Like his famous grandfather, Winston S. Churchill considered courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because "it is the quality which guarantees all others."
Churchill died Tuesday at home in London after a courageous, two-year battle against pancreatic cancer that had ravaged his once athletic build but never deprived him of his sense of humor on the phone with his many friends on four continents.
This reporter first met young Winston during the 1960 Congo crisis where a country one-third the size of the United States suddenly became independent from Belgian rule. He was about to turn 21.
The utter bloody chaos that ensued reminded us that our two grandfathers had fought side by side in the Battle of Omdurman against Whirling Dervishes outside Khartoum.
Reporting for The Times and later the Daily Telegraph, young Winston (born at Chequers, the prime minister's official country residence, in 1940 as British air force fighter pilots won the Battle of Britain) was a fearless war correspondent, ducking spears, arrows and muzzle-loading muskets.
Seven years later, Winston, a war correspondent like his grandfather, made it into Israel the day before the Six Day War started June 5, 1967. We crossed paths during the first two days of fighting in Gaza, then on Days 4 and 5 in the West Bank between Jenin and Nablus as Israeli tanks linked up with an armored column driving north from Jerusalem.
And finally, on Day 6, we had front-row seats as Israeli soldiers fought their way up the Golan Heights where they defeated the Syrians. Fearless under fire, with complete disregard for his safety, Churchill kept scribbling notes for the piece he had to file that night to make his Sunday paper in London.
We crossed paths in many more wars — Biafra, Yemen, Angola, Vietnam.
There was no doubt in this reporter's mind he was a chip off the old block. So much so he decided to "chuck journalism," run for Parliament, and warn, like his grandfather against appeasing Hitler, against appeasing the men in the Kremlin. Educated at Eton and Oxford (Christ Church), he was elected to Parliament in 1970, where he remained a conservative MP until 1997.
Churchill the younger was much in demand on the lecture circuit all over the world. At times, Churchillian rhetoric became indistinguishable between the two WSCs. He knew hundreds of his grandfather's famous sayings by heart.
One of the evergreen descriptions of capitalism and socialism originally came from the elder: "The vice of capitalism is that it stands for the unequal sharing of blessings; whereas the virtue of socialism is that it stands for the equal sharing of misery."
WSC leaves four children from his first wife. His father, Randolph, was Churchill the elder's only son. He married a society beauty who later became Pamela Harriman, whose Washington political salon attracted the capital's liberal elite. His second wife of 14 years, Luce, a Belgian, nursed him at home in the final stages of his life.
His passion was for the 20th century's four most prominent political leaders (FDR, Churchill, Stalin and Hitler). And his book "Never Give In!" (2003) one of seven he wrote, was a carefully edited "Best of Winston Churchill's Speeches."
World War II's Winston Churchill said of his father, Randolph Churchill that he was of the temper that gallops until it falls. The same could be said about his grandson, dead at 69.
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