Honours of Winston Churchill
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Perhaps the highest of these was the state funeral held at St Paul's Cathedral, after his body had lain in state for three days in Westminster Hall, an honour rarely granted to anyone other than a British monarch or consort. The funeral also saw one of the largest assemblages of statesmen in the world.
Throughout his life, Churchill also accumulated other honours and awards. He was awarded 37 other orders and medals between 1885 and 1964. Of the orders, decorations and medals Churchill received, 20 were awarded by the United Kingdom, three by France, two each by Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain, and one each by the Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Libya, Nepal, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States. Ten were awarded for active service as a British Army officer in Cuba, India, Egypt, South Africa, the United Kingdom, France, and Belgium. The greater number of awards were given in recognition of his service as a minister of the British government.
- 1 Coat of arms
- 2 Honorary citizen
- 3 Proposed dukedom
- 4 Other honours
- 5 Namesakes
- 6 Polls
- 7 Buildings, highways, statues and geographic features
- 8 Orders, decorations and medals
- 9 Academic
- 10 Honorary degrees
- 11 Military ranks and titles
- 12 Political and government offices
- 13 Other distinctions
- 14 Membership in lineage societies
- 15 Freedom of the City
- 16 Sources
Coat of arms
Churchill was not a peer, never held a title of nobility, and remained a commoner all his life. As the grandson of 7th Duke of Marlborough, he bore the quartered coat of arms of the Spencer and Churchill families. Paul Courtenay observes that "It would be normal in these circumstances for the paternal arms (Spencer) to take precedence over the maternal (Churchill), but because the Marlborough dukedom was senior to the Sunderland earldom, the procedure was reversed in this case." In 1817 an augmentation of honour was granted commemorating the victory of Blenheim by the 1st Duke.
As Churchill's father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was the surviving second son of the 7th Duke of Marlborough, his arms should have been differenced, by strict heraldic rules, with a mark of cadency. Traditionally, this would have been a heraldic crescent. Those differenced arms would have been inherited by Winston Churchill. This never seems to have been used by Lord Randolph or Winston. As arms are used to differentiate two bearers, there doesn't seem to have been any confusion between Churchill's arms as a gentleman with many decorations and later Knight of the Garter, those of his brother as a plain gentleman, and his cousin, the Duke of Marlborough, which were adorned with the insignia of a duke. As a Knight of the Garter, Churchill was also entitled to supporters in his achievement. But, he never seems to have got around to applying for them.
The resulting heraldic achievement is: quarterly 1st and 4th, Sable a lion rampant Argent on a canton of the second a cross Gules (Churchill); 2nd and 3rd, quarterly Argent and Gules, in the second and third quarters a fret Or, over all on a bend Sable three escallops of the first (Spencer); in chief, on an escutcheon Argent a cross Gules surmounted by an inescutcheon Azure charged with three fleurs-de-lys Or.
When he became a Knight of the Garter in 1953, his arms were encircled by the garter of the order, and at the same time the helms were made open, which is the mark of a knight. His motto was that of the Dukes of Marlborough, Fiel pero desdichado (Spanish for "Faithful but unfortunate").
On 9 April 1963, United States President John F. Kennedy, acting under authorization granted by an Act of Congress, proclaimed Churchill the first honorary citizen of the United States. Churchill was physically incapable of attending the White House ceremony, so his son and grandson accepted the award for him.
In 1955, after retiring as Prime Minister, Churchill was offered elevation to the peerage in the rank of duke. By custom, Prime Ministers retiring from the Commons were usually offered earldoms, so the dukedom was a sign of special honour. One title that was considered was Duke of London, a city whose name had never been used in a peerage title. Churchill had represented divisions of three different counties in Parliament, and his home, Chartwell, was in a fourth, so the city in which he had spent most of his time during fifty years in politics was seen as a suitable choice. Since 1900, only members of the British royal family have been made dukes, so the offer was exceptional.
Churchill considered accepting the offer of a dukedom but eventually declined it; the lifestyle of a duke would have been expensive, and accepting any peerage might have cut short a renewed career in the Commons for his son Randolph and in due course might also prevent one for his grandson Winston. (At the time there was no procedure for disclaiming a title; the procedure was first established by the Peerage Act 1963. Upon inheriting a peerage, either Randolph or Winston would immediately be unseated from the House of Commons.) In the event, Randolph never sat in Parliament after losing his first and only seat there in 1945 and indeed was to die only three years after his father, so the dukedom would have had no effect on his career. Randolph's oldest son Winston did serve in the Commons from 1970 until 1997, but by that time provision existed for disclaiming a hereditary peerage.
On 4 April 1939, Churchill was made an Honorary Air Commodore of No. 615 (County of Surrey) Squadron ("Churchill's Own") in the Auxiliary Air Force. In March 1943, the Air Council awarded Churchill honorary wings. He retained the appointment until 11 March 1957 when 615 Squadron was disbanded. He did however continue to hold the rank of Honorary Air Commodore. He frequently wore his uniform as an Air Commodore during World War II.
He was the Colonel in Chief of the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (his old regiment) and after its amalgamation, the first Colonel in Chief of the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars which he held until his death in 1965. He was also Colonel in Chief of the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars.
From 1941 to his death, he was the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, a ceremonial office. In 1941 Canadian Governor General Alexander Cambridge, Earl of Athlone, swore him into the King's Privy Council for Canada. Although this allowed him to use the honorific title The Honourable and the post-nominal letters PC, both of these were trumped by his membership in the Imperial Privy Council which allowed him the use of The Right Honourable. He was also appointed Grand Seigneur of the Hudson's Bay Company in December 1955.
In 1945, he was mentioned by Halvdan Koht among seven candidates that were qualified for the Nobel Peace Prize. However, he did not explicitly nominate any of them. Actually he nominated Cordell Hull.
In 1953, he was awarded two major honours: he was invested as a Knight of the Garter (becoming Sir Winston Churchill, KG) and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values".
In 1956, Churchill received the Karlspreis (known in English as the Charlemagne Award), an award by the German city of Aachen to those who most contribute to the European idea, and European peace.
When Churchill was 88 he was asked by the Duke of Edinburgh how he would like to be remembered. He replied with a scholarship like the Rhodes scholarship but for the wider masses. After his death, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established in the United Kingdom and Australia. A Churchill Trust Memorial Day was held in Australia, raising A$4.3 million. Since that time the Churchill Trust in Australia has supported over 3,000 scholarship recipients in a diverse variety of fields, where merit, either on the basis of past experience, or potential, and the propensity to contribute to the community have been the only criteria.
One of four specially made sets of false teeth, designed to retain Churchill's distinctive style of speech, which Churchill wore throughout his life, is now kept in the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
On 10 March 2001, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81) was commissioned into the United States Navy. The launch and christening of the ship two years earlier was co-sponsored by Churchill's daughter, Lady Soames.
In addition, the Danish DFDS line named a car ferry Winston Churchill and The Corporation of Trinity House named one of their lighthouse tenders similarly. A sail training ship was named Sir Winston Churchill.
In September 1947, the Southern Railway named a Battle of Britain class steam locomotive No. 21C151 after him. Churchill was offered the opportunity to perform the naming ceremony, but he declined. The locomotive was later used to pull his funeral train, and is now preserved in the National Railway Museum, York.
Pol Roger's prestige cuvée Champagne, Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, is named after him. The first vintage, 1975, was launched in 1984 at Blenheim Palace. The name was accepted by his heirs as Churchill was a faithful customer of Pol Roger. Following Churchill's death in 1965, Pol Roger added a black border to the label on bottles shipped to the UK as a sign of mourning. This was not lifted until 1990.
The Churchill Park (Danish: Churchillparken) located in central Copenhagen, Denmark, is name after Churchill in commemoration of Churchill and the British help to Denmark in the liberation of Denmark during World War II.
Churchill has been included in numerous polls, mostly connected with greatness. Time named him its Man of the Year for 1940, and "Man of the Half-Century" in 1949. A BBC survey, of January 2000, saw Churchill voted the greatest British prime minister of the 20th century. In 2002, BBC TV viewers and web site users voted him the greatest Briton of all time in a ten-part series called Great Britons, a poll attracting almost two million votes.
Buildings, highways, statues and geographic features
Many statues have been created in likeness and in honour of Churchill. Numerous buildings and squares have also been named in his honour. The most prominent example of a statue of Churchill is the official statue commissioned by the government and created by Ivor Roberts-Jones which now stands in Parliament Square. It was unveiled by Churchill's widow, Lady Churchill, on 1 November 1973, and was Grade II listed in 2008. Another Roberts-Jones statue of Churchill displaying the V sign is prominently placed in New Orleans (1977). In addition several other statues have also been made, including a bronze bust of Winston Churchill by Jacob Epstein (1947), several statues by David McFall at Woodford (1959), William McVey outside the British embassy in Washington, D.C. (1966), Franta Belsky at Fulton, Missouri (1969), at least three from Oscar Nemon: one on the front lawn of the Halifax Public Library branch on Spring Garden Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia (1980); one in the British House of Commons (1969); a bust of his head along with that of Franklin Roosevelt commemorating the Quebec Conference, 1943 next to Port St. Louis in Quebec City (1998); and one in Nathan Phillips Square outside of Toronto City Hall (1977), and Jean Cardot beside the Petit Palais in Paris (1998). A statue of Churchill and Roosevelt, sculpted by Lawrence Holofcener is located in New Bond Street, London.
After Churchill was declared the greatest Briton of all time in the BBC poll and television series Great Britons (see above), a statue was erected in his honour and now stands at the BBC television studios. Churchill is also memorialised by many statues and a public square in New York, in recognition of his life, and also because his mother was from New York. His maternal family is also memorialised in streets, parks, and neighbourhoods throughout the city.
The national and Commonwealth memorial to Churchill is Churchill College, Cambridge, which was founded in 1958 and opened in 1960. It is also home to the Churchill Archives Centre, which holds the papers of Sir Winston Churchill and over 570 collections of personal papers and archives documenting the history of the Churchill era and after.
Many schools have been named after him:
Ten schools in Canada are named in his honour: one each in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Kingston, St. Catharines, Lethbridge, Calgary, Toronto (Scarborough) and Ottawa. Churchill Auditorium at the Technion is named after him.
The city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada has a stop on the Edmonton LRT system and a public square named in his honour. Churchill Square, is the main square in that city and was renovated in 2004 for the city's 100th anniversary of incorporation. There are several other squares named after him, including one in Brighton, England and one in Newfoundland. The south end of Churchill Avenue in Ottawa was the site of the Churchill Arms Motor Hotel, which many residents of Ottawa remember for its three-storey exterior painting of the silhouette of Winston Churchill. Churchill Avenue was itself renamed from Main Street after the Second World War. In St. Albert, Alberta Sir Winston Churchill Ave runs east to west through the city. Winston Churchill Boulevard in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada is also named in his honour.
Churchill National Park in Australia which was established on 12 February 1941 as the Dandenong National Park, was renamed in 1944 in his honour. The town of Churchill, Victoria, Churchill Island and Churchill Island Marine National Park in Victoria, Australia were also named after him.
Churchillparken in Copenhagen, Denmark; Churchill Park, Glendowie, New Zealand; Churchill Park (Lautoka), Fiji; and Energlyn and Churchill Park railway station in Wales are some other parks named in his honour.
The Churchill occupying an entire block in New York City's Midtown Manhattan neighborhood is a residential building named after him, and features his portrait in the lobby and rooftop pool (rare for NYC residences). Many smaller, less significant streets and public buildings, particularly in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have been named in honour of Churchill.
