2021 Sep 18 Sat

Mad Jack Churchill

Mad Jack Churchill
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Here is an interesting fellow to learn about. He was a British officer in WWII and the most notable thing about him? He carried a Scottish broad sword, a long bow and quiver, and on at least two occasions carried a set of bagpipes with him.

John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming “Jack” Churchill was born in Hong Kong in 1906 and died in Surry, UK in 1996 at the age of 89 years old. He lived a very much accomplished, but none more legendary than his military exploits during WWII. On a rare occasion there have entered men onto the stage of history in such a way that they were legends in their own day. They weren’t your modern day rock star either. These men carried the reputation that instantly brought respect at the very mention of their name. Jack Churchill was one of those men.

He graduated from Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in 1926 and served for a period of ten years. Three years after his retirement, he reenlisted to fight for his country. His previous ten years have their own stories to tell. He lived the adventures young boys dream of when watching Indiana Jones or other action movie protagonists from that time era. They were brave men that acted as if Fear itself feared them. They were unstoppable. They were also ridiculously lucky by all accounts. Ernest Hemmingway carried his own reputation quite well for being a “man’s man”, but I tell you the truth that Jack Churchill makes Hemmingway look like the class nerd. (No offense to the Hemmingway fans.)

Some of the more notable things in Churchill’s life that would qualify him as the ultimate warrior, respected leader, and all around legendary hero everyone talks about is this:

  • He fought a water buffalo.
  • He rode a motorcycle through India, practically all of it–roads or not.
  • He learned to play the bagpipes, of which are mentioned at various points of his history. He took second place at a championship in 1938 and he also carried them into battle. Yes, he carried his bagpipes with him while charging into battle. Want something a little more impressive? He even played them while leading the charge into battle.
  • He was a newspaper editor.
  • He was a model.
  • He was a movie extra.
  • He was an excellent marksman with a long bow and represented Britain in the world championships in 1939.
  • He carried his bow and quiver with him too while charging into battle.
  • He carried a claybeg as well, the Scottish broadsword, of which he is legendary in using to not only lead attacks but it was sometimes the only weapon he carried with him! In one instance, he captured 42 German soldiers, fully geared, while brandishing only his sword.
  • He was responsible for the capture of hundreds of German POW’s, supplies, and ammunition.
  • He lead the UK Commandos in several missions against impossible odds that never should have succeeded, but did.
  • He was wounded a number of times, none of which slowed him down. These include wounds from stabbings, bullets, and explosions.
  • His enemies had the upmost respect for him.
  • He escaped POW camps, twice.

But those are just some of his exploits in WWII. If you’d like some more information about this fellow Lt. Col. “Mad Jack” Churchill, then check out the History Magazine article about him. To any history enthusiast, this is well worth the read. You can also find pictures and other information on his Wikipedia page here.

So I have to ask the question: why isn’t there a movie made about this guy’s life?

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Editor-in-Chief for The Daily Journal

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