[CHURCHILL, Winston S.]. Boer police telegram giving Churchill's description as an escaped prisoner of war, sent from Pretoria at 7.35 [p.m.], 13 December 1899, received at Johannesburg at 7.56 [p.m.], in Afrikaans, the receiving office's copy, manuscript carbon copy text on a printed form of the Telegraph Service of the South African Republic, 226 x 186mm, receiving office's stamp and series number (some wear at margins); with cover sheet and translation. Provenance: Sotheby's, 11 July 1986, lot 314.
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 1… Read more
[CHURCHILL, Winston S.]. Boer police telegram giving Churchill's description as an escaped prisoner of war, sent from Pretoria at 7.35 [p.m.], 13 December 1899, received at Johannesburg at 7.56 [p.m.], in Afrikaans, the receiving office's copy, manuscript carbon copy text on a printed form of the Telegraph Service of the South African Republic, 226 x 186mm, receiving office's stamp and series number (some wear at margins); with cover sheet and translation. Provenance: Sotheby's, 11 July 1986, lot 314.

Details
[CHURCHILL, Winston S.]. Boer police telegram giving Churchill's description as an escaped prisoner of war, sent from Pretoria at 7.35 [p.m.], 13 December 1899, received at Johannesburg at 7.56 [p.m.], in Afrikaans, the receiving office's copy, manuscript carbon copy text on a printed form of the Telegraph Service of the South African Republic, 226 x 186mm, receiving office's stamp and series number (some wear at margins); with cover sheet and translation. Provenance: Sotheby's, 11 July 1986, lot 314.

A WANTED MAN: 'Description escaped prisoner-of-war Winston Spencer Churchill Englishman 25 years old about 5 foot 8 inches tall medium build walks with a slight stoop. Pale features. Reddish-brown hair almost invisible small moustache. Speaks through his nose and cannot pronounce the letter S. Had last a brown suit on and cannot speak one word of Dutch'.

Churchill escaped from the States Model School prison in Pretoria at around 7.15 p.m. on the evening of 12 December by vaulting a wall behind the latrines. Having waited for some time in an outer garden, he left the prison perimeter and set off confidently down the middle of the road, humming a tune, until he chanced upon the railway and boarded a moving train. His escape was discovered at about 9.30 the next morning, by which time he was in the middle of the veldt with only vultures for company. At nightfall, more or less when the present telegram was sent out, he presented himself at the house of a manager of the Transvaal and Delagoa Bay Collieries at Witbank; this sympathetic figure in due course completed his escape by smuggling him by train into Portuguese territory. The news of his escape caused a sensation: the fame it brought was a key element in his first electoral success at Oldham the next year. In some sense this was the turning point of his life.
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VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 17.5% on the buyer's premium.

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