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Celia Sandys' Churchill: Wanted Dead Or Alive

2276 words - 10 pages

One does not reach a certain plateau in life simply by coincidence. One does not have the backbone for greatness by never striving for something out of the ordinary. One does not experience adventure without being willing to play his adventurous part. One does not gain without risk. Winston Churchill, the politician, member of the House of Commons, and Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War II, had incredible ambition, courage, and confidence in his early life. In the Anglo-Boer War, he risked, and he was rewarded, wrote and became well known, was social and made acquaintances, and led others and gained trust. Chruchill wanted to make an impact on others—and ...view middle of the document...

Even before traveling to South Africa, Churchill was assigned to certain military expeditions by means of his father and mother’s reputation. By making use of an established “name” and meeting and conversing with others, one can gain valuable insight and have various acquaintances for both business and social occasions. Whether an employee of a local company, a CEO, or an aspiring politician such as Churchill, one’s friends and contacts can be an invaluable resource. However, Churchill’s charm came from more than just his relatives. Once he was in these positions, he proved that he was capable and inspired—as displayed in his role in South Africa.

There were two events that led to Churchill’s fame and recognition in South Africa. The first is the armored train incident, and the second is his escape from Pretoria (to be discussed later). In the armored train incident, Churchill had his taste of bullets and chaos fairly soon after arriving in South Africa. He was traveling on an armored train from the town of Estcourt towards Ladysmith. They met a group of Boer soldiers who had strategically placed an obstacle on the track. The train crashed, leaving the track and spilled to ground. The Boers attacked the stranded British soldiers. In the middle of the chaos, Churchill had the drive and courage (as a civilian war correspondent) to take charge of the escape operation. He led the soldiers in clearing the track, motivating their efforts, and cruised away with a locomotive full of the wounded. As if this act was not sufficient, he jumped from the train to look for those who were left behind. Sandys visited the place of this attack long afterwards and states, “I could picture Churchill running along the line searching for the straggling soldiers, who, unknown to him, had already surrendered” (53). Churchill was soon approached by an enemy soldier on horseback. When the soldier took aim with his rifle, Churchill surrendered.

Churchill commented on his capture. He was grouped with the other prisoners of war “like cattle. The greatest indignity of my life” (56). Sandys claimed, “For the moment it also seemed the greatest misfortune: a calamity for someone so ambitious, so determined to make a name for himself. Churchill sat drenched and miserable under the dark, lowering sky, munching a bar of chocolate he had found in his pocket” (56). The keyword in Sandys' first sentence is “moment.” To be effective, one does not need to let his current circumstances bring him down. Obviously, imprisonment is an extremely tough circumstance to search for positive traits, but it is possible. Each moment needs to be regarded as a treasured piece of ones life. One should strive to perform the definitely challenging task of changing a negative circumstance into a growing and beneficial experience. Churchill was also probably upset because he future plans of gaining popularity and recognition were, to his view, put...

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