(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)
In just three paragraphs Churchill scholar Douglas S. Russell provides a lot of information and an excellent outline of Churchill’s experiences as a cadet at Sandhurst:
Churchill entered Sandhurst on September 1st, 1893 at the age of eighteen years, ten months. He stood 5’ 6" tall. The Royal Military is located at Camberley, southwest of London. Founded in 1741, it served the purpose of training officers for the infantry and cavalry. Sometimes referred to as Britain’s West Point, it was not in fact a four-year college, and granted no degree. Churchill took the standard course: three terms of instruction and training over an eighteen-month period. The old school is still there today, looking just as it did in the 1890s.As far as I know Russell has everything right except the number of months Churchill was at Sandhurst. Beginning with Sept. 1, 1893 and counting Dec. 1894 as a month, Churchill was there for a total of only 16 months, not 18.
The subjects were few and practical: tactics, fortification, topography (map making), military law and military administration. He also trained in drill, marksmanship, riding, gymnastics, and fencing. Sandhurst uniforms were those of the regular army, including the red dress coat and the dress blue spike helmet.
Churchill did well at Sandhurst, graduating twentieth out of a class of 130 in December 1894. As he later wrote, "It shows that I could learn quickly the things that matter." For the first time in his life his personal interests and his work were the same and he excelled. A distinguished career had begun.
But I go easy on Russell. I once posted that Churchill had graduated Sandhurst in 1994. One of you, Anon if I recall rightly, was good enough to point out my error, which, if uncorrected, would have meant I'd claimed Churchill had been at Sandhurst for 1,216 months.