The famous British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, speaking of the incident of his capture in his youth while working as a war correspondent in South Africa, wrote that death appeared to him sullenly and severely, and that he raised his hands and surrendered.
Churchill, who led his country during the Second World War era, was a war correspondent in South Africa and later in Sudan.
While working with British troops in South Africa during the British war against the “Boers”, the remnants of the Dutch colonialists, he was captured and held in it for about a month before escaping and becoming a “hero” to start his ascent. to the ladder of power.
The young man who was to assume the presidency of the British government during the most difficult periods of the Second World War was in an armored train on November 15, 1899, when the Boers opened artillery fire on him and cut the road in front of him with stones.
The train stopped for a while, and shells rained down on it, so Churchill got out of it, trying to escape as soon as possible from shells raining down on the train.
The roots of the bitter conflict between the British and the Dutch over the region appeared in 1886 after the discovery of the world’s richest gold deposits in the Transvaal, where a large number of seekers of fortune flocked, most of you British.
By the autumn of 1899, relations had deteriorated sharply between the British, who had colonized South Africa, and the Boer republics of Transvaal and Orange, which in September rejected British demands for rights and privileges for British workers in the gold mines.
Churchill tried to escape, but the Boer knights managed to arrest him and take him to a prisoner of war camp set up in a former model school in Pretoria, which was fenced and fortified.
Winston Churchill documented his conversations with the “Boer” fighters and stated that they told him that it was dangerous to resist the tyranny of the British Empire, but they were ready, and that they would fight to the end and drive the British out of South Africa forever. .
Churchill records that he answered them, securing himself a comfortable position as a reporter: “Your attempts are futile. Pretoria will be taken by the middle of March. What are your chances against hundreds of thousands of soldiers?”
The Boers, who, like the British, are also colonizers and invaders on the African continent, knew that Winston was the son of a high-ranking officer, Randolph Churchill, known for his very arrogant views on relations with Dutch settlers, and yet they treated him with kindness. and respect, Churchill himself admitted.
Churchill spoke of his heated dialogues with the “Boer” fighters, pointing out their good attitude towards him and the fact that they shared with him what they had from blankets and needs. He also recorded his admiration for the courage and determination of the “Boers” to fight to the end, noting that despair crept into him “for a while” and he believed that the British would lose the war to the Boers.
Winston Churchill wrote: “What kind of people are these Boers! I remembered seeing them this morning as they marched in the rain, thousands of archers. They move and live without supplies and vehicles and rush with the speed of the wind.
Young Winston goes on to write down his impressions: “In the end I thought that this war was unfair, that the Boers were better than us, that the heavens were against us, that Ladysmith, Mafking and Kimberley would fall, that foreign forces would intervene, we would lose South Africa, and this would be a start.”
After a long series of humiliating defeats against the Boers, the British Empire mobilized its forces against them and managed to defeat them.
The British succeeded after they first used scorched earth tactics in the “Boer” regions and herded them into concentration camps, where an estimated 30,000 Boer women and children died, as well as an unspecified number of black Africans.
Churchill, he conversed with gentle “Boer” militants, and at the same time studied the weaknesses of his captors, waiting for an opportunity to escape.
Before embarking on a long and difficult adventure, the young Churchill wrote a letter to the Foreign Minister of the Transvaal Republic:
Sir, I have the honor to inform you that since I do not recognize any right of your government to keep me as a prisoner of war!, I have decided to escape from custody. I am quite sure of the agreements which I have made with my friends abroad, and therefore cannot count on the possibility of seeing you again. Therefore, I take this opportunity to say that I consider your treatment of prisoners to be correct and humane and that I have no reason to complain. When I return to the position of the British troops, I will make a general statement on this matter. I would like to personally thank you for your kind attitude towards me and express the hope that after some time we will be able to meet again in Pretoria, but under different circumstances. I’m sorry I can’t say goodbye to you in person.
Churchill escaped prison and traveled long distances on freight trains full of cotton until he reached Portuguese-colonized Mozambique. There the British consul welcomed him with a hug!
Britain was at that time in a desperate situation in the war with the “Boers”, after having suffered heavy defeats in the course of which they had lost thousands of people killed, wounded and captured.
The empire, “over which the sun never sets,” was in dire need of a hero. Churchill was the right person. From that moment on, his star began to rise.
You must log in to post a comment.