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War Correspondent

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In 1899, Winston Churchill headed to South Africa as a newspaper correspondent for the Morning Post to cover the Boer War between British and Dutch settlers. Unfortunately, he was present at an ambush of an armored train and captured by enemy Boer soldiers. On November 18, 1899, Churchill along with the other prisoners arrived in Pretoria at the prison called the State Model Schools. On the night of December 12th, when the prison guards turned their backs on Churchill, he took the opportunity to climb over the prison wall. Wearing a brown flannel suit with £75 (the equivalent of $375) and four slabs of chocolate in his pocket, Churchill walked on leisurely through the night in hopes of finding the Delagoa Bay Railway. So began his great escape and journey to freedom.

Churchill jumped onto a train and hid among soft sacks covered in coal dust. Leaving the train before daybreak, Churchill continued on his escape. With luck, Winston Churchill happened upon the home of Mr. John Howard, manager of the Transvaal Collieries. Upon knocking on his door, Mr. Howard’s response to Winston Churchill plea for help was “Thank God you have come here! It is the only house for twenty miles where you would not have been handed over. But we are all British here, and we will see you through.”

Mr. Howard first hid Churchill in a coal mine then transported him to safety by having Churchill squeeze into a hole at the end of a train car loaded with bales of wool.

Upon reaching Durban, South Africa, Winston Churchill found himself a hero.