Winston Churchill

(1874 – 1965)

Born at Blenheim Palace, Winston Spencer Churchill joined the British army and took part in the Battle of Omdurman (1898) in the Sudan. In 1900 he became Unionist member of Parliament for Oldham, but disagreeing with tariff reform, he joined the Liberal Party in 1904. As first lord of the admiralty, he was held responsible for the failure of the Dardanelles expedition during World War I and resigned from government in 1915. Churchill saw active service in 1916 before returning to government as minister of munitions.

In 1924 Churchill transferred his allegiance to the Conservative Party, representing Woodford, Epping, until 1964. As chancellor of the exchequer, he returned Britain to the gold standard, which led to the general strike of 1926. He resigned in 1931, opposing his party's policy of self-government for India. Churchill consistently opposed appeasement with Germany’s Adolf Hitler and challenged Neville Chamberlain's leadership in 1940, succeeding him as prime minister to become Britain's greatest wartime leader.

By Walter Richard Sickert (1860 – 1942)
Oil on canvas, 1927
National Portrait Gallery, London
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London