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Spring 1895 (Age 20)

Churchill remembered his years at Sandhurst, from which he “retired” with a commission in the 4th Hussars, as “hard but happy.” He felt that he had demonstrated that he “could learn quickly enough the things that mattered.”

Thirty years later he made a poignant reflection on the fate of young soldiers of his generation. “In contrast with my school days, I had made many friends, three or four of whom still survive. As for the rest, they are gone. The South African War accounted for a large proportion not only of my friends but my company; and the Great War killed almost all the others.”

“On the whole Great Fun!”

Nevertheless, he continued, his world opened like Aladdin’s Cave, ‘From the beginning of 1895 down to the present time of writing I have never had time to turn around. I could count almost on my fingers the days when I have nothing to do. An endless moving picture in which one was an actor. On the whole Great Fun! But the years 1895 to 1900 which are the staple of this story exceed in vividness, variety and exertion anything I have known — except of course the opening months of the Great War.”

The momentous years of the Second World War and the nuclear age lay ahead.

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