"have you ever met Mr Churchill?"
Sir Winston Churchill
Creative Commons AttributionSir Winston Churchill - Credit: Cliff1066TM (Artist - Douglas Granville Chandor)

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965) won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for "his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values."

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Throughout the 1930s, his was a minority voice in warning against the rearmament of Germany; he vigorously opposed the policy of appeasement.  At the outbreak of World War 2, he was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty under Neville Chamberlain. In 1940 he replaced Chamberlain as Prime Minister and became the vital figurehead of the Allied war effort. Shortly after the Allied victory in 1945, and to the surprise of many, he lost the general election. He was returned to office in 1951, resigning in 1955.

His funeral on 30 January 1965 was the first and only British State Funeral for a commoner in the entire twentieth century. It was broadcast live on television, opening with Strauss's "Thus Spake Zarathustra" and William Wordsworth's "Character of the Happy Warrior", first written to commemorate the death of Lord Nelson, narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier.