The International Churchill Society is looking to examine Winston Churchill's associations with Scotland
A new project is looking to examine Winston Churchill’s associations with Scotland.
The official society studying the life and work of Winston Churchill has published an edition of its journal Finest Hour dedicated to Churchill and Scotland with a foreword by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
The society is also launching an appeal for more information about Churchill’s many associations with Scotland to enable further study about how the famous wartime Prime Minister and the Scottish people affected one another.
The International Churchill Society (ICS), the official Churchill society founded in 1968, is among the first to collate and consider Churchill’s numerous but not always well-known connections to Scotland.
Churchill said that the three most important things he received from Scotland were his wife, his constituency, and his regiment. During the First World War, he commanded the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scotts Fusiliers on the Western Front in 1916. His two leading officers were both future Scottish political leaders. Andrew Dewar Gibb, a founding member and subsequent leader of the SNP (1936–1940) was Churchill’s adjutant, and Archibald Sinclair, a future leader of the Liberal Party (1935–45), was his second-in-command. Both men are pictured above seated next to Churchill with the other officers of the battalion in May 1916.
Churchill was the Liberal MP for Dundee for 14 years. First elected in 1908, he was re-elected to the seat four times before finally losing (to a Prohibitionist candidate) in 1922. The same year Churchill was elected to Dundee, he married Clementine Hozier, a granddaughter of the tenth Earl of Airlie.
In 1912, Churchill was among the first senior British politicians to call for Scottish home rule and UK federalism. He received his first government appointment from Scottish Prime Minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman in 1906. He was close friends with the former Prime Minister Lord Rosebery, in his time a highly regarded Scottish politician.
Despite Churchill having had many other personal and professional connections with Scotland, there is little in the country today to mark his presence. Two plaques to his time in Dundee were erected in 2008, and there is an outstanding portrait of him by Scotland’s Sir James Guthrie in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. Otherwise, there are merely a handful of busts around the country including a miniature sculpture in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum.
The International Churchill Society is launching a fresh appeal for new stories, facts, photos, and diaries about Churchill’s time in Scotland to expand the field of study further. The team is looking to publish a book in the coming year.
Gordon Brown said: “So much has been written about every aspect of Winston Churchill’s life that it is surprising that one important area - his relationship with Scotland - has commanded so little attention.
“That is why this set of essays in Finest Hour must start to rectify this and rescues Churchill’s Scottish connections from the condescension of posterity.”
David Freeman, the editor of Finest Hour, said: “It’s so rare to find something new to say about Churchill and lo and behold it was right in front of us. There’s a compelling case that England’s greatest Englishman should also be a celebrated hero in Scotland.
“The connections are innumerable and substantial, and we’re thrilled to be among the first to bring these together formally. Finest Hour, our subscription magazine, is free to view this month to kick start this conversation. If you’re sitting with old photos or other memorabilia from one of his many trips to Scotland, please get in touch.”
Allen Packwood, director of the Churchill Archives, said: “Churchill is often thought of and referred to as a quintessentially English figure, but this overlooks a multitude of Scottish connections. I am certain that there is new material awaiting discovery in attics and basements that will shed more light on his reception, connections and activities in Scotland.
“We’re delighted to start that process with our dedicated team of academics and enthusiasts, and this is a conversation that we’re delighted to begin with Scotland and, indeed, the world.”
Get in touch at Scotland@winstonchurchill.org if you would like to learn more or have information on Churchill and Scotland you would like to share.