’d written as many books as Moses.” His six-volume series on the 2nd World war earned him the Nobel Prize of Literature.

Written off as a has-been and a warmonger, Churchill was largely ignored as he warned England of Hitler’s aggressive military intentions. Yet as Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policy collapsed, a nationwide campaign emerged to bring Churchill back.

On the day Chamberlain appointed him as the First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill said: “We are fighting to save the whole world from the pestilence of Nazi tyranny.” In six months with Churchill, there were five years worth of change. He cut through all the red tape and doubled the production of aircraft needed to defend Britain.

 

Battle of Britain1On becoming Prime Minister, Churchill uttered those immortal words: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat .You ask what is our policy. I will say: it is to wage war by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the darkened, lamentable catalogue of human crime …”

 

Churchill had an amazing gift of being able to reinspire and reinvigorate people who were close to giving up. The people of England trusted him because be didn’t hide the painful truth from them. He never gave them the impression that defeating Hitler would be quick and easy. Instead, Churchill said clearly that the English people had before them “many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.” For Churchill, the British people were a tough, robust people who would rather face an ugly truth than a beautiful deception.

 

His finest hour, said Martin Gilbert, was the leadership Churchill gave to Britain when it was most isolated, most threatened and most weak. Churchill’s strong dislike of bullying, unfairness and victimization helped to fuel his ironclad opposition to tyranny Peter Graves commented that if ever a man was matched to a moment, then such a man was Winston Churchill in 1940.

 

All around, Europe had been overrun by the Winston Churchill TimeNazi warmachine, and only England still resisted. Bombarded night after night in fierce air raid attacks, Churchill the Leader ignited his country with new hope that they really had a future.

 

As the late Phyllis Beck, former Seniors Columnist for the Deep Cove Crier, once put it, “Churchill swayed us tremendously into believing that we were doing the right thing … that every person was needed by his country.”

 

May the perseverance of Winston Churchill be an inspiration to each of us in our daily struggles to do the right thing.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Winston Churchill and Baden-Powell: Unlikely Soulmates

    By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdBaden-powell3

 Over the last number of years, I have written several articles about Baden-Powell, the remarkable founder of the world-wide Scouting and Guiding movements.  Both Lord and Lady Baden-Powell were born on February 22nd, a coincidence which has led to the widespread celebrating of their lives every February with events like Parent-son banquets, church parades, and thinking days.

In thinking about Lord Baden Powell, I was struck by the unexpected similarities between Baden Powell and Winston Churchill.  Both, for example, came into international recognition through their miraculous escapes and bravery in the South African Boer War.  Both were courageous, determined men who inspired millions of others to try their best and to never, never give up.  Admittedly, they had many differences as well.  For example, Churchill lived in the world of politics and power, while Baden-Powell lived in the world of boys and backpacks.  As well, Baden-Powell clearly warned against the dangers of smoking and drinking, while Churchill was famous for his cigar and glass of brandy.

Winston Churchill 2 PictureAt a deeper level however, their common determination and perseverance has had remarkable impact on the character development of millions.  Churchill once went to a meeting of students, where he stood up and said: “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”.  Then he sat down.  In his 1937 book Great Contemporaries, Churchill included one whole chapter on Baden Powell.  In describing Baden-Powell’s Scouting movement, Churchill said: “It is difficult to exaggerate the moral and mental health which our nation had derived from this profound and simple conception.”  Churchill described Baden-Powell (B.P.) as one of the three most famous generals he had ever known.

Churchill first met Baden-Powell while B.P. was acting as an Austrian Hussar in an amateur vaudeville entertainment, given for the British Army in India.  Three years later, Churchill interviewed B.P. for a newspaper article about B.P.’s famous 217-day defence of Mafeking in South Africa.  Churchill said of this interview: “…once B.P. got talking, he was magnificent.”  Churchill commented: “In those days, B.P.’s fame as a soldier eclipsed almost all popular reputations.  The other B.P. – the British Public – looked upon him as the outstanding hero of the War.  Even those who disapproved of the War, and derided the triumphs of large, organized armies over the Boer farmers, could not (help but) cheer the long, spirited, tenacious defence of Mafeking by barely eight hundred men against a beleaguering force ten or twelve times their number.”

“No one”, said Churchill, ” had ever believed winston churchill gravethat Mafeking would hold out half as long. A dozen times, as the siege dragged on, the watching nation had emerged from apprehension and despondency into renewed hope, and had been cast down again.”  By the end of the siege, Mafeking had become so famous that it turned into a verb: “to Mafeking meant to celebrate uproariously”.  Churchill noted that “when finally the news of Mafeking’s relief was flashed throughout the world, the streets of London became impassable, and the floods of sterling cockney patriotism was released in such deluge of unbridled, delirious, childish joy as was never witnessed again until Armistice Night in 1918.”

Churchill, too, became an instant hero through his adventures in South Africa.  On May 15th in 1899, Winston Churchill the newspaper journalist was accompanying 150 soldiers on an armoured train, when suddenly it was ambushed and derailed.  Churchill took command in clearing the lines, and took 60 men, many of them wounded, away to safety.  Upon returning to help the other troops, Winston was captured, despite his protest that he was just a journalist.  After 3 weeks in captivity, Churchill escaped over the prison wall, jumped a train, hid in a mine, and finally escaped by train.  In the afterglow of his amazing adventure, Churchill was elected to the British Parliament at the young age of 25.

Lord Baden Powell PictureNeither B.P. nor Churchill were particularly successful in their early school days.  B.P.’s school reports read:

1) Classics: Seems to take very little interest in his work

2) Mathematics: Has to all intent given up the study of mathematics

3) Science: Pays not the slightest attention, except in one week at the beginning of the quarter

4) French: Could do well, but has become very lazy; often sleeps in school.

Churchill was described by one of his teachers as “the naughtiest small boy in the world”.  His father warned him: “I am certain that if you cannot prevent yourself from leading the idle unprofitable life you have had during your school days, you will become a mere social wastrel, one of the hundreds of public school failures, and you will degenerate into a shabby and futile existence.”  Both B.P. and Churchill preferred to learn their lessons from nature than from a classroom.

Baden-Powell once said: “Say your prayers regularly, read that wonderful old book, the Bible, and read that other wonderful old book, the Book of nature, and see and study all that you can of the wonders and beauties that nature provides for your enjoyment.  Then turn your mind to how you can best serve God while you still have the life that He has lent you.”  Churchill loved animals and loved to paint the beauties of nature.  After his crushing election defeat right after V-Day, Churchill went to the Mediterranean where he said: “I paint all day and every day, and have banished care and disillusionment to the shades.”

Despite the many setbacks and defeats in both B.P.’s and Churchill’s life, neither of them ever gave up the struggle to fulfill their visions.  Churchill described B.P. as a “man of character, vision, and enthusiasm.”  Winston described what he saw as the marks of a scout: sturdiness, neighbourliness, practical competence, love of country and , above all in these times, indomitable resolve, daring and enterprise in the face of the enemy.  “BE PREPARED”, said Churchill, ” to stand up faithfully for Right and Truth, however the winds may blow.”

Similarly, Baden-Powell said that it is the stickability of the man that really counts.  Stickability for B.P. was “that mixture of pluck, patience, and strength which we call endurance.”  Stickability “…will pull a person out of many a bad place when everything seems to be going wrong for him.”

As I think of Baden-Powell’s and Churchill’s stickability, I am reminded of the words of wisdom: “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  May the God of endurance fill each of us with stickability as we face life’s challenges.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide