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Forces War Records Blog



It is signed by Churchill and was written on the headed notepaper of his regiment, the 4th Hussars, in about 1898. Winston Churchill’s one and only effort at poetry as an adult is to go under the hammer for £15,000. The wartime leader was a brilliant speechwriter, prolific author and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature. Despite being a lover of poetry, only one other poem penned by the former PM has been found and he wrote that as a schoolboy. Now a 10 verse poem penned over two pages in blue crayon by Churchill while he was in the Army has emerged for sale at auction in London. It is signed by Churchill and was written on the headed notepaper of his regiment, the 4th Hussars, in about 1898. Two of the 10 verses of the work entitled ‘Our Modern Watchwords’ read: The shadow falls along the shore The search lights twinkle on the sea The silence of a mighty fleet Portends the tumult yet to be. The tables of the evening meal Are spread amid the great machines And thus with pride the question runs Among the sailors and marines Breathes there the man who fears to die For England, Home, & Wai-hai-wai. The poem makes reference to obscure cities under the rule of the British Empire like Wai-hai-wai - Weihai in China. Roy Davids, 70, a retired rare manuscript dealer from Great Haseley in Oxfordshire, said: “This is the only poem in Churchill’s handwriting as an adult. “There is one at Harrow School but that was one he wrote as a boy and it was for a competition. “I don’t think it’s a bad effort, it is quite competent. "It is quite rousing stuff and is an imperial celebratory poem that references cities that stretch the British Empire. “It is interesting that more than 50 years after the death of the most famous Englishman of the 20th century, we are still discovering new aspects of his life.” Allen Packwood, the director of the Churchill Archive Centre at Churchill College, Cambridge, said: “It is rare to find a piece of poetry by him as an adult. "I am not aware of any others that exist.” A spokesman for auctioneers Bonhams said: “The work certainly provides a fascinating extra insight into the life of one of the country’s greatest figures.” The poem has been given a conservative estimate of £15,000. It will be sold at auction on April 10. Source: Mirror News

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