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30 Picked History Facts!


8. Who stormed fortified bunkers armed with a sword and won the day?

Colonel Jack Churchill with his Bagpipe


Lieutenant-Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming “Jack” Churchill, was a commando British Army officer who fought throughout the Second World War armed with a longbow, bagpipes, and a basket-hilted Scottish broadsword.

Nicknamed “Fighting Jack Churchill” and “Mad Jack”, he is known for the motto: “Any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed!” 

In December 1941, Mad Jack was second in command in a daring raid on the German garrison at Norway. As the ramps fell on the first landing craft, he leaped forward from his position playing “March of the Cameron Men” on his bagpipes, before throwing a grenade and charging into battle. 

For his unique bravery in Norway and before that in Dunkirk Fighting Jack received the Military Cross and Bar. He would later continue to earn more medals for distinguished service. 

After the drop of two atom bombs on Japan, the war suddenly ended. The disappointed combat-enthusiast Churchill who just finished his tour in Europe and was now eager to Fight the Japanese responded: “If it wasn’t for those damn Yanks, we could have kept the war going another 10 years!”

Bonus fact 1: Before WWII he worked as a newspaper editor and a male model. 

Bonus fact 2: He used his archery and bagpipe talents to play a small role in the film The Thief of Bagdad and in the A Yank at Oxford

Bonus Fact 3: He took second place in the 1938 military piping competition at the Aldershot Tattoo. Mind you, he was the sole Englishman competing against tens of born to pipe Scots   

Bonus Fact 4: In 1939 Jack Churchill represented Great Britain at the World Archery Championships in Oslo.


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