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Sir Winston Churchill's Biography

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Sir Winston Churchill (full name: Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill) was born at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire on 30 November 1874, the son of Lord Randolph Churchill.

Winston Churchill entered the army in 1895 and served in Cuba, India, and with the Nile Expeditionary force. Churchill worked as a journalist during the Boer War and was captured and made a prisoner-of-war but escaped. Churchill also served for a while on the Western Front in World War I.

From 1900, Churchill became Conservative M.P. for Oldham. However he became a cross-bencher, joining the Liberals. From 1906-8 Chuchill was Liberal MP for North West Manchester and from then until 1922 for the Dundee constituency.

Winston Churchill held a number of posts in government before becoming Home Secretary in 1910. From 1911 he became First Lord of the Admiralty until the disastrous Dardanelles expedition of 1915, when he resigned. After a spell in the army on the Western Front, he returned to government in 1917, as Minister of Munitions. From 1919 to 1921 he was Secretary of State for War and Air, and then Churchill changed political sides again, rejoining the Conservatives and was Conservative MP for Epping Forest from 1924. From 1924-1929 Winston Churchill was Chancellor of the Exchequer.

When the Second World War began in 1939, Winston Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty. In May 1940, the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, whose policy of appeasement failed, resigned and Churchill took his place. Churchill spearheaded England's role in World War II and, notably, his inspirational speeches maintained the morale of the people. You can hear Churchill speak, and see Churchill's speech notes at Churchill Speech Interactive.

The Allies were victorious but nevertheless, Churchill lost power in the 1945 post-war election when Labour's Clement Attlee took the helm. Churchill remained leader of the opposition, and, in 1951, at the age of 77, he became Prime Minister again. He resigned in 1955 and Anthony Eden took over.

Churchill was also an extensive writer and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.

Churchill died on 24 January 1965 and was given a state funeral.

The BBC has video footage of Winston Churchill's state funeral.

In November 2002, BBC viewers and users voted him the greatest Briton.

Churchill's family have continued the political tradition. His son, Randolph was an M.P. as were his grandsons, another Winston Churchill and Nicholas Soames.

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