View Full Version : Jack Churchill - Badass of the Month - October 2009

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10/19/2009 12:21pm,
http://www.bullshido.net/images/ba/jack-churchill-archery.jpgBefore 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 ChurchillSee, it was supposed to be Winston Churchill. But it's not. Of course Churchill, Winston was a qualified recipient; especially since he served as counterpoint to one of the biggest Douchebags in UK history (the one who tried to fellate England's way out of WWII). But it just wasn't compelling, so I sat on it.

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.

http://www.bullshido.net/images/ba/jack-churchill-sword.gifWhen 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.

10/19/2009 12:41pm,
**** you Rambo, you compound-bow-having *****. This ************ used a LONGBOW! AND he was probably drunk. Which is why he used a longbow.

10/19/2009 12:44pm,
True story: the phrase and gesture "**** you" is derived from Englishmen holding up their middle fingers to the French to show that they could still shoot a longbow at them (the French would cut off the middle fingers of English archers).

The phrase evolved from "I'll pluck you".

10/19/2009 12:57pm,
I thought **** was originally an acronym for fornication under consent of the King, from Henry the IIX times.

Also, your rant reminded me of Jeffrey Tambor's explanation as to where the phrase "What in the Sam Hill?" came from, in that **** movie Big Bully.

10/19/2009 1:01pm,
True story: the phrase and gesture "**** you" is derived from Englishmen holding up their middle fingers to the French to show that they could still shoot a longbow at them (the French would cut off the middle fingers of English archers).

The phrase evolved from "I'll pluck you".

Actually we use two fingers (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_uTPMnY1GlRM/RwYYm2nFdmI/AAAAAAAAADo/h5EgOwHRJAQ/s400/winston_churchill_victory_1%5B1%5D.jpg) here, and that's the gesture that supposedly comes from showing the french that you were still capable of firing your bow.

I've never heard of the 'i'll pluck you" bit but i'm sure it's nonsense.

Good article though. There are many stories from our chaps in the second world war that can equal this one.

10/19/2009 1:23pm,
True story, I watched a whole documentary about the word **** and they were unsure of its exact origins. The fornication under the consent of the king thing and the pluck you theories were said to be bunk though as the word **** is used before those times.

10/19/2009 1:34pm,
As best I know, most monosyllabic words in modern English stem from Old English and Norse languages. Plus the Norse did a lot of fucking and raping, so I bet it's theirs.

Also, as best I know, killing a Nazi soldier with a fucking arrow gives me a hard on.

10/19/2009 1:36pm,
I just researched the "pluck yew/you" thing and it is BS. Thanks for the correction.

Fortunately I didn't include it in the article.

10/19/2009 2:40pm,
i'm waiting for a french badass of the month...


get it?

10/19/2009 4:37pm,
forgot about more badassery:

"After the war, Churchill became a stunt archer for Hollywood movies, before devoting his life to surfboarding, becoming the first person to ride the River Severn’s five-foot tidal bore on his own home-made board. If there ever was a man who needed a film, it was Jack Churchill."

10/19/2009 7:20pm,
One of his anecdotes involved a Claymore. Either he is the only person to have a confirmed kill in WWII with a Claymore or he took that one nazi officer hostage with a Claymore. I forget which.

i'm waiting for a french badass of the month...


get it?

St. Germaine?

10/19/2009 10:25pm,
Captain Jack is certainly a badass, but I have to say something about: "arguably the UK's Badass of All Time".

The arguably makes that comment reasonable, Jack Churchill would certainly be in the running, but greatest English badass would have to go to William Marshal. That man did so many badass things that he'd probably need 2 months to do him justice.

A few William Marshal bullet points:

He was a medieval knight
A tournament champion & accomplished soldier
He mentored & knighted the crown prince despite the fact that he (Marshal) was a poor knight without property or political standing.
He served 1 queen, 1 prince & 4 English kings.
He ended up his life as the Regent in charge of England & one of England's riches men.
Now here are some of the bigger points:

When 3 guys accused William of sleeping with the wife of the crown prince William demanded the right to prove his innocence by dueling them. He said he'd fight them all at once, or 1 at a time, but if it was going to be 1 at a time he'd be willing to cut off some of his fingers just to make the fight fair. See: William Marshal had a reputation, from the tournament circuit, for winning fights against multiple opponents.

Another good story is that when Marshal was 70 (& ruling England until the king came of age) he led England's armies (led as in on a horse at the front of the charge) & put down both a civil uprising & a French invasion in the same year.

Again, this is not to take anything away from Jack Churchill. I just want people who're looking for badasses to keep Medieval Europe in mind. There are some great stories there.

Edit: have my fonts gone mad?

Conde Koma
10/19/2009 11:05pm,
Both William Marshal and Jack Churchill sound like badasses. Props to the English for having them.

10/20/2009 3:14am,
i'm waiting for a french badass of the month...


get it?

Guillaume le Maréchal (closest we'll get).

10/20/2009 4:27am,
Lolland doesnt have warheroes, just war criminals... :-(

Well there was this one dutch soldier who took out some 5 tanks all by himself except the problem was he did it in the waffen ss.
I'm going to dig through history to see if we have any badases, but don't hold your breath.

10/20/2009 7:32am,
Robert Henry Cain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain), was a complete badass. As were all the recipients of the Victoria Cross.

An exerpt;

Cain was one of three Majors defending the front line in Lonsdale Force's sector at the southern end of the eastern perimeter.[20] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Middlebrook336-19) Over the coming days of battle he became determined to destroy as much enemy armour as possible[22] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Ryan472-21) and sited himself in a laundry's garden, much to the chagrin of the Dutch owner.[23] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Ryan473-22) Over the coming days Cain was everywhere, dealing with armour and snipers and encouraging his men.[24] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-23) On the afternoon of Thursday 21st two tanks approached Cain's position. Guided by a colleague in a building above him, Cain waited in a trench until the first tank was close enough to engage.[25] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Middlebrook343-24) The tank fired at the building, killing Cain's colleague and showering him with masonry but despite this, Cain kept his position.[25] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Middlebrook343-24) Staff Sergeant Richard Long of the Glider Pilot Regiment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glider_Pilot_Regiment) remembered that through the clouds of dust, Cain fired round after round from his PIAT until the tank was disabled,[23] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Ryan473-22) but whilst engaging the second tank a round exploded in the PIAT with a bright flash and Cain was thrown backwards.[23] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Ryan473-22) Cain recalled thinking he was blind and "shouting like a hooligan. I shouted to somebody to get onto the PIAT because there was another tank behind. I blubbered and yelled and used some very colourful language. They dragged me off to the aid post."[26] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Middlebrook344-25) The British brought forward one of the Light Regiment's 75mm guns which blew the tank apart.[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Pegasus-1)
Witnesses believed that Cain was incapacitated, but within half an hour his sight returned.[23] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Ryan473-22) He refused morphia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morphia) and against all advice returned to the front lines, decising that he "wasn't wounded enough to stay where [he] was".[23] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Ryan473-22) On the following day his eardrums (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eardrum) burst from the constant firing and barrage, but he was content to stuff his ears with bandages and continue fighting.[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Pegasus-1)[23] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Ryan473-22) On Sunday 24th, shortly after a truce to allow the evacuation of casualties (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Arnhem#Day_8_-_Sunday_24_September), Cain was alerted to the approach of a Tiger tank (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_tank). Together with a Royal Artillery (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Artillery) gunner he raced for a 6 pounder anti-tank gun (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordnance_QF_6_pounder), manoeuvred it into position, fired and disabled the tank.[27] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-26) He wanted to continue using the gun, but the recoil mechanism was destroyed.[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Pegasus-1)
By 25 September, the area occupied by the Lonsdale Force saw heavy fighting against Self-propelled guns (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-propelled_gun), flame thrower tanks, and infantry. There were no PIATs available to the force by now; instead Cain armed himself with a two inch mortar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortar). Mortars are muzzle-loading (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muzzle-loading) indirect fire (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indirect_fire) weapons but Cain was forced to fire it on an almost horizontal plane due to the enemy's proximity. His citation states that his leadership ensured that the South Staffordshire gave no ground and drove the enemy off in complete disorder.[28] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-LG-27) By the end of the Battle, Cain had been reportedly responsible for the destruction or disabling of six tanks, four of which were Tigers, as well as a number of self-propelled guns.[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Pegasus-1)
That night the Division began to withdraw in Operation Berlin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Berlin_%28Arnhem_rescue%29). Many men shaved and blackened their faces and Cain removed a week's growth of beard from his face, drying himself on his dirty, blood-soaked Denison smock (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denison_smock).[29] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-28) After successfully crossing the Rhine, this lead Brigadier (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigadier) 'Pip' Hicks (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Phillip_Hicks&action=edit&redlink=1) to comment "there's one officer, at least, who's shaved".[30] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Henry_Cain#cite_note-Ryan530-29) Cain made sure all of his men were over the river by dawn, before he himself crossed in an old boat.

Also for a living legend, Sir Renulph Fiennes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Ranulph_Fiennes).