Churchills rank

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Dr_Evil, Aug 15, 2005.

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  1. Watching "Warlords" yesterday evening, the one about Churchill's efforts to outfox Stalin being foiled by perfidious FDR. It merited the attention of Dr Evil on the basis of having lots of black and white footage of bombs going off and stuff, and also because watching programmes on the subject counts towards my Evil Megalomaniac Continuing Professional Development requirement.

    I notice that in a few photos Churchill was in service dress, sporting the rank of colonel.

    Can any of you history boffins answer the following:

    1. What regiment's (or regiments') uniform(s) did he wear?
    2. Colonel? Why?
    3. How did he feel, as a colonel, negotiating with Stalin (who outranked him)?
    4. Did Churchill salute Stalin, even for a laugh?
  2. Well, Stalin of course gave himself his own rank....

    At least Churchill actually had some real military rank at some point or other...
  3. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    At least WSC was a real Lt Col, and commanded a Bn in the Trenches. I am pretty sure Josef was a spy/agent/general Green Slime - type all his life, and therefore never a Soldier.

    FDR was of course a mlaar, and thus presumably an armchair (wheelchair?) warrior :)
  4. He was honorary colonel of the 4th Hussars, having served as a subultern with that regiment in India during the 1890's. He was on attachment to the 17th Lancers at Omdurman and after resigning as First Sea Lord during the first world war, commanded a (Fusilier?) Battalion in Flanders. So yes. He definately deserved the rank.

    Edited to say, 'You're quite right. 21st Lancers. Omdurman was their first battle honour was it not?'
  5. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    Subaltern (2Lt) 4th Hussars (India) Dec 1894-Mar 1896 - also attached to 31st Punjab Infantry (NW Frontier) and 21st Lancers (Sudan)
    Lancs Hussars and S. African Light Horse (South Africa)
    Pre WW1 TA service in Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars (Major), and rejoined as Major Nov 1915, att 2 Gren Gds
    Commanded 6th Bn Royal Scots Fusiliers 5 Jan-6 May 1916

    His WW2 uniform included:
    RAF Air Commodore
    Hussars Colonel
  6. I believe that Winston was Honorary Colonel of the Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars, as well as a few other regiments, and was also an Honorary Air Commodore in the RAF.

    IIRC He was also Warden of the Cinque Ports.
  7. Lt Col W Churchill, Commanding Officer, 6th Bn, Royal Scots Fusiliers.

    He went "over the top" 36 times. This is *after* he was First Lord of the Admiralty.

    He'd previously attended RMAS, and held a regular commission in the 4th Queen's Own Hussars, seeing combat in the Soudan with the 21st Lancers.
  8. Honorary Air Commodore in 615 (County of Surrey) RauxAF . Not sure how much flying he did though ;)
  9. He served with the second Grenadier Guards for a month in the autumn of 1915 in the rank of major and commanded sixth Royal Scots Fusiliers Jan - May 1916. He was to have commanded 56 Brigade in the rank of Brigadier General but the appointment was vetoed by the PM, Asquith.

    Later, he was Hon Col of 6 RSF and of the Oxfordshire Yeomanry Regiment of the RA as well as several other units and Hon Air Commodore of 615 (County of Surrey) Squadron of the Auxilaiary Air Force.

    See 'Winston Churchill Soldier' D S Russell, Brassey's 2005
  10. Must have been the uniform of the 4th Hussars I saw him wearing, then, what with a big "IV" in the collar dogs and all.

    But I wonder why he chose to lark about in an honorary colonel's uniform, when in the eyes of Generalissimo (or whatever) Stalin that made him a pleb. Better, when meeting Comrade Joe, to be in pinstripe. Or that blue tellytubby outfit he had.
  11. He certainly went in for some odd uniforms...Elder Brother of Trinity House...RAF Air Commodore...SA Light Horse..

    Speaking of flying, he took lessons as a civvy at Farnborough before WW1 - until he was involved in a crash and Asquith ordered him to give up flying or leave the government.
  12. I wonder if wearing a real uniform couldn't be seen as a bit of a snub for Stalin? Josef was reputed to be paranoid about people on his own side pointing out that he wasn't a "real" soldier.
  13. I always understood it to be Mrs Churchill who stopped Winston from flying. She was expecting their third child at about the time that Winston was learning to fly (and IIRC, one of his instructors was killed in an accident), and asked him to stop. Martin Gilbert covers this in some detail in one 'Churchill: a life' (I can't remember which page off the top of my head, though.)

    If you look at some of the photos in that book, Churchill's RAuxAF uniform appears to come complete with pilot's wings - which it would seem that he might not have been entitled to?
  14. Not suggesting the greatest Briton of all time was a Walt are you Archimedes? :wink:

  15. Visited Chartwell last year. WSC had a TD amongst other medals, did he actually serve in the TA beyond "honarary" posts? He certianly seems to have had an affinity with reservists.

    IIRC the explanation for his flying badge at Chartwell was that it was agreed he could undergo a short course of flying and recieve them under the aegis of "his" RauxAF squadron.