Winston Churchill Timeline

WINSTON CHURCHILL TIMELINE: How did Winston Churchill become the eloquent, iron-willed leader who refused to surrender?

This timeline looks at the early years of Churchill’s life, and his political rise. The story is continued at Winston Churchill World War II Timeline.

Has a lonely childhood

winston-churchill-timeline Winston Churchill as boy
(aged six).

1874, November 30 – Born Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill into an aristocratic family in Oxfordshire, England.

1875 – 1882 Churchill is neglected by his parents and instead forms a strong bond with his nanny, Mrs. Everest.

1888, April 17 – Churchill attends Harrow School where he starts his military career by joining the Harrow Rifle Corps.

1892 - Churchill almost kills himself by jumping from a bridge while being chased by his cousin and his brother.
Churchill fell 9m (29ft), was unconcsious for three days and couldn't walk for almost two months.

1893 – Churchill attends the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst and graduates near the top of his class the next year.

Early adventures

randolph-churchillRandolph Churchill

1895, January 24 – Churchill's father, Lord Randolph Churchill, dies.
Churchill travels to Cuba to observe the Spanish fight Cuban guerrillas and files reports about the conflict for the Daily Graphic newspaper.
He begins a life-long love affair with Cuban cigars.

1896 – Churchill is assigned to Bombay in British India. He fights against Pashtun tribes and files reports for English newspapers. His reports are compiled and published as Churchill's first book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force.

1898 – Churchill is transferred to Egypt and takes part in the British re-conquest of Sudan. He participates in one of the last British cavalry charges in history at the Battle of Omdurman.

winston-churchill-stampA stamp of Churchill
as a war correspondent
in South Africa, 1899.


1899, May 5 - Churchill resigns from the British Army intent on starting a political career.
Churchill goes by ship to South Africa to report on the Second Boer War. He was captured, but escaped and got a commission in the South African Light Horse.

1900 – Churchill returns to England and wins a seat in parliament with the Conservative Party.

1904 – Churchill crosses the floor and joins the Liberal Party.

1905 – Churchill is promoted to major in the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars. He writes and publishes Lord Randolph Churchill, a biography of his father.

Before the "Great War"

clementine-churchillClementine Churchill
in 1915.

1908, September 12 – Churchill marries Clementine Hozier with whom he has five children: Diana (1909-1963), Randolph (1911-1968), Sarah (1914-1982), Marigold (1918-1921) and Mary (1922-).

1909 – Churchill sets up a Labor Exchanges Act to help unemployed people find work.

1910 – Churchill is promoted to Home Secretary, responsible for British internal affairs.

1911 – Churchill becomes First Lord of the Admiralty.

World War I and rise to power

1914 – Churchill saves the cities of Calais and Dunkirk from German invasion after the outbreak of World War I.

1915-1916 – Churchill is demoted after the disastrous Gallipoli campaign which left thousands dead in Turkey, then the Ottoman Empire. Churchill later fights on the Western Front against the Germans.

1923 – After the war Churchill re-enters politics.

1924 – Churchill becomes Chancellor of the Exchequer and oversees a disastrous return to the Gold Standard, a system which fixed the price of money to gold and resulted in massive economic upheaval. Churchill regarded it as the biggest mistake of his life.

1925 – Churchill re-joins the Conservative Party after holding office as an independent.

gandhi-in-london-1931Gandhi in London,
1931. Churchill was
not a fan.

1931 – Churchill speaks out against an Indian independence movement lead by Mohandas Gandhi.

1931 – Churchill reaches a low point in his political career, estranged from the Conservative leadership.
He focuses on writing and pens Malborough: His Life and Times about one of his ancestors and A History of the English Speaking Peoples.

1932 – Churchill speaks out about the dangers of a re-arming and growing Germany.

1936, July – Churchill supports King Edward VIII during the king's abdication crisis , badly damaging his own reputation.

Written by C. Anderson, 2010. Last updated 2011.

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References for Winston Churchill Timeline

Please see the next page Winston Churchill World War II Timeline for references used in the whole text.

Photo sources for Winston Churchill Timeline

•Winston Churchill as a boy WikiCommons

• Randolph Churchill WikiCommons

• Winston Churchill South Africa stampwww.collectgbstamps.co.uk

• Clementine Churchill WikiCommons

• Ghandi in London WikiCommons

Unless otherwise stated, all photos used on the page Winston Churchill Timeline are, to our knowledge, in the public domain. If you think otherwise, please let us know.