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10th November 1942: Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965) giving the \"V for Victory\" salute Getty

The UK is marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill, regarded by many as one of the greatest Britons of all time.

Churchill is best known for his leadership during the Second World War and his stubborn resistance to the Nazi juggernaut.

As one of Britain's most influential orators, his speeches rallied a nation during one of history's darkest times. Away from politics, however, Churchill was a keen painter, writer and historian.

Half a century after Churchill's death, IBTimes UK looks at the former prime minister's most memorable quotes and facts about his life.

British statesman Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965) puts pen to paper, 1936 Getty

Honorary United States citizenship

In 1963, Churchill was the first foreign national to be made an honorary citizen of the United States. Winston Churchill Day is celebrated annually on 9 April, marking the date when he was granted citizenship in eight individual states as a prelude to full citizenship, including in West Virginia, Maryland and New Hampshire.

American roots

Churchill's mother was American. Lord Randolph Churchill, the son of the seventh Duke of Marlborough, married Jennie Jerome, the Brooklyn-born daughter of an affluent financier. The couple had two children, Winston in 1874, and Jack in 1880.


Churchill was a prolific painter and produced nearly 600 works of art during his lifetime. Sarah Thomas of Sotheby's told the BBC that he took up painting later in life, as "relief from all the pressures of his work". Yet according to Thomas, some paintings were "pretty poor and amateur and full of splodges".

Chart hit

In 1965, Churchill became the first prime minister to enter the album chart posthumously with The Voice Of. In October 2010, he entered the charts for a second time with a record marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain called Reach for the Skies, by the RAF's Central Band.

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26 November 1964: An official portrait of Sir Winston Churchill, taken to commemorate his 80th birthday in the cabinet room at No 10 Downing Street, London Getty

Prisoner of War

Churchill escaped a prisoner of war camp after he had been captured while working as a correspondent in South Africa during the Boer War in 1899. He had been captive for four weeks before he jumped over a wall into a neighbouring property.

With a bounty of £25 on his head, Churchill hitched rides on trains towards Lourenco Marques. Eventually, he contacted the British consul and established his identity.

First World War failure

Churchill's political career began in 1900 when he was elected to Parliament. By 1911, he had advanced to become First Lord of the Admiralty.

In this position, he prepared a naval assault during the First World War against the Ottoman Empire, which he believed would allow the British to link with their Russian allies, putting pressure on Germany's eastern front and potentially tip the balance of the conflict.

In March 1915, however, Ottoman fire sank three Allied battleships and damaged three others – leaving the rest to retreat.

Nobel Prize

Churchill won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953, beating E.M Forster and Ernest Hemingway. The Nobel committee considered Churchill several times after the end of the Second World War, but the area of historical writing gained little support.