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Jack Churchill - Badass of the Month - October 2009Before we begin, let me explain a bit about my creative process and how I arrive at the awardee for this column each month:
I have no freaking idea up until I start writing.
That doesn't mean that I just pull it out of my ass, have some kind of list I throw darts at, or (usually) take suggestions as to who I should write about; in the case of the latter I'll always counter-suggest that if you feel strongly enough about the badassery of a particular individual you should just go ahead and write it up yourself. And assuming you're marginally competent with the English language and have a valid nominee (no, Kenpachi Zaraki does not count as he's not a real person), we'll feature your nomination.
But the reason this column is done towards the middle of the month is primarily because the nominees just "come to me" and when they do, I sit down with an IV of coffee in my arm and start banging on my keyboard. Shortly thereafter, an article emerges.
Don't get me wrong, I earnestly attempt to have a nomination for the month by the end of the previous one. In fact, here's the nomination for October, as quoted from our staff writer forum:
BAOTM: Winston Churchill
In the back of my head, something was nagging at me the entire time; a feeling comprised 50% of "save this one until England does something awesome/gets nuked by terrorists or something" and 50% a vague notion that it just "wasn't right". Then it occurred to me, this morning, that I was writing about the wrong Churchill.
So let me tell you about Jack Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill. Yeah, so badass he needed five separate names; John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt's got nothing on this limey sonofabitch.
He also went by the names "Fighting Jack", "Mad Jack", and "Captain Jack" even though he was a Lieutennant Colonel, because it sounded better.
After reading that long and completely unrelated diatribe you're probably asking yourself, why's this asshole so badass? How about the fact that he got at least one confirmed kill in WWII with a goddamn Longbow?
Jack was born in Hong Kong, which as everyone knows, sets you up for a life of badassery. Shortly thereafter he learned Archery, Swordsmanship (Scottish Claymore), and how to play the Bagpipes. All of which he'd take with him into battle at some point. In fact, he felt that any officer who went into battle without a sword might as well have gone in his house slippers and smoking jacket.
When World War II started, Churchill volunteered to be a "Commando". He had no clue what a "Commando" was, but since it sounded like it involved a lot of fighting he figured it'd be fun. While skulking around France with his unit, they ambushed a German patrol with the signal to attack being his plucking of the enemy squad leader with a barbed arrow.
For most people, this Crowning Moment of Awesome would have been the high point and they'd have retired and traded that story for free rounds at the pub for the rest of their days. But nope, Captain Jack chose to head over to Norway on a landing craft and storm the beaches while playing the bagpipes for his men while they all charged the German positions together.
Fast forward to 1943 where he and a corporal that he suckered into joining him, snuck into the town of Salerno, Italy. There the pair kidnapped a sentry and forced the units that were garrisoned there to surrender. The two British soldiers waltzed out of there with 42 prisoners and a mortar squad.
In 1944, again while playing the bagpipes, Churchill's unit was shelled and he was the only one who survived, taking a minor wound. The Germans sent him to a concentration camp, but he attempted escape multiple times, and finally made it to a Yank armored column in Italy.
In 1945, bored with Europe he signed on to go fight on the Pacific front and ended up in Burma. But within a short amount of time Truman ordered the
atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki which brought a quick end to the conflict.
Mad Jack's response to this?
"If it wasn't for those damn Yanks, we could have kept the war going another 10 years!"
Fighting Mad Captain Jack Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill is our Badass of the Month, and arguably the UK's Badass of All Time.
Although Winston's still in the running.