Orders, decorations and medals
British orders and medals
- Order of the Garter (Knight Companion) (1953)
- Order of Merit (1946)
- Order of the Companions of Honour (1922)
- The India Medal with clasp, Punjab Frontier 1897–98 (1898)
- The Queen's Sudan Medal, 1896–98 (1899)
- The Queen's South Africa Medal, 1899–1902, with six clasps (1901)
- 1914-15 Star (1919)
- British War Medal 1914–1918 (1919)
- Victory Medal (United Kingdom) 1914–1919 (1920)
- 1939–1945 Star (1945)
- Africa Star (1945)
- Italy Star (1945)
- France and Germany Star (1945)
- Defence Medal (1945)
- War Medal 1939–1945 (1945)
- King George V Coronation Medal (1911)
- King George V Silver Jubilee Medal (1935)
- King George VI Coronation Medal (1937)
- Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal (1953)
- Territorial Decoration (1924)
- Grand Cross of the Order of Military Merit, Red Ribbon (War Service) (Spain, 1895)
- Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold (Belgium) with Palm (Belgium, 1945)
- Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Netherlands Lion (Netherlands, 1946)
- Grand Cross, Order of the Oak Crown (Luxembourg, 1946)
- Grand Cross with Collar, Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav (Norway, 1948)
- Knight of the Order of the Elephant (Denmark, 1950)
- Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (France, 1958)
- Companion of the Ordre de la Libération (France, 1958)
- Most Refulgent Order of the Star of Nepal, First Class (Nepal, 1961)
- Grand Sash of the High Order of Sayyid Muhammad ibn Ali as-Senussi (Libya, 1962)
- Order of the White Lion (Class I, civilian) (Czech Republic, posthumously 2014)
- Distinguished Service Medal (U.S. Army) (United States, 1919)
- Cross of Liberty for Military Leadership, Grade I (Estonia, 1925)
- Croix de Guerre with bronze Palm (Belgium, 1945)
- Military Medal 1940-45 (Luxembourg, 1946)
- Médaille militaire (France, 1947)
- Croix de Guerre with bronze Palm (France, 1947)
- Khedive's Sudan Medal (clasp: Khartoum) (Egypt, 1899)
- Cuban Campaign Medal, 1895–98 (Spain, 1914)
- King Christian X's Liberty Medal (Denmark, 1947)
(Although some references report Churchill was awarded the French Legion of Honour, it is not listed among his honours at the Churchill Centre. However, it is significant that Churchill received the Médaille militaire, which is only awarded (for high leadership) to holders of the Legion's Grand Cross). The Listing of Foreign recipients of the Legion of Honour reports Churchill as "Sir Winston Churchill, Grand-croix de la Légion d'honneur (1958);" (The Grand-croix being awarded to Foreign Heads of state).
- Fellow of the Royal Society (1941–1965)
- Rector of the University of Aberdeen (1914–18)
- Rector of Edinburgh University (1929–32)
- Chancellor of the University of Bristol (1929–1965)
- Honorary Academician Extraordinary of the Royal Academy of Arts (1948–1965).
- Honorary Professorship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1949.
- Member of the Royal Academy of Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium.
- Honorary doctorates from British universities including University of Aberdeen, University of Liverpool, University of London
- Honorary doctorate (LL.D) from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts (1914)
- Queens University, Belfast in Belfast Northern Ireland LL.D in 1926.
- Honorary doctorates from the Rochester in New York LL.D on 16 June 1941 and Harvard LL.D on 6 September 1943
- Honorary Doctorate from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec (LL.D) on 16 September 1944
- Honorary doctorate in philosophy from the University of Copenhagen
- Honorary doctorate (LL.D) from Leiden University in The Netherlands (10 May 1946)
- Honorary doctorate (LL.D) from the University of Miami in Florida (26 February 1946)
- Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri LL.D on 5 May 1946.
- University of London D.Litt in 1948.
