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One of Winston Churchill’s first books was titled The River War, which he published in 1899. The book documented his experiences as a young Lieutenant when he was, with the help of his influential mother, able secure a British Army commission with General Gordon in Khartoum, Sudan.

The leader of the 'dervishes' that were defeated in the 1896–1899 conflict was The Mahdi—Mohammed Ahmed ibn Abdallah—who led a jihadist uprising by the Ansar, as the Mahdi’s followers were known, against Turco-Egyptian rule in Sudan at the end of the 19th century.

At the annual International Churchill Conference held outside London in 2015, The Mahdi's grandson and current Mahdi, Imam Ahmed Abdel Rahman El Mahdi spoke passionately to the assembled group.

You can read a transcript of his remarks here. You can also watch his presentation below, along with the Q&A session that followed. 

by Douglas J. Hall

Eight of Finest Hour's nine articles nominating Churchill for Time magazine's designation as "Person of the Century," which concluded in the last number, were written by Americans, Canadians and an Australian. Churchill was British, why the discrepancy? For one thing, non-Britons tend to see the Churchill of the world's stage: statesman, sage, even saviour. In Britain he may be seen as all those things, and more, but invariably with some modification, arising from his record as a party politician. And, it must be said, that is where the water begins to get muddy.

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by Don C. Graeter

A basic understanding of the terminology and workings of the British Parliamentary System of Government is essential to an understanding of the long public life of Sir Winston Churchill. While the British system is democratic, it differs in significant respects from the American system.

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Douglas J. Hall

Published in Finest Hour 103
pp. 49-50

In a parliamentary career spanning sixty-four years Churchill represented five constituencies and served under thirteen Prime Ministers (Lord Salisbury, Balfour, Campbell-Bannerman, Asquith, Lloyd George, Bonar Law, Baldwin, MacDonald, Chamberlain, Attlee, Eden, Macmillan and Douglas-Home) -and, of course, his own Premierships, 1940-45 and 1951-55.

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Queen Victoria, 1837-1901
King Edward VII, 1901-1910
King George V, 1910-1936
King Edward VIII, 1936
King George VI, 1936-1952
Queen Elizabeth II, 1952-present

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Undersecretary of State for the Colonies
9 Dec 1905 - 24 Apr 1908. Chief assistant to the Colonial Secretary with responsibility for directing all colonial affairs worldwide. Since the Colonial Secretary at this time was Lord Elgin, Churchill was the nominal spokesman (much to Elgin's angst) on colonial matters in the Commons.

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By Prof. John Ramsden, Queen Mary & Westfield College

British Union of Fascists
Formed by Sir Oswald Mosley in 1932 after he had left both the Conservative and Labour Parties; a small fringe group that never won a parliamentary seat and whose violent activities were quickly stopped by the British Government in 1934-36. Mosley's later Union Movement (1948-1979) was even less successful.

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Compiled by Douglas Russell & Paul Courtenay


  1. 2nd Lieutenant, 4th Queen's Own Hussars, 20 Feb 1895.
  2. Lieutenant, 4th Queen's Own Hussars, 20 May 1896.
  3. Lieutenant, South African Light Horse, Jan 1900.
  4. Captain, Imperial Yeomanry, Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars, 4 Jan 1902.
  5. Major, Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars, 25 May 1905.
  6. Lieutenant-Colonel (temporary), QOOH, posted to 6th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, 5 January 1916.

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By Paul Courtenay

Mr. Courtenay is Hon. Secretary of ICS (UK); he is also a member of the (British) Heraldry Society.


Churchill ArmsThe Churchill coat-of-arms ought to be familiar enough to members. But how many understand what it is saying to us? In trying to answer this question, I cannot avoid giving an elementary Heraldry lesson; I should therefore apologise to those readers who already know a fair amount about the subject. Some of the terminology used is a little arcane so, rather than break up the narrative with frequent explanations, I have defined unfamiliar terms in a glossary at the end. By referring to this, and to the accompanying illustrations, it should be easy enough to follow the thread.

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