Monday, March 31, 2008

The Churchill Series - Mar. 31, 2008

(One of a series of daily posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill)

Did you know Churchill had a brother?

Many people are surprised to learn he did. Here, for example, is an inquiry typical of many The Churchill Centre receives each year :

While watching “Young Churchill” the other day, I heard a reference to his brother. I have since learned he had a younger brother named Jack. I am highly surprised I have never heard about him before. Could you tell me something about him?
The Centre replied with a “bare bones” sketch, some of which follows :
John Strange Spencer Churchill, 1880-1947, known as Jack, a stockbroker.

Wounded in action in the Boer War, 1899.

Served at Dunkirk, 1914; on Sir John French's staff 1914-15; on Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton's staff at Gallipoli, 1915; on General Birdwood's staff 1916-18.

Married Lady Gwendeline Bertie (1884-1941), daughter of the 7th Earl of Abingdon, in 1908.

Jack and Winston were very close; their descendants still are.
In the next two posts, I’ll put some “flesh” on those “bones.”

Jack was a person of amiable temperament, generous, brave, discreet and possessed of what we used to call “a fine character.” He and Churchill always got along.

They each married once. After their marriages (both in 1908), the brothers’ wives became best friends. The two couples shared the good and the bad of their lives until first Gwendeline’s (called “Goonie” in the family) died in 1941, followed by Jack in 1947.

Jack and Goonie are interesting in their own right. Learning about them will also tell us a great deal about Winston and Clementine.

I hopw you're back tomorrow