Winston Churchill - Military Service

Military Service

After Churchill left Harrow in 1893, he applied to attend the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He tried three times before passing the entrance exam; he applied for cavalry rather than infantry because the grade requirement was lower and did not require him to learn mathematics, which he disliked. He graduated eighth out of a class of 150 in December 1894, and although he could now have transferred to an infantry regiment as his father had wished, chose to remain with the cavalry and was commissioned as a Cornet (Second Lieutenant) in the 4th Queen's Own Hussars on 20 February 1895. In 1941, he received the honour of being appointed Regimental Colonel of the 4th Hussars, an honour which was increased after the Second World War when he was appointed as Colonel-in-Chief; a privilege usually reserved for royalty.

Churchill's pay as a second lieutenant in the 4th Hussars was £300 annually. However, he believed that he needed at least a further £500 (equivalent to £25,000 in 2001 terms) to support a style of life equal to that of other officers of the regiment. His mother provided an allowance of £400 per year, but this was repeatedly overspent. According to biographer Roy Jenkins, this is one reason he took an interest in war correspondence. He did not intend to follow a conventional career of promotion through army ranks, but rather to seek out all possible chances of military action, using his mother's and family influence in high society to arrange postings to active campaigns. His writings brought him to the attention of the public, and earned him significant additional income. He acted as a war correspondent for several London newspapers and wrote his own books about the campaigns.

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