London, Apr.19 (ANI): Even as a schoolboy, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965) yearned for the thrill of battle.
His playroom in the Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire resembled a field of war with troops ready for action.
"There was a plank table on trestles, on which were thousands of lead soldiers arranged for battle," recalled his cousin Clare Sheridan.
"He organised wars. The lead battalions were maneuvered into action, peas and pebbles committed great casualties, forts were stormed, cavalry charged, bridges were destroyed and real water tanks engulfed by advancing foes. It was a most impressive show and played with an interest that was no ordinary child's game," News of the World quoted Sheridan as saying further.
During his army career in the 1890s and the early part of the 20th century, Churchill saw action in India, in the Sudan and the Second Boer War. He gained fame and notoriety as a war correspondent and through contemporary books he wrote describing the campaigns. He also served briefly in the British Army on the Western Front in World War I, commanding the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers.
And during his over 50 years of political life, he served as First Lord of the Admiralty, Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air.
And who was the foe that had so fired up the blood of this eight-year-old generalissimo?
With a stern expression on his face young Winston would say: "They are the enemies of England!"
Churchill was a man of rare contradiction - a man with an abhorrence of war but a passion for soldiering.
It was that fierce spirit that lay behind his unwavering - and largely ignored - warnings in the Thirties that Britain must re-arm to prepare for inevitable war with Nazi Germany. (ANI)