Reply Mon 28 Nov, 2011 05:10 pm
I am searching for information on John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming "Jack" Churchill. I have already exhausted most all the internet resources (wikipedia, cracked etc.) I have written to magazines - I can't seem to find a thing. I know of one book about him "Unlimited Boldness" by Rex King-Clark. There seem to be no copies in existence. Any help would be appreciated.
Reply Mon 28 Nov, 2011 05:26 pm
I found the following Robert Barr Smith July '05 article using google. Did you see this? :
Reply Mon 28 Nov, 2011 05:48 pm
Yes, I wrote them to no avail. Thanks though
Reply Mon 28 Nov, 2011 06:01 pm
But the article that explained his biographical story is there. Did you see the link? Is that not what you asked for?
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Reply Mon 28 Nov, 2011 06:50 pm
Have you seen this one yet?

Lieutenant-Colonel Jack Churchill
Lieutenant-Colonel Jack Churchill, who has died aged 89, was probably the most dramatically impressive Commando leader of the Second World War.

3:02PM GMT 13 Mar 1996

His exploits - charging up beaches dressed only in a kilt and brandishing a dirk, killing with a bow and arrow, playing the bagpipes at moments of extreme peril - and his legendary escapes won him the admiration and devotion of those under his command, who nicknamed him "Mad Jack".

Churchill believed an assault leader should have a reputation which would at once demoralise the enemy and convince his own men that nothing was impossible. He was awarded two DSOs and an MC, and mentioned in despatches.

Romantic and sensitive, he was an avid reader of history and poetry, knowledgeable about castles and trees, and compassionate to animals, even to insects.

John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill was born in Surrey on Sept 16 1906. His father, Alex Churchill, was on leave from the Far East, where he was Director of Public Works in Hong Kong and Ceylon.

After education at the Dragon School, Oxford, King William's College, Isle of Man, and Sandhurst, Churchill was commissioned in 1926 into the Manchester Regiment and gazetted to the 2nd Battalion, which he joined in Rangoon.

Returning from a signals course at Poona, he rode a Zenith motor-cycle 1,500 miles across India, at one point crashing into a water buffalo. In Burma, he took the Zenith over railway bridges by stepping on the sleepers (there was nothing in between them) and pushing the bike along the rails.

Churchill moved from Rangoon to Maymyo where he was engaged in "flag marches", which meant moving up and down the Irrawaddy by boat, visiting the villages and deterring those who might be contemplating robbery, murder or dacoity.

At Maymyo he learned to play the bagpipes, tutored by the Pipe Major of the Cameron Highlanders, and became an oustanding performer. But when the regiment returned to Britain in 1936, he became bored with military life at the depot at Ashton-under-Lyne and retired after only 10 years in the Army.

Churchill went on a grand tour of Europe, accompanied by his great friend Rex King-Clark; took minor parts as an archer in films; played the bagpipes as an entertainer; and represented Great Britain at archery in the 1939 World Championships.

On the outbreak of war in 1939, he was recalled to the Colours and went to France, taking with him his bow and arrows which he used on patrols against the Germans in front of the Maginot Line. The weapon was silent, accurate to 200 yards and lethal.

After the Germans attacked in France, Churchill was awarded the MC in the retreat at the Battle of l'Epinette (near Bethune) where his company was trapped by German forces.

Churchill fought back with two machine guns (and his bow) until ammunition was exhausted, then extricated the remains of the company through the German lines at night and reported back to Brigade HQ. Later he was wounded and carried a bullet in his shoulder all his life.

After returning to England, he joined the Commandos and in 1941 was second-in-command of a mixed force from 2 and 3 Commandos which raided Vaagso, in Norway. The aim was to blow up local fish oil factories, sink shipping, gather intelligence, eliminate the garrison and bring home volunteers for the Free Norwegian Forces.

Before landing, Churchill decided to look the part. He wore silver buttons he had acquired in France; carried his bow and arrows and armed himself with a broad-hilted claymore; and led the landing force ashore with his bagpipes. Although he was again wounded, the operation forced the Germans to concentrate large forces in the area.

After recovering, Churchill was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel commanding No 2 Commando which he took through Sicily (leading with his bagpipes to Messina) and then to the landings at Salerno.

They captured the village of Pigoletti and its garrison of 42 men as well as an 81 mm mortar and its crew. In further fighting along the Pigoletti Ridge, he was recommended for the VC but eventually received the DSO. His action had saved the Salerno beachhead at a critical time.

Churchill's next assignment was in the Adriatic, where he was appointed to command a force comprising No 43 Royal Marine Commando plus one company from the Highland Light Infantry and eight 25 lb guns.

They landed on the island of Brac, then attacked and captured the Vidova Gora (2,500 ft high), the approaches of which were heavily mined. Playing his pipes, Churchill led No 40 Commando in a night attack which reached the top of the objective where he was wounded and captured.

"You have treated us well," he wrote to the German commander after only 48 hours in captivity. "If, after the war, you are ever in England and Scotland, come and have dinner with my wife and myself"; he added his telephone number. The German was one Captain Hans Thornerr and later that note saved Thornerr's life when the Yugoslavs wanted to have him shot as a war criminal.

The Germans thought, wrongly, that Churchill must be a relation of the Prime Minister. Eventually he was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen Camp, near Berlin, where he was chained to the floor for the first month and found himself in company with such VIPs as Kurt von Schusnigg, the former Chancellor of Austria, von Thyssen, and Schacht, the former German Economics Minister.

Churchill tunnelled out of the camp with an RAF officer, but was recaptured and transferred to a PoW camp in Austria. When the floodlights failed one night he escaped and, living on stolen vegetables, walked across the Alps near the Brenner Pass. He then made contact with an American reconnaissance column in the Po Valley.

Churchill was appointed second-in-command of No 3 Commando Brigade, which was in India preparing for the invasion of Japan, but the war ended - much to his regret, as he wanted to be killed in battle and buried in the Union flag.

He took a parachute course, making his first jump on his 40th birthday, and commanded 5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion, thus becoming the only officer to command both a Commando and a Parachute battalion.

Churchill had always wanted to serve with a Scottish regiment, and so transferred to the Seaforth Highlanders, becoming a company commander.

In 1948 he was appointed second-in-command of the Highland Light Infantry, then serving in Jerusalem. Terrorism was widespread and on April 13 1948, Arabs ambushed a Jewish convoy of doctors en route for the Hadassah Hospital, near Jerusalem.

Churchill, having ordered reinforcements for his small force, walked alone towards the ambush, smiling and carrying a blackthorn stick. "People are less likely to shoot you if you smile at them," he said. So it proved.

He then managed to evacuate some of the Jews but they thought that Haganah (the Jewish army) would save them and did not require his services. As one of the HLI had now been killed by Arab fire, he withdrew; 77 Jews were then slaughtered. Later Churchill assisted in the evacuation of 500 patients and staff from the hospital.

Back in Britain, he was for two years second-in-command of the Army Apprentices School at Chepstow before serving a two-year stint as Chief Instructor, Land/Air Warfare School in Australia.

In 1954, Churchill joined the War Office Selection Board at Barton Stacey. During this period he rode a surf board a mile and a half up river on the Severn bore.

His last post was as First Commandant of the Outward Bound School.

After retirement, Churchill devoted himself to his hobby of buying and refurbishing steamboats on the Thames; he acquired 11, which made journeys from Richmond to Oxford. He was also a keen maker of radio-controlled model boats, which he sold at a profit. He also took part in motor-cycling speed trials.

When not engaged in military operations Jack Churchill was a quiet, unassuming man, though not above astonishing strangers for the fun of it. In his last job he would sometimes stand up on a train journey from London to his home, open the window and hurl out his briefcase, then calmly resume his seat. Fellow passengers looked on aghast, unaware that he had flung the briefcase into his own back garden.

