Summer 1895 (Age 20)

Winston rushes to the bedside of his beloved Mrs Everest

While at Aldershot, serving with the 4th Hussars, Winston learned of the final illness of Mrs Everest, his beloved “Woom.” He rushed to London and engaged a nurse to tend to her. He could not save her but he was sure that his presence eased her final pain.

The Regiment was his home and he was grateful that he was readily accepted: “I have a great many friends and I know my ground — I don’t think anybody realizes who does not know — how important a day in one’s life is the day one first joins a regiment. If you aren’t liked you have to go and that means going through life with a very unpleasant stigma.”

He loved the cavalry, particularly what he later called “that greatest of all cavalry events—the Charge.” He lamented its loss to war waged by “chemists in spectacles and chauffeurs pulling the levers of aeroplanes or machine guns.” But when he was at Aldershot “The Dragoon, the Lancer and above all, as we believed, the Hussar still claimed their time-honoured place upon the battlefield. War, which used to be cruel and magnificent, has now become cruel and squalid. In fact it has been completely spoilt. It is all the fault of Democracy and Science.”

His principal amusement was polo but he was also a perceptive observer of the political scene. His comments to his mother show a precocious political development.

Looking into his own future he saw politics, not the army. “It is a fine game to play — the game of politics and it is well worth waiting for a good hand before really plunging. At any rate — four years of healthy and pleasant existence — combined with both responsibility and discipline — can do no harm to me — but rather good. The more I see of soldiering the more I like it — but the more I feel convinced that it is not my metier.”

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