Sir Winston Churchill, born 30th November 1874, died 24th January 1965, is not buried in Westminster Abbey but just inside the west entrance, near the grave of the Unknown Warrior, is a green marble memorial stone. It was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II on 19th September 1965 and a wreath was laid by his widow. The inscription was cut by the sculptor Reynolds Stone. This reads:
IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE WISHES OF
THE QUEEN AND PARLIAMENT
THE DEAN & CHAPTER PLACED THIS STONE
ON THE TWENTY FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF
THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
15 SEPTEMBER 1965
Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, son of Lord Randolph Churchill (a son of the Duke of Marlborough) and Jennie, daughter of Leonard Jerome of New York, was born at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. He did not succeed very well at school so he was sent into the Army, where he served in a cavalry regiment. After leaving the Army he became a Member of Parliament and started to write books. As a special correspondent for the "Morning Post" he was sent to South Africa to cover the Boer War and was taken prisoner in 1899. He escaped and became a hero back in England.
In 1908 he married Clementine Hozier at St Margaret's Church, Westminster, adjacent to the Abbey. He fell from favour after the disastrous campaign at Gallipoli during the 1914-1918 war but later became Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Prime Minister 1940-1945. His oratory during the Second World War and determination to defeat Hitler and the Nazis is legendary. A social club for Allied forces, called the Churchill Club, was set up in 1943 in Ashburnham House in the grounds of Westminster School.
He became Prime Minister again from 1951-1955, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 and was made a Knight of the Order of the Garter and member of the Order of Merit. He declined a peerage.
In 1953 he launched the appeal for funds to restore the Abbey and a plaque in the Jerusalem Chamber records this:
In this Chamber on 30 January 1953 the appeal for a million pounds for the repair and maintenance of Westminster Abbey was launched by Winston Spencer Churchill Prime Minister.
A few years before his death he was made an Honorary Citizen of the United States.
Before the State Funeral at St Paul's Cathedral in London his body lay in state at Westminster Hall and was taken by river to the Cathedral. He is buried with his parents in Bladon churchyard, near to Blenheim Palace.
Further reading and information
His home at Chartwell in Kent is open to the public.
Churchill War Rooms, Horse Guards Avenue, Westminster, are open to the public.
A statue of him stands in Parliament Square
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004
See also National Library of Scotland - Churchill: The Evidence
2 DVDs and book "Voices of the Battle of Britain"
See also Abbey in Wartime for VE Day and VJ Day celebrations and services.
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library
Image © 2023 Dean and Chapter of Westminster