Examples of Winston Churchill’s work as a war correspondent

Posted on October 13th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

Simon Read

Simon Read is currently using The British Newspaper Archive to research Winston Churchill’s adventures as a war correspondent. He got in touch to show us some examples of Churchill’s journalism.

 

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Hear the name Winston Churchill, and what comes to mind? Most likely, it’s Churchill the war leader with his ever-present cigar, bulldog scowl, and never-surrender spirit. But long before Churchill’s Finest Hour, there was Winston Churchill the young adventurer.

Between 1895 and 1900, Churchill covered wars of empire in Cuba, India’s North-West Frontier, the Sudan, and South Africa as a correspondent for several London newspapers.

 Winston Churchill

Churchill’s journalism and The British Newspaper Archive

I’m currently writing a book on this aspect of Churchill’s life and am putting The British Newspaper Archive to great use.

Churchill’s dispatches are vivid, graphic, and make for compelling reading. Although he published some of his articles in book form, I wanted to rely on his reports as they originally appeared.

There is something to be said for doing research in the comfort of your own home, printing documents the moment you need them, and not having to scroll through endless reels of microfilm. The British Newspaper Archive has been a great treasure trove of information.
 
 

Winston Churchill at the Battle of Omdurman

As a war correspondent for the Morning Post in 1898, Churchill was attached to General Kitchener’s army and followed the Anglo-Egyptian re-conquest of the Sudan. At the Battle of Omdurman, Churchill was commissioned with the 21st Lancers and took part in an epic cavalry charge against several thousand enemy Dervish.

We can see exactly how he described it in this report, printed in the Morning Post on 29 September 1898:

 

Winston Churchill's newspaper report in the Morning Post, 29 September 1898

Morning Post – Thursday 29 September 1898
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Equally vivid is his detailing of the bloody aftermath, which appeared in the Morning Post on 6 October 1898:

Winston Churchill reported from the Battle of Omdurman for the Morning Post

Morning Post – Thursday 06 October 1898
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

View the whole newspaper page

 

Churchill’s report from the Battle of Spion Kop

In 1899, Churchill was again reporting for the Morning Post, this time from the South African battlefields of the Second Boer War. It was here he made an international name for himself after being captured and then escaping from an enemy Prisoner of War camp.

In January 1900, he was present at the disastrous Battle of Spion Kop. This article was published in the Morning Post on 17 February 1900. It’s yet another example of his gripping journalism:

 

Winston Churchill worked as a war correspondent for the Morning Post in 1900.

Morning Post – Saturday 17 February 1900
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

View the whole newspaper page

 

Churchill’s exploits rival those of Indiana Jones – and The British Newspaper Archive is allowing these early adventures to come to life once more on the page.

 

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Simon Read has published several non-fiction books, including Human Game: Hunting the Great Escape Murderers and The Case That Foiled Fabian: Murder and Witchcraft in Rural England. Visit Simon’s website to find out more.

 

4 Responses to “Examples of Winston Churchill’s work as a war correspondent”

DawnOctober 27th, 2014 at 6:46 pm

ah ! dear old Winston Churchill ! ,
” We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the land, we shall fight in the fields, and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills but we shall never surrende! or something to this effect !.”… in my mind probably part of one of the most famous quotes winston ever made. I have been to Spion Kop battle field, it may be filled with cow dung now, and has the most amazingly everlasting view !, but also an very eerie somber atmosphere ! .

KSKNovember 3rd, 2014 at 7:00 am

hi, I have a relative that was in WW11 in Paris, and was part of the liberation, how do i contact you Simon to confirm facts ?

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