Sir Winston (Leonard Spencer) Churchill Biography (1874–1965) British statesman, prime minister (1940–5, 1951–5), and author, born in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, SC England, UK, the eldest son of Randolph Churchill. He trained at Sandhurst Military Academy, and was gazetted to the 4th Hussars in 1895. His army career included fighting at Omdurman (1898) with the Nile Expeditionary Force. During the second Boer War he acted as a London newspaper correspondent. Initially a Conservative MP (1900), he joined the Liberals in 1904, and was colonial under-secretary (1905), President of the Board of Trade (1908), home secretary (1910), and First Lord of the Admiralty (1911). In 1915 he was made the scapegoat for the Dardanelles disaster, but in 1917 became minister of munitions. After World War 1 he was secretary of state for war and air (1919–21), and - as a ‘Constitutionalist’ supporter of the Conservatives - Chancellor of the Exchequer (1924–9). In 1929 he returned to the Conservative fold, but remained out of step with the leadership until World War 2, when he returned to the Admiralty; then, on Chamberlain's defeat (May 1940), he formed a coalition government, holding both the premiership and the defence portfolio, and leading Britain through the war against Germany, Italy, and Japan with steely resolution. Defeated in the July 1945 election, he became a pugnacious Leader of the Opposition. In 1951 he was prime minister again, and after 1955 remained a venerated backbencher. In his last years, he was often described as ‘the greatest living Englishman’.