Sir Winston Churchill: Minister of Defence

Voted as one of the greatest Britons of all time, Sir Winston Churchill was arguably the most inspirational Prime Minister this country has ever seen. Through his passionate and steadfast beliefs, he roused the nation to not give up during World War II, leading the UK to victory.

Early life

Born in 1874 to a wealthy, aristocratic family, a young Winston failed to gain good grades at school and often found himself in trouble. His father, Lord Randolph, shipped him off to the army. By 1895, Winston became a cavalry officer in the 4th Hussars, travelling to faraway places such as Cuba, India and Sudan. During this time, Winston became interested in politics but feared his lack of education held him back. He began reading with a passion to increase his knowledge and started working as a war reporter.

Early political career

After escaping an ambush attack in South Africa, where he was reporting about the conflicts, Winston returned to the UK a hero. His newly revered status enabled him to pursue a career in politics, and he became MP for Oldham at the 1900 General Election. He made his first parliamentary speech a year later.

Although Winston started his political career with the Conservative Party, he disagreed with their beliefs and deflected to the Liberals. In 1908, as the youngest cabinet minister since 1866, Winston played a pivotal role in establishing the beginnings of the welfare state. With continued political success, Winston was crowned the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911.

Winston’s career and reputation took a nosedive during World War I, however. His decision to launch an attack on Gallipoli was heavily criticised, forcing him to resign from office.

By 1924, Winston returned to politics, winning a seat at Epping and returning to his Conservative roots. He also took the role of Chancellor but just a couple of years later, Winston made another controversial decision, when he fixed the pound’s value against gold, causing disastrous economic consequences. By 1929, Labour took hold at the next General Election, thrusting Winston out of politics again.

During the next decade, Winston focused on writing and making speeches. While his views on independence in India didn’t go down well, his warnings about the threat of Nazi Germany were ignored, until war broke out across Europe in 1939.

World War II

As World War II took hold and Britain struggled to gain power against the Nazis’, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned in 1940, paving the way for Winston to step in. At this time, Winston also appointed himself with the newly-created title of Minister of Defence.

With a failing war and the invasion of France, ministers urged Winston to surrender. However, he remained resolute and urged the country to continue to keep fighting through his many inspirational speeches and dogged determination. Some of Winston’s famous quotes at the time included ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going’, ‘Never, never, never give up’, ‘A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty’ and ‘It is the time to dare and endure.’

Germany eventually surrendered on 7 May 1945.

Despite Winston leading the country to victory in the war, he lost his position as Prime Minister at the General Election later that year. The Labour Party took over, led by Clement Attlee.

During the latter half of the 1940s, Winston continued writing and making speeches. His most significant claim at that time was that Russia would become the new enemy. It was not long before he returned to politics.

Back in office

Winston was elected as Prime Minister again in 1951, and he took the reins until 1955. Despite ailing health during this time, Winston focused on foreign affairs, nuclear weapons and house-building. He continued working as an MP until 1964, before his death in 1965.

Career highlights

As well as steering the country to victory during wartime, Winston was famed for introducing the 11+ in his political career, as well as raising the school leaving age to 14 and introducing the 1944 Education Act. He also earned a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953.

Winston also made history by creating the new role of Minister of Defence. If you work for the Ministry of Defence, the wide range of quality lockers available from Crown Sports Lockers will reliably keep your personal items safe and secure.

Voted as one of the greatest Britons of all time, Sir Winston Churchill was arguably the most inspirational Prime Minister this country has ever seen. Through his passionate and steadfast beliefs, he roused the nation to not give up during World War II, leading the UK to victory.

Early life

Born in 1874 to a wealthy, aristocratic family, a young Winston failed to gain good grades at school and often found himself in trouble. His father, Lord Randolph, shipped him off to the army. By 1895, Winston became a cavalry officer in the 4th Hussars, travelling to faraway places such as Cuba, India and Sudan. During this time, Winston became interested in politics but feared his lack of education held him back. He began reading with a passion to increase his knowledge and started working as a war reporter.

Early political career

After escaping an ambush attack in South Africa, where he was reporting about the conflicts, Winston returned to the UK a hero. His newly revered status enabled him to pursue a career in politics, and he became MP for Oldham at the 1900 General Election. He made his first parliamentary speech a year later.

Although Winston started his political career with the Conservative Party, he disagreed with their beliefs and deflected to the Liberals. In 1908, as the youngest cabinet minister since 1866, Winston played a pivotal role in establishing the beginnings of the welfare state. With continued political success, Winston was crowned the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911.

Winston’s career and reputation took a nosedive during World War I, however. His decision to launch an attack on Gallipoli was heavily criticised, forcing him to resign from office.

By 1924, Winston returned to politics, winning a seat at Epping and returning to his Conservative roots. He also took the role of Chancellor but just a couple of years later, Winston made another controversial decision, when he fixed the pound’s value against gold, causing disastrous economic consequences. By 1929, Labour took hold at the next General Election, thrusting Winston out of politics again.

During the next decade, Winston focused on writing and making speeches. While his views on independence in India didn’t go down well, his warnings about the threat of Nazi Germany were ignored, until war broke out across Europe in 1939.

World War II

As World War II took hold and Britain struggled to gain power against the Nazis’, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned in 1940, paving the way for Winston to step in. At this time, Winston also appointed himself with the newly-created title of Minister of Defence.

With a failing war and the invasion of France, ministers urged Winston to surrender. However, he remained resolute and urged the country to continue to keep fighting through his many inspirational speeches and dogged determination. Some of Winston’s famous quotes at the time included ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going’, ‘Never, never, never give up’, ‘A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty’ and ‘It is the time to dare and endure.’

Germany eventually surrendered on 7 May 1945.

Despite Winston leading the country to victory in the war, he lost his position as Prime Minister at the General Election later that year. The Labour Party took over, led by Clement Attlee.

During the latter half of the 1940s, Winston continued writing and making speeches. His most significant claim at that time was that Russia would become the new enemy. It was not long before he returned to politics.

Back in office

Winston was elected as Prime Minister again in 1951, and he took the reins until 1955. Despite ailing health during this time, Winston focused on foreign affairs, nuclear weapons and house-building. He continued working as an MP until 1964, before his death in 1965.

Career highlights

As well as steering the country to victory during wartime, Winston was famed for introducing the 11+ in his political career, as well as raising the school leaving age to 14 and introducing the 1944 Education Act. He also earned a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953.

Winston also made history by creating the new role of Minister of Defence. If you work for the Ministry of Defence, the wide range of quality lockers available from Crown Sports Lockers will reliably keep your personal items safe and secure.