Person NameChurchill; Sir; Winston Leonard (1874-1965); politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Chairman of the Imperial War Graves Commission
ForenamesWinston Leonard
Epithetpolitician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Chairman of the Imperial War Graves Commission
SourceCWGC Archive, CM 3/1/147, COMMISSION MEETING NO. 478, 18/03/1965; Commonwealth War Graves Commission, ‘Sir Fabian Ware: Founder of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’, (Date accessed: 21/04/2017); Philip Longworth, The Unending Vigil, (London: Constable & Company Ltd., 1967); "Dod's Peerage, 1918", (London: Butler and Tanner, 1918)
Biographical NoteSir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill KG OM CH TD PC PCc DL FRS RA was a British politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940-1945, and again from 1951-1955. From 1919-1921, Sir Winston Churchill was the Commission’s Chairman and then was a Member of the Commission from 1921-1922.

Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was born on 30 November 1874.

He was educated at Harrow and Royal Military College, Sandhurst. On 12 September 1908, he married Clementine, daughter of the late Sir Henry Montague.

In January 1919, Churchill expressed his view in support of the preservation of the ruins of Ypres as a memorial to the war dead but this scheme was rejected by the local citizens. In 1920, as Secretary of State for War and Air, and Chairman of Commons, it had fallen to Churchill to defend the Commission’s policy in the House of Commons from those who were opposed to it and wished relatives of the fallen to have greater freedom of choice. Churchill, with convincing clarity and skill, explained that equality of sacrifice deserved equality of commemoration, and that the magnitude of the Commission’s task demanded uniformity of treatment for it to be accomplished with in a lifetime. Churchill was credited with winning the universal approval and confidence of the peoples of the Commonwealth in the Commission’s work.

In late 1940, Churchill provided approval for the Commission to commemorate the civilians who had been killed during the Second World War as a result of enemy action. The subsequent rolls of honour were not published during the war for fear of the adverse impact it would have had on morale, with the number of civilian deaths possibly exceeding that of military deaths.

Sir Winston Churchill died on 24 January 1965, aged 90.

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