John Strange Spencer-Churchill

John Strange Spencer-Churchill

Major John Strange Spencer-Churchill DSO TD (4 February 188023 February 1947) was the son of Lord Randolph Henry Spencer-Churchill and Jennie Jerome, and brother of Winston Churchill.

Early life and marriage

He was born at Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland (where his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was secretary to his grandfather, the Duke of Marlborough, who had been appointed Viceroy of Ireland in 1876), and educated at Harrow School. Although never completely verified, it has long been believed that he was not the biological son of Lord Randolph Churchill, but rather was fathered by one of his mother's numerous extramarital lovers (of most of whom her husband was aware) of the time, possibly an Irish nobleman of the same name, Col. John Strange Jocelyn, 5th Earl of Roden (1823–1897).

He married, in Oxford on 8 August 1908, Lady Gwendoline Theresa Mary Bertie (20 November 18857 July 1941), a Roman Catholic, the daughter of Montagu Bertie, 7th Earl of Abingdon and Gwendoline Mary Dormer.

Military career

He was commissioned into the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars in 1898. He fought in the Second Boer War between 1899 and 1900, where he was mentioned in dispatches, and was wounded.

He fought in the First World War, where he was again mentioned in dispatches. He also served on the staff of Field Marshall Lord French, General Sir Ian Hamilton (serving as Naval Liaison Officer for the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force) and Field Marshal Lord Birdwood (serving as Assistant Military Secretary at the headquarters of the Fifth Army). He reached the rank of Major.

He was awarded the French decorations of the Croix de Guerre and the Légion d'Honneur. He was awarded the British Distinguished Service Order in 1918.

He is buried near his parents and brother at St Martin's Church, Bladon, near Woodstock, Oxfordshire.


The couple had three children:

* John George Spencer-Churchill (31 May 1909 – 1992)
* Henry Winston Peregrine Spencer-Churchill (25 May 191319 March 2002)
* Anne Clarissa Churchill, Countess of Avon (born 28 June 1920), the widow of the former Prime Minister Anthony Eden.

Despite the "Ne Temere", apparently only their daughter was raised Catholic, the faith of her mother (the daughter of a convert).

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