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History's greatest Englishman Winston Churchill was really 'a Scot'

Daily Record logoDaily Record 28/11/2020 Stephen Stewart

History’s greatest Englishman Winston Churchill was actually an adopted Scot, according to his family.

Randolph Churchill, the legendary Prime Minister’s great-grandson, revealed that the Tory wartime PM loved Scotland and the Scots and was ironically best pals with the SNP ’s founding father.

The historic leader commanded the Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1916 where he forged close bonds with the founding father of the Scottish independence movement - Andrew Dewar Gibb - who went on to become a leader of the SNP.

Randolph has launched an appeal for more information about his forebear’s links to Scotland.

He said: “He not only had great-admiration for Scotland but considered many Scots among his friends. The Churchill family is delighted that efforts are being made to bring together my great-grandfather’s relationship with Scotland.

“Churchill had immense respect for the men under his command in World War One. This story is one of the many about Scotland that has perhaps fallen out of public knowledge. Whatever the political debates of today, they have no bearing on an objective view of history.”

He appealed for anyone with more information to come forward to help show Churchill - traditionally seen as the quintessential Englishman - had a lifelong connection to Scotland.

He added: “My great-grandfather had a plethora of connections to Scotland, her politicians, her institutions and her people. He was quite correct when he said he owed Scotland his wife, his constituency and his regiment.

“The International Churchill Society is rightly trying to draw attention to this, and we all encourage anyone with diaries, or photos or information, perhaps sitting in attics, to share these to expand the research further.”

In 1916, Winston Churchill commanded the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1916. He was a Lieutenant Colonel and serving as his adjutant was Major Andrew Dewar Gibb, then a captain, who went on to become a founder and leader of the SNP.

Dewar Gibb wrote of his fondness for Churchill. He said: “I am firmly convinced that no more popular officer ever commanded troops. As a soldier he was hard working, persevering and thorough. He is a man who is apparently always to have enemies.

a person wearing a hat: Churchill in 1940 at St Andrews train station © Reach Churchill in 1940 at St Andrews train station

“He made none in his old regiment, but left behind him there, men who will always be his loyal partisans and admirers, and who are proud of having served in the Great War under the leadership of one who is beyond question a great man.”

Dewar Gibb’s son Nigel said: “I very much welcome efforts to remember this important chapter in the lives of both Winston Churchill and my father, Andrew Dewar Gibb.

“My father was very proud to have served with Churchill and prouder still of his country. My family and I are delighted at efforts to bring this chapter to the fore of people’s minds.

“I hope it will serve as a starting gun for more discussion about Churchill’s connections to Scotland, as well as a happy remembrance of my father’s lifetime commitment to Scottish public life.”

The official society studying the life and work of Winston Churchill recently published an edition of its journal Finest Hour dedicated to Churchill and Scotland with a foreword by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Churchill was the Liberal MP for Dundee for fourteen years. First elected in 1908, he was re-elected to the seat four times before finally losing 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.

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