Gary Oldman wins big at The Oscars for his portrayal of Sir Winston Churchill: Here’s 10 things you may not have known…

Gary Oldman is well known for his many roles in movies such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Harry Potter as well as Batman and many more. He recently took on his recent role as Britain’s legendary Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in the Oscar winning film ‘Darkest hour’. Sir Winston Churchill was one of the influential leaders that lead Britain through World War 2, here are 10 things you may now have know about Britain’s fierce leader.

10 Churchill Facts you may not have known:

Churchill – The Cigar

1)      Churchill was very well known for smoking Cigars. So much so that he had a Cuban cigar named after him. The ‘Churchill Cigar’ is around 17.5 centimeters in length and approximately 18mm in width- It is noted that this is not for the ‘novice smoker’ lasting around 1-1.5 hours to smoke. (Agreeably only for the experienced cigar lover)

Churchill – The Prisoner 

2)      Churchill was once a prisoner of war. While working as a reporter traveling through South Africa his train was ambushed by Boer soldiers. Throwing himself from the train hiding in a ditch Churchill was discovered by a Boer soldier and surrendered. The Boer soldier happened to be Louis Botha who later became the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa and actually worked with Churchill later in his career.

Churchill – The Author

3)      Churchill aside from being a leader was in fact an award winning author. Writing around 20 books during his life with a variety of subjects such as his early war years in South Africa, a controversial biography of his father (The first Duke of Marlborough) as well as numerous books on both world wars. Churchill was so renowned that he later received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values” (The Nobel Foundation, 1953)

Churchill – Voted Out

4)      Churchill was voted out of office in 1945 after Germany had waved the white flag and surrendered during Britain’s first general election in 10 years. Churchill, a conservative, lost to the Labour party. However he was not bitter about this he merely exclaimed “That is democracy, what we have been fighting for”.

Churchill – The Brutal Side

5)      During a burglary in 1911 Churchill, home secretary, visited the scene in east London. By the time Churchill arrived on scene it was flooded with police officers (Six hours into the siege). The 2 burglars held up in a house which caught fire. Churchill blocked the fire services putting out the fire which led to the burglars meeting a fiery end, “I thought it better to let the house burn down rather than spend good British lives in rescuing those ferocious rascals,” he later went on to say. – This is one of the stories that gave Churchill his well known Blunt approach.

Churchill – The Artist

6)      Churchill, the painter.- Later in life Churchill discovered a passion for Art. Creating over 600 paintings. It was his way of escaping from the pressures of politics and the war to express his emotions in a different form. – Much of his art can be found in the Churchill Museum

Churchill – The ‘Lion’

7)   The iconic image of Churchill that appears on the new banknote was taken in 1941 by Yousuf Karsh who was given just two minutes to photograph the Prime Minister.  After repeatedly asking him to put down the cigar he was smoking, Karsh stepped forward, pulled it from his mouth and immediately took the picture.  The photographer later recalled that his subject “looked so belligerent he could have devoured me”.  Later Churchill congratulated Karsh saying, “You can even make a roaring lion stand still to be photographed.”

Churchill – The Fashion Icon?

8)      Churchill during his leisure time was known for wearing an infamous one piece suit. Infact it is said that during a secret Christmas visit to the White House in 1941 the white house staff had to get used to Churchill’s eccentricities. Chief Usher J.B West explained “We got used to his ‘jumpsuit,’ the extraordinary one-piece uniform he wore every day, but the servants never quite got over seeing him naked in his room when they’d go up to serve brandy”. The famous one-piece suit is currently on display at Blenheim Palace.

 

Photo From: By Morris (Sgt), War Office official photographer

Churchill – The Founder of Text Speak?

9)      One of the first recorded uses of the abbreviation OMG (Oh My God!) was actually written in a letter to Churchill.

Photo By: Shaun Usher

Churchill – Remembered

10)      Following the death of Sir Winston Churchill on 24th January 1965, the Queen approved the production of a crown to honour his memory.  This was the first coin issued in the United Kingdom to feature the head of a non-royal on one side and the monarch on the other.

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