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Quest launched to unlock treasure trove of Churchill’s Scottish connections

Winston Churchill (centre) as Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding the 6th Battalion.the Royal Scots Fusiliers.Near Ploegstreert, Belgium.
Winston Churchill (centre) as Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding the 6th Battalion.the Royal Scots Fusiliers.Near Ploegstreert, Belgium.

A new bid to unearth Winston Churchill’s Scottish connections and his relationship with the city of Dundee is under way.

Fellow former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has backed the effort to fill gaps in the record after the publication of new material dedicated to the statesman’s time north of the border.

An early photo of Churchill, on the right, in Dundee.

The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968, is among the first to collate and consider Churchill’s numerous but not always well-known connections to Scotland.

The latest edition of its journal, Finest Hour, is dedicated to Churchill and Scotland with a foreword by former Mr Brown.

Churchill was the Liberal MP for Dundee for 14 years. First elected in 1908, he returned to the seat four times before losing it to a Prohibitionist candidate in 1922.

The same year Churchill was elected to Dundee, he married Clementine Hozier, a granddaughter of the 10th Earl of Airlie.

He said the three most important things he received from Scotland were his wife, his constituency and his regiment.

Sir Winston Churchill in September 1954.

During the First World War, he commanded the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots 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 was Churchill’s adjutant, and Archibald Sinclair, a future leader of the Liberal Party, was his second-in-command.

Despite Churchill having 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 a portrait of him by Scots artist Sir James Guthrie hangs in Edinburgh’s National Portrait Gallery.

The ICS has now launched its appeal for new material with the aim of publishing a book on his time in Scotland.

Mr 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.”

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.”

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