By Joan Frances
If you could speak to any famous person from the past that made a significant impact on the world who would it be? How about Sir Winston Churchill? Well, unless you can conjure up the dead, the city of Richmond got the next best thing, his great grandson.
Saturday evening at the Masonic Lodge in downtown Richmond, a group of about 100 people met and listened to Jonathan Churchill Sandys. Living in Houston, he and his beautiful wife greeted and exchanged e-mails with many of the audience members. Jonathan is executive officer of the Houston based non-profit International Churchill Foundation. Born 10 years after the death of his renowned great grandfather, his eloquence is admirable and he spoke with confidence and pride sharing some great stories of his famous iconic relative.
For history enthusiasts, his dissertation was a reiteration of facts of Winston Churchill’s effective leadership and undeniable impact on history. For everyone else, it was a glimpse into this brilliant man’s life.
Winston Churchill was born two months premature in Blenheim Palace, Woodstock on November 30, 1874 to Randolph and Jennie Jerome Churchill. His childhood was dysfunctional to say the least. His mother and father kept their distance and Winston was raised by his nanny, Elizabeth Everest. At five years old he was sent to a boarding school where he was mistreated and abused for two years. Finally he was moved to Brighton School and cared for by two sisters. He hated school work and was not motivated to study.
Churchill was accepted to the Harrow School after he handed in an exam paper with nothing written on it. Professor Weldon at the school saw his potential and passed him. He later advanced to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. His father was less than proud hoping his son would go into politics. Churchill was never able to earn his father’s love as he passed away on January 24, 1895, before he was able to see Winston accomplish anything significant.
Through his career, Churchill wrote extensively, everything from military reports to newspaper articles, and many books as well. He had a close relationship with President Roosevelt and often walked around the White House naked. His defense was that the British Prime Minister had “nothing to hide.”
Sir Churchill had quite the sense of humor. He took great pride in insulting people. His quotes are famous. One such quote; Woman on the street: “Sir you are drunk; very very drunk.” Winston Churchill; “Madame, you are ugly, very, very ugly. I shall be sober in the morning.” And another; One woman saw Winston Churchill and said,” My baby looks just like you.” He replied, “All babies look just like me.”
This short visit with Sir Winston Churchill through the eyes of his great grandson presented to the audience that Churchill, was in fact a man who went through the trials and tribulations of life. The only difference is that this man never, never, never gave in and contributed to the betterment of society and forever to the history of our world.
He predicted at the age of forty that he would die the same day as his father. Ironically, 70 years to the day, he passed, January 24, 1965, the same day as his father.