Honours of Winston Churchill

  (Redirected from Duke of London)

The Right Honourable Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, DL, FRS, RA received numerous honours and awards throughout his career as a British Army officer, statesman and author.

Churchill's identification document as an Honorary Citizen of the United States

Perhaps the highest of these was the state funeral held at St Paul's Cathedral, after his body had lain in state for three days in Westminster Hall,[1] an honour rarely granted to anyone other than a British monarch or consort. Queen Elizabeth also broke protocol by giving precedence to a subject, arriving at the cathedral ahead of Churchill's coffin. [2] The funeral also saw one of the largest assemblages of statesmen in the world.[3]

Throughout his life, Churchill also accumulated other honours and awards. He was awarded 37 other orders and medals between 1895 and 1964. Of the orders, decorations and medals Churchill received, 20 were awarded by the United Kingdom, three by France, two each by Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain, and one each by the Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Libya, Nepal, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States. Ten were awarded for active service as a British Army officer in Cuba, India, Egypt, South Africa, the United Kingdom, France, and Belgium. The greater number of awards were given in recognition of his service as a minister of the British government.[4]

Coat of armsEdit

Coat of Arms of Winston Churchill as a Gentleman
Coat of arms of Sir Winston Spencer-Churchill

Churchill was not a peer, never held a title of nobility, and remained a commoner all his life. As the grandson of 7th Duke of Marlborough, he bore the quartered coat of arms of the Spencer and Churchill families. Paul Courtenay observes that "It would be normal in these circumstances for the paternal arms (Spencer) to take precedence over the maternal (Churchill), but because the Marlborough dukedom was senior to the Sunderland earldom, the procedure was reversed in this case." In 1817 an augmentation of honour was granted commemorating the victory of Blenheim by the 1st Duke.[5]

As Churchill's father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was the surviving second son of the 7th Duke of Marlborough, his arms should have been differenced, by strict heraldic rules, with a mark of cadency. Traditionally, this would have been