When Insanity and Awesomeness Combine
You probably don’t know who Lieutenant Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming “Jack” Churchill was, but all you really need to learn about him is that he was one of the most badass (and insane, but in a good way) people to come out of World War II. At first glance, Churchill, affectionately (and appropriately) nicknamed Mad Jack, was just another British soldier during the war. However, if you saw him at any time with the rest of his unit, we’re pretty sure that he would’ve stood out. Why? Because he was armed with a bow and a sword.
Yes, really. This was during World War II and Mad Jack used a bow & arrow or a sword when he wanted to get up close. You might think that he was confused about the century he was fighting in. His reasoning was simple. He considered that “any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed.” He also thought the image of him plowing through Nazis with a sword was a good morale booster for his troops and also quite intimidating to the Germans.
And for the record, we’re not talking about some short, flimsy pointy stick here, either. Jack preferred to use a giant Scottish broadsword. In fact, you can see him in the featured image at the far right during a training exercise, wielding his weapon of choice. And the bow he used was a longbow, as well. And it definitely was not just for show because Mad Jack has the honor(?) of the last recorded bow & arrow kill during wartime… in 1940.
You would think that carrying around a bow, a set of arrows and a sword would be pretty cumbersome at a time when quickness can genuinely save your life. Despite this, Churchill still saw it fit to also carry around a set of bagpipes. He would use it before battle to inspire his troops.
Unsurprisingly, Jack was wounded several times during battle but, come on, this is a guy mowing down Nazis with claymores, what do you think happened? He got patched up and went right back to the front lines. After enrolling in the Commandos, Churchill was part of several high-profile and dangerous missions. Eventually one of the missions went wrong and he was captured by the Germans. Because he was a senior officer and his name was Churchill, the Nazis incorrectly thought he might be related to Winston Churchill so he was sent to Berlin for interrogation.
After the Nazis realized Mad Jack was just a normal (well, normal isn’t really the word) soldier, he was sent to a concentration camp in Sachsenhausen. By this time, Jack had been identified as a Commando and Hitler’s orders were to execute British Commandos on sight. However, the man in charge of the camp, Wehrmacht officer Captain Hans Thorner, disagreed with this notion and chose to ignore the order at his own peril. When Mad Jack was about to be transferred, he wrote Thorner a letter, thanking him for his humanity and even inviting him over for lunch after the war. In an extreme case of serendipity, this letter actually ended up saving Thorner’s life later on. When he was captured and tried as a war criminal, Thorner showed the letter as testimony to his actions and was released. When Churchill heard of the trial, he even offered to testify in the German officer’s defense.
After the war, Churchill enrolled in various other military groups and fought in other conflicts, eventually retiring from the army in 1959. His favorite pastime became surfing, even managing to claim a few records. He eventually passed away in 1996, aged 89.