Category Archives: Winston Churchill

The World Without Winston: Introduction

A few day’s ago my alma mater, The King’s College, held it’s graduation ceremony. I’d first like to congratulate the class of 2016!

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At King’s, seniors are required to submit a final project or paper before graduating. Can you guess what mine was on?

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If you guessed Winston Churchill congratulations, you’ve won absolutely nothing! Specifically my final paper tackled the question “what would have been the Second World War’s outcome without Churchill’s leadership?”

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Over the next few weeks I’ll post segments from my paper “The World Without Winston: How One Man’s Life Impacted the Second World War.” This introduction sets a fictional scene for my question and outlines the whole paper. Enjoy!

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“Mr. Churchill, for God’s sake keep still!” Lieutenant Francis Napier Clavering screamed at the former politician “you’re going to get yourself killed!” Ever since Winston Churchill arrived on the Western Front, joining the 6th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers ranks, Clavering had been exhausting himself keeping the old warhorse from death. “I admire Winston’s desires to redeem his honor lost because of Galipoli”[1] Clavering wrote in his journal “but lately his actions have simply seemed suicidal.”

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Churchill (center-sitting) with the 6th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers

Churchill was a man from a different era. His military experience–in his mind–was from a time when opponents fought with honor and respect. Churchill’s presence on the Western Front reflected a similar madness to Cervantes’s Don Quioxte, a man trying to live within a world long gone.

“Come Clavering, we’re going to survey no-mans-land” Winston declared. “We must push forward against the enemy!” “Sir, I don’t think we shou…” Clavering began before Winston stormed away to fetch supplies. Clavering begrudgingly followed suit.

Elbow deep in mud, Clavering was doing his best to keep up with Winston’s surprisingly quick pace. Winston, clad in specialty rubber boots and waterproof overalls, was able to efficiently maneuver through the harsh terrain of no-mans-land. “Sir…” Clavering began, taking a moment to catch his breath “can we rest for a bit?” With a loud gruff, Churchill replied, “Stop now! We have only just begun! Have courage and push for…” At that moment Winston’s powerful body collapsed and fell limp. Clavering scrambled over to check Winston’s pulse, only to discover he was dead.

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Anyone with basic knowledge of 20th century history knows that this did not happen. Winston Churchill lived through his time on the Western Front, going on to lead Great Britain through the Second World War and victory against Hitler. What would have happened if Winston had actually died during World War 1, before his moment of glory? The simple answer is utter chaos. No other politician had the specific set of experience and skills necessary to lead Great Britain through The Second World War.

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This series will be separated into three posts. The first will argue why, with Churchill gone, Lord Halifax would be chosen as Prime Minister. Post two will look into how Halifax would seek peace with Hitler before The Battle of Britain and it’s disastrous outcome. Finally the imminent spread of Hitler’s empire will be outlined.

 

[1] Churchill played a vital role as First Lord of the Admiralty in Great Britain’s failed Gallipoli Campaign of World War 1, costing the lives of over 250,000 soldiers.

Davidoff Cigars Winston Churchill Line Review: The Aristocrat

Recently Davidoff Cigars released a new line of blends inspired by Sir Winston Churchill. Davidoff’s official website describes the cigars “as complex as the man himself.”

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I teamed up with Charlie Freeman, my good friend and writer for Fine Tobacco NYC, in order to gain an expert opinion on one particular blend, The Aristocrat.

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Charlie came prepared sporting a brilliant Churchill bow tie

The reason I wanted Mr. Freeman’s opinion of The Aristocrat is because it is the only Churchill vitola (size) in Davidoff’s collection. Taking one look at the finely crafted cigar, Freeman described it’s wrapper (an Ecuadorian Rojiza) as “flawlessly constructed with no veins and smooth to the touch.”

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Once lit, Freeman described The Aristocrat’s draw as “superb with just enough resistance.” Though the ash was easily lost (something Churchill would not be a fan of) the cigars burn was “unusually even” producing fine, thick clouds of smoke.