Jack Churchill married, in 1941, Rosamund Denny; they had two sons.

Reply Mon 28 Nov, 2011 06:53 pm
Looks like the book is only available at two libraries, University of Kansas Library and the Library of Congress.

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Reply Mon 28 Nov, 2011 07:50 pm
Some other sites you may or may not have seen:

This may also be a source since he was of the Manchester Regiment and served during the Burma conflict prior to rejoining the MR to fight in WW2. You can probably also post a question with any specific information you are looking for. It looks like the forum members are very helpful.

Found another one...

S.O., M.C.
a.k.a. ‘MAD JACK’
Lt. Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill

It has been over sixty-three years since this author served under the command of Jack, but to this day it is impossible to think of the man without prefacing my reverie with some kind of exclamation such as: Whew! or My God! and I have to stop thinking about this larger-than-life character or else I wouldn’t get anything done during the day or sometimes, night. Jack will always be with me because he will be part of my life; something that will last and never fade.

Unlike so many of the men he commanded, Jack came from a pretty well-heeled Oxfordshire family. Following his formal education at the Dragon School, Oxford and King William’s College, Isle of Man, then RMC Sandhurst, he obtained a regular army commission in the Manchester Regiment in 1926. His career in the peacetime army came to a screeching halt ten years later when Jack and his C.O. agreed to disagree and Jack resigned his commission.

Jack was recalled to the army at the outbreak of war, served with distinction at Dunkirk and got himself an M.C. After which, he was one of the very first volunteers for the newly-formed Commandos. Jack found himself assigned as the second-in-command of No. 3 Commando. The author wonders about that time. The thought of having three diverse personalities and future Commando legends – John Durnford Slater, Peter Young and Jack Churchill – all under the same roof is frightening! However, it all worked out well – J.D.S. was kicked upstairs, promoted to Brigadier, Peter Young eventually got control of No. 3 Commando, and Jack Churchill was shifted over to No. 2 Commando replacing Lt. Col. Charlie Newman, who had been lost at St. Nazaire.

The ‘coming’ of Jack to No. 2 Commando in April 1942 and his subsequent campaign exploits are related elsewhere. In this narrative, the author confines himself to relating his memories of Jack and endeavors to try to convey some truths that need to be recorded and questions that need to be asked now, or they will never see daylight.

This author finds himself somewhat dismayed by various reports that have surfaced from time-to-time which infer that Jack Churchill was a sort of ‘publicity seeker’. For those who have that opinion, I ask them to consider this:

Where is there a book written by Jack Churchill concerning No. 2 Commando depicting himself in a starring role?

Jack has never written anything about his life and times, or caused them to be recounted by some ghost-writer. Thankfully no officer who served in No. 2 Commando has ever caused publication of a book to join the many which were authorized by Jack’s brother-colonels in other Commando units and several accounts written by lieutenants on upwards. The author makes this point, not in criticism of these many published scribes, but to illustrate that Jack certainly had a personal story of unexcelled heroism to tell, but was too darn modest to cash in on it.

There is that matter of a decoration. At Salerno Jack and his runner had operated far out ahead of the Commando and entered the enemy-held village of Pigoletti, whereupon Jack descended on each German sentry post or weapons pit, made its occupants prisoner and delivered them group by group to be guarded by the waiting runner. When the count was made it amounted to 42 prisoners Jack had taken. He even made the German mortar crews carry out their own mortars. The prisoners with all their weapons were then handed over to the leading Commando troop when it finally caught up with Jack. For this audacious feat of arms Col. Jack was recommended for the Victoria Cross, which was in due course watered down to a D.S.O. WHY? The award of the V.C. had certainly been made as a result of actions concerning far-lesser valour.

The qualities of leadership displayed by Jack’s fellow Commando colonels, Lt. Cols. Durnford Slater, Peter Young, Derek Mills-Roberts, Lord Lovat and Ronnie Tod, were all recognized by their promotion to the rank of Brigadier. They were all grand leaders who deserved such recognition. BUT Jack was not promoted. In fact, we have to sadly note that in 1948 he had been demoted to the rank of major engaged in the thankless task of keeping Arabs and Jews from each others throats in the Palestine mandate. It is thought that Jack had fully deserved the promotion which was awarded to his peers, but somehow denied to him. WHY? again.