Military ranks and titles
- Cornet, 4th Queen's Own Hussars (20 February 1895)
- Lieutenant, 4th Queen's Own Hussars (20 May 1896)
- Lieutenant, South African Light Horse (January 1900)
- Captain, Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars, Imperial Yeomanry (4 January 1902)
- Major, Henley Squadron, Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars (5 May 1905)
- Major, 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards (November 1915)
- Lieutenant-Colonel (temporary), 6th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers (5 January 1916 – March 1916)
- Major, Territorial Army (March 1916 – 1924)
- Honorary Air Commodore of No. 615 Squadron RAF (1939–1957)
- Colonel, 4th Queen's Own Hussars (22 October 1941 – 1958)
- Colonel, Queen's Royal Irish Hussars (1958–1965)
- Honorary Colonel, Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars
- Honorary Colonel, Royal Artillery, Territorial Army (21 October 1939 – 1965)
- Honorary Colonel, 6th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers (24 January 1940)
- Honorary Colonel, 4th/5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment (24 January 1940)
- Major, Territorial Army, Retired (20 February 1942)
- Honorary Colonel, 489th (Cinque Ports) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RA, Territorial Army (1947–1955)
- Honorary Pilot Wings, United States Air Force
- Colonel, Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels
Political and government offices
- Member of Parliament (1901–1922, 1924–1964)
- Under Secretary of State for the Colonies (1905–1908)
- Privy Counsellor (1907–1965)
- President of the Board of Trade (1908–1910)
- Home Secretary (1910–1911)
- First Lord of the Admiralty (1911–1915, 1939–1940)
- Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1915)
- Minister of Munitions (1917–1919)
- Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air (1919–1922)
- Chancellor of the Exchequer (1924–1929)
- Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1940–1945, 1951–1955)
- Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports (1941–1965)
- King's Privy Council for Canada (29 December 1941)
- Leader of the Opposition (1945–1951)
- Father of the House of Commons (1959–1964)
- Nobel Prize in Literature (1953)
- Albert Gold Medal, Royal Society of Arts (1945)
- Grotius Medal, Netherlands (1949)
- Grand Seigneur of the Hudson's Bay Company (1955)
- Karlspreis (1956)
- The Williamsburg Award (7 December 1955)
- Franklin Medal, City of Philadelphia, US (1956)
- 1st World Citizenship Award from Civitan International (1964)
- Theodor Herzl Award, Zionist Organization of America (1964)
- Honorary Bencher, Gray's Inn (1942)
- Honorary Member, Lloyd's of London
- Honorary Life Member, Veteran's Fire Engine Company, Alexandria, Virginia (1960)
- Member of Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers
- President of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association 1959–1965.
Membership in lineage societies
- Royal Society of St George (Vice President)
- Society of the Cincinnati (1952)
- Sons of the American Revolution (1963)
Freedom of the City
- 2 April 1941: Oldham
- 12 October 1942: Edinburgh
- 30 June 1943: London
- 16 November 1944: Paris
- 1945: Wanstead and Woodford
- 4 October 1946: Blackpool
- 1946: Poole
- 1946: Aberdeen
- 1946: Westminster
- 31 October 1946: Birmingham
- 1947: Manchester
- 1947: Ayr
- 1947: Darlington
- 3 October 1947: Brighton
- 22 April 1948: Eastbourne
- 6 July 1948: Aldershot
- 16 July 1948: Cardiff
- 27 May 1948: Perth
- 1949: Kensington
- 20 May 1950: Worcester
- 13 July 1950: Bath
- 12 December 1950: Portsmouth
- 2 March 1951: Swindon
- 16 April 1951: Sheffield
- 15 August 1951: Deal
- 1951: Aberystwyth
- 1951: Dover
- 1953: Stirling
- 17 January 1953: Kingston
- 15 December 1950: Portsmouth
- 30 September 1955: Harrow
- 16 December 1955: Londonderry
- 16 December 1955: Belfast
- 3 March 1956: Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
- 23 July 1957: Douglas
- 27 November 1957: Margate
- 28 October 1958: Leeds
- 10 October 1964: Estcourt
Churchill received a worldwide total of 42 Freedoms of cities and towns, in his lifetime a record for a lifelong British citizen.
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- Talat Chaudhri. "Honorary Freemen".
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- "SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL RECEIVES FREEDOM OF THE CITY OF BELFAST & LONDONDERRY". Archived from the original on 9 January 2013.
- British Pathé (13 April 2014). "Selected Originals – Ulster Honours Churchill Aka Ulster Honours Sir Winston Aka Churchill 2 (1955)" – via YouTube.
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- Sandys, Celia (2014). Chasing Churchill: The Travels of Winston Churchill. Andrews UK Limited. ISBN 9781910065297.
- McWhirter, Ross and Norris (1972). The Guinness Book of Records. Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 184. ISBN 0900424060.At the time of publication the world record was the 57 conferred on Andrew Carnegie who was born in Scotland but emigrated in 1848, subsequently becoming a US citizen.