Winston Churchill should be a 'celebrated hero in Scotland'

Winston Churchill once said that the three most important things he received from Scotland were his wife, his constituency and his regiment.

Winston Churchill with General Wladyslaw Sikorsky, Polish Premier and War Minister, (left) inspects Polish troops in Scotland in 1940 . PIC:: AP/Shutterstock (7410008a)

Now the official society studying the life and work of the former Prime Minister has dedicated an edition of its Finest Hour journal to Churchill and his deep connections to Scotland.

With a foreword by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the edition also launches an appeal for more information about Churchill’s many associations with Scotland, with hopes for further study into the relationship between the man, country and its people.

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Mr Brown said: “So much has been written about every aspect of Winston Churchill’s life that it is surprising that one important area – his relationship with Scotland – has commanded so little attention.

“That is why this set of essays in Finest Hour must start to rectify this and rescues Churchill’s Scottish connections from the condescension of posterity.”

The International Churchill Society (ICS), the official Churchill society founded in 1968, is among the first to collate and consider Churchill’s numerous, but not always well-known connections to Scotland.

During the First World War, he commanded the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers on the Western Front in 1916. His two leading officers were both future Scottish political leaders. Andrew Dewar Gibb, a founding member and subsequent leader of the SNP was Churchill’s adjutant, and Archibald Sinclair, a future leader of the Liberal Party, was his second-in-command.

Perhaps most famously, Churchill was the Liberal MP for Dundee for 14 years. First elected in 1908, he was re-elected to the seat four times before finally losing to a Prohibitionist candidate in 1922.

The same year Churchill was elected to Dundee, he married Clementine Hozier, a granddaughter of the tenth Earl of Airlie. In 1912, Churchill was among the first senior British politicians to call for Scottish home rule and UK federalism. He received his first government appointment from Scottish prime minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, in 1906.

Meanwhile, he enjoyed a good friendship with the former Prime Minister Lord Rosebery – in his time a highly-regarded Scottish politician.

Despite Churchill having had many other personal and professional connections with Scotland, there is little that marks this today. Two plaques honour his time in Dundee and a portrait of him by Greenock-born Sir James Guthrie hangs in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

David Freeman, the editor of Finest Hour, said: “It’s so rare to find something new to say about Churchill and lo and behold, it was right in front of us. There’s a compelling case that England’s greatest Englishman should also be a celebrated hero in Scotland.

“The connections are innumerable and substantial, and we’re thrilled to be among the first to bring these together formally.

"Finest Hour, our subscription magazine, is free to view this month to kick-start this conversation. If you’re sitting with old photos or other memorabilia from one of his many trips to Scotland, please get in touch.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact [email protected]

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