Churchill would compete with his daughter Mary to see who could maintain a longer ash

Churchill would compete with his daughter Mary to see who could maintain the longest ash

Freeman had a high opinion of The Aristocrat’s slow burning smoke.

It is a rich smoke, being just strong enough to experience the fullness of it’s flavor without being overpowering but also smooth and creamy, having an excellent balance of dryness (from the Dominican filler) and wetness (from the Nicaraguan filler).

Freeman went on note it’s flavor as “toasty with elements of light wood, walnut and an unmistakable note of sugar.”

Overall, The Aristocrat is a fine cigar that does a brilliant job honoring the life and tastes of Sir Winston Churchill. Find the nearest provider of Davidoff cigars here to pick up your own cigar from their Winston Churchill collection!

Churchill’s 5 Favorite Drinks

Next to smoking cigars and wearing bow ties, Churchill was man who enjoyed a good drink. As his famous quote goes

My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them.

Here are his top 5 drinks.

1. Dry Martini

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Churchill’s version of a good martini was quality Plymouth Gin poured over a glass of ice. Vermouth was something he only enjoyed looking at while drinking his martini at the bar.

2. Claret

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A day would not pass in Winston’s life without a few glasses of claret. He would always have a healthy stock available at all times.

3. Whisky

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Surprising Churchill’s preferred brand of whisky was one easily available to most men, Johnny Walker Red Label. Winston’s method of drinking his whisky was just as odd as his brand choice. He would pour a little Johnny Walker into a glass and fill it with water. This habit came from Winston’s time in Egypt where the only two choices of drink was dirty water or dirty water with whiskey.

4. Brandy

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Unlike his taste in Whisky, Churchill’s taste in Brandy was nothing but high class including Hinel’Hertier de Jean Fremi-court,Prunier, and Ararat Cognac (a present from Stalin).

5. Champagne

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No post about Churchill and drinking would be complete without mentioning champagne. Like claret, Pol Roger champagne was a daily staple in his life. Churchill was so devoted to the brand that upon his death, Odette Pol Roger bordered all bottles black and released a special Winston Churchill line in 1984.

Thanks to The Telegraph for their helpful article! Check out their brilliant video of Harry Wallop’s attempt to drink like Churchill!

My Favorite Churchill Tales: Winston and the Bournemouth Bridge

How far would you go to win a friendly game of man hunt? Probably not as far as Winston Churchill. Even as a young man, he would never surrender.

A young Winston

A young Winston

When Winston was 18, he was spending his winter holiday from Harrow at his aunt Lady Wimborne’s  estate at Bournemouth. He described it as “forty or fifty acres of pine forest descended by sandy undulations terminating in cliffs to the smooth beach of the English Channel.”

Nice place

Nice place

One day Winston was playing with his younger brother and cousin in the woods. Soon they decided to chase Winston. A man who never took a challenge lightly, Winston began expertly maneuvering through the trees in an attempt to escape.

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After about twenty minutes, Winston found himself on an old, rustic bridge about 30 feet above the ground. He recounts the moment in his book My Early Life, “I saw to my consternation that the pursuers had divided their forces. One stood at each end of the bridge; capture seemed certain.”

The bridge at Bournemouth

The bridge at Bournemouth

Most of us would simply accept defeat and move on to another game, but Winston was too stubborn to quit that easily. Always quick on his feet, he soon concocted a plan.

But in a flash there came across me a great project. The chine which the bridge spanned was full of young fur trees. Their slender tops reached to the level of the footway. ‘Would it not,’ I asked myself, ‘be possible to leap on to one of them and slip down the pole-like stem, breaking off each tier of branches as one descended, until the fall was broken?’

Makes sense

Makes sense

With little time to spare Churchill had to make a decision. “To plunge or not to plunge, that was the question!” He decided to plunge. Three days later he regained consciousness.

God speed

God speed

Luckily after extensive therapy and Winston’s “will-to-live” he soon recovered.

What I love about this story is how it portrays Churchill’s raw potential as a young man and how it was molded into the great wartime leader he eventually became.

The Churchill Bow Tie: Where to Buy and How to Tie

The bow tie has always been a symbol of sophistication and class. From an Oscars after party to a royal ball at Buckingham Palace, one will always see the upper-crust of society sporting brilliant bow ties. Winston was no exception.

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You don’t get any more upper-crust than T-Swift

As a young man Churchill, like any other aristocrat, wore his fare share of bow ties when necessary. Later on in life though, he took on his signature blue and white dotted bow tie as a tribute to his father, Lord Randolph Churchill (who wore a similar styled bow tie).

A portrait of Lord Randolph Churchill, Winston's father

A portrait of Lord Randolph Churchill

Winston’s particular bow tie was crafted by renowned British craftsmen at Turnbull & Asser. For anyone interested in a more affordable product, I recommend looking into similar styles offered by Pinch & Pull Accessories and Ties.com.

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Now onto the hard stuff. When I first attempted tying a bow tie it felt akin to what I imagine defusing a bomb or conducting open heart surgery is like.

The struggle is real

The struggle is real

The best way to master this skill is to simply practice it over and over and over (did I mention and over) again. Below are 9 steps to tying bow tie (thanks to Details.com for their helpful gifs).

Step 1: Tie sizing

Before you start tying your bow tie you need to make sure it is set at the correct length. All you need to do is look at the back of the tie and slide the metal clasp into the slot that matches your collar size. Not all bow ties are created equal so you may need to have some ties set at different lengths in order to fit properly.

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Step 2: Tie Placement

Next you need to place the tie around your neck with the right side being about two inches lower the the left.

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Step 3: Cross Over

Now you need to cross the right (longer) side over the left (shorter) side.

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Step 4: Pull Behind

After crossing over, pull the right side back under the left side and though the hole at the top of your collar.

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Step 5: Fold

Take the left side and fold it horizontally behind the right side at the top.

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Step 6: Pinch

Now pinch both ends of the left side together so that they are pointing away from your chest.

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Step 7: Pull

The trickiest step of all, pull the right side up to the left of you collar and shove it in the middle through the ties hole.

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Step 8: Adjust

Put your index fingers through the looped pieces of clothe on each side while pulling the single pieces away from each other, creating a smaller knot in the center.

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Step 9: Look like a Grade A Gentleman

No explanation needed

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How to Smoke a Cigar Like Winston

442d6224-3d86-46ea-88e5-0b61cc3f8456To call Winston Churchill an avid cigar smoker does not begin to describe how pivotal these tobacco filled tubes were to him from 1895 until the day he died. Smoking cigars was as much a part of Churchill’s daily routine (8 to 10 a day) as eating three meals or bathing is to most people. His lifetime love of cigars (particularly Romeo y Julieta‘s) was so great that there is an official “Churchill” sized cigar.

Churchill's doctors were not a fan

Churchill’s doctors were not a fan

Churchill’s style of smoking cigars was just as unique as he was. First he would poke a hole in the end of it with an extra long match instead of using a cutter and would then blow through the cigar to check its draw.

Long match + cigar = happy smoker

Long match + cigar = happy smoker

After lighting his cigar, Churchill would not smoke it quickly. In fact, he preferred to let his cigars go out and chew on them for a while before re-lighting them.

"I sleep a little, and I smoke cigar after cigar." -Churchill

“I sleep a little, and I smoke cigar after cigar.” -Churchill

When it was time to dispose of his ashes he always had his favorite ash tray on hand which was made of silver and shaped like a pagoda.

What I imagine Churchill's ashtray looked like. Can't find an actual photo. If you have one, please post in comments below.

What I imagine Churchill’s ashtray looked like. Can’t find an actual photo. If you have one, please post in comments below.

One of Churchill’s most important rules was to smoke his cigars down to the last couple of inches (which would then be used as pipe tobacco by his gardener, Mr. Kearnes).

The cigar nub packs a spicy punch

The cigar nub packs a spicy punch

In short, Winston’s three main rules for smoking a cigar are:

1. punch a hole with a long match instead of using a cutter

2. take your time while smoking

3. smoke down to the very last inch

Happy smoking!

Happy smoking!

P.S. Thanks to Cigar Aficionado for their informative article!