London, South Kensington
28 November 2011
CHURCHILL, Winston S. Autograph letter signed to his brother Jack, 'General Head Quarters, British Army in the Field', 19 November 1915, 4 pages, 8vo; envelope.
A WEEK AFTER HIS RESIGNATION FROM OFFICE, CHURCHILL JOINS THE ARMY ON THE FRONT LINE. Churchill complains of the 'severe responsibility without control' which has characterised his position (at the Duchy of Lancaster) since his dismissal from the Admiralty, attacking the 'folly, sloth & indecision' which have ruined the 'large conceptions' of the Allied war effort; he is determined not to return to any ministerial position for the remainder of the war unless he has 'plenary & effective executive power'; in the absence of this, he is returning to the army, his 'old profession & where as you know my heart has long been'. Reassuring Jack about his financial arrangements with [the banker Sir Ernest] Cassel who has offered 'unlimited credit' he concludes with a buoyant affirmation of 'a peace of mind to wh[ich] I have long been a stranger'.
Churchill had sent his final letter of resignation on 11 November. No longer in a position to influence policy on the war, he crossed to France on 18 November and, after meeting the Commander in Chief, Sir John French, obtained an immediate attachment to the Grenadiers, reaching the Front Line on the day after this letter. His service in France was to last for just five and a half months.
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