Young Master W. Leonard Spencer hated school – especially Harrow. He constantly wrote home to his aristocratic and aloof parents asking either that they come visit him or let him come home. He wasn’t doing well in his studies except for a few math courses, and he would constantly battle what he would call his "black dog" – bouts of mild depression. Yet looking back years later, he saw what was at work:
"By being so long in the lowest form I gained an immense advantage over the cleverer boys. They all went on to learn Latin and Greek and splendid things like that. But I was taught English. We were considered such dunces that we could learn only English. Mr. Somervell – a most delightful man, to whom my debt is great – was charged with teaching the stupidest boys the most disregarded thing – namely to write mere English…. Thus I got into my bones the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence – which is a noble thing."

Spencer went on to adventures across the globe. He rode with the 21st Lancers at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898 – the last major cavalry charge in British history. He acquired international fame as a war correspondent and escaped POW during the Boer War (though he was rather disappointed that the "wanted" poster out on him only offered a meager 25 pounds Stirling). He followed on with a career public service, eventually as First Lord of the Admiralty in WW I. Then came the day and the age when that "noble thing" – his skill with the English language – would be put to use in saving the free world as we know it. His grandfather was proud of their direct descent from the 1st Duke of Marlborough, and so had added the Duke’s surname to their own. That is why we know him today as Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, who, when England stood alone in her darkest hour, refused to cower, refused to submit, or even to negotiate:
"We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight in the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender."

Not long after Dunkirk France did fall. Nazi transports were immediately shipped to Calais for Operation SEA LION –the invasion and conquest of Britain. It should have been a walk in the park for the Nazis; block the Royal Navy from entering the Channel, shoot that pathetic, undermanned and under-planed Royal Air Force out of the sky, then float over and walk right on in. The stakes had never been higher – for England or for the world:
"What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free, and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including everything that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age; made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its commonwealths last for a thousand years, men will still say ‘This was their finest hour.’"

Lest it be thought that such language was only for mass public consumption, this is what he told his cabinet when it was suggested that Hitler seemed open to negotiation:
"I am convinced that every one of you would rise up and tear me down from my place if I were for one moment to contemplate parley or surrender. If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground."
Thank God this "stupid boy;" this "dunce," had the requisite skill and courage to weaponize the English language in such a fashion. His words, and a few brave young men who were willing to jump into the cockpits of Spitfires and Hurricanes, were just about all the British had – but it was enough.
In this long twilight war in which we now find ourselves against Islamo-Nazis, Let us hope and pray that the leaders of the free world will stop often to ask themselves this question: WWCD? (What would Churchill do?) And then conduct themselves accordingly.
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