A Boy of Seventeen Shot Through the Heart

Winston Churchill: War Correspondent

 

 

Churchill in Boer War 1900

Winston Churchill after his Boer War prison camp escape: Sitting astride his grey mount in 1899, the 26-year-old future Prime Minister is shown wearing a suit and tie and has on a wide-brimmed hat in this never-before-seen photograph.

(Caption and photo courtesy of the London Daily Mail. 

More detail on this photograph only discovered in 2012 is here:

Churchill Boer War Escape

 

I have been reading  the fascinating London to Ladysmith via Pretoria, one of Winston Churchill’s early books. He wrote this while serving as a war correspondent in the Second Boer War (1899 to 1902) and his beautiful prose is ever present.

 

After an initial assault on an exposed Boer position during the Battle of Spion Kop which took place between 23 & 24 January 1900 (and was a major defeat for the British), Churchill walked amidst the battlefield.

He wrote that among the dead Boer soldiers he saw “a boy of about seventeen shot through the heart. Further on lay our own two riflemen with their heads smashed like eggshells…Ah, horrible war, amazing medley of the glorious and squalid, the pitiful and the sublime, if modern men of light and leading saw your face closer, simple folk would see it hardly ever.”

Published in 1900, when he was 26, this was his fourth book according to this excellent website about Churchill which I highly recommend:   https://www.winstonchurchill.org

 

I thought you might like to know that six of Churchill’s early books, including London to Ladysmith via Pretoria are out of copyright and can be downloaded for free in various formats from Project Gutenberg here:

Gutenberg ebooks Churchill

In his adult life, Churchill wrote 43 books and thousands of magazine and newspaper articles. At one point in the 1930s he was the highest paid writer in the world. In 1953, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.

According to the review of London to Ladysmith on the Churchill.org site:

The most exciting early Churchill work, this colorful book sets down Churchill’s Boer War experiences, including his escape from the Boers after the Armoured Train attack and his return to British lines. 

I am taking great enjoyment from this book and trust you may as well should you read it.

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/