It is said by many fanciful writers that Jack went into action in No. 2 Commando ‘resplendent with bow and arrows’. Where? The author participated in everyone of the Colonel’s operations in No. 2 and only saw our Jack adorned with claymore, bagpipes, an American M-1 carbine, sometimes a 45 automatic, haversack, helmet with large S.S. badge, and map case. Wasn’t that enough?

Jack much admired the discipline and enthusiasm of the average German soldier. He once stated ‘that was what made them such wonderful soldiers’. He compared such qualities rather favourably with those who inhabited our ‘mass-produced army’. He always advocated more realistic training for the ordinary British soldier although he fully realized that it would be impossible to put the whole army through Achnacarry.

Jack, the man, was hard, if not impossible, to get to know. He lacked a certain rapport with his brother-officers and certainly never got close to the rank and file boys in the same way as Charlie Newman. But, then again, Charlie Newman’s fatherly attitude was a tough act to follow and Jack Churchill’s pale, steely-blue eyes were fixed on the prosecution of the war and nothing else.

Our ‘Mad Jack’ once gave himself to prose, writing that:

"No Prince or Lord has tomb so proud
As he whose flag becomes his shroud"

Lt. Col. Jack Churchill, D.S.O., M.C., a.k.a. ‘Mad Jack’ passed on, March 8, 1996. He was 89.


The battle honour Salerno (September, 1943), was won by No. 2 Commando, under Lieut.-Colonel Jack Churchill, though at heavy cost. On one occasion, in a triumphant night attack, the unit took 136 German prisoners, more at that date than the whole Division to which they were attached had captured. Salerno was a desperate business-at one time the Royal Navy was put at fifteen minutes’ notice to re-embark the troops. In the chaos and confusion of those grievous days No. 2 Commando was a tower of strength.

Meanwhile, a force, including No. 2 Commando, was operating on the Dalmation Coast with its Headquarters on the island of Vis (December, 1943-October, 1944). No. 2 was commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Jack Churchill and his policy was, needless to say, to attack as often as possible.

One of the most successful of Churchill’s raids destroyed the German garrison of the island of Solta (17th March, 1944), an operation which has been described as “a model of it’s kind”. Later the brigade occupied the Greek island of Kithera (September) and captured Corfu (October) before returning to Italy in February, 1945. On the night of 1st April the Commandos struggled across Lake Comacchio. Weeks of drought had lowered the water in the lagoon and for hours the men heaved and dragged their landing craft through the stinking, glutinous mud. Despite the inevitable confusion, the operation was a marked success. Corporal T.P Hunter, 43 R.M. Commando, won the Victoria Cross. The German losses included nine hundred and forty-six prisoners. This was followed by the capture of four islands in the middle of the lake, when Major Lassen, M.C., a Danish Commando, at the cost of his own life, won the Victoria Cross-the first foreigner ever to receive this decoration.

0 Replies
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 04:15 am
@BEAU, is a website that specialises in second hand books, they link up with booksellers all over the world. I have seen if the book you're after is in stock, currently it's not, but you can request it from them so you get an email if and when it becomes available.
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Reply Wed 30 Nov, 2011 01:54 pm
Much thanks for your help
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Reply Sun 5 Jun, 2016 08:58 am
Hiya, I was stumbing around on the internet looking for info on Mad Jack aka Jack Churchill and came across your post. Later on I managed to locate a pdf copy of Unlimited Boldness by Rex King-Clark which I believe you were looking for. I know your post was made 5 years ago but on the off chance that you are still interested in reading it I would be more than happy to email you a copy if you provided me with an email address. Mine is [email protected] All the best!
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Reply Sun 5 Jun, 2016 11:58 am
Fascinating stuff from an old post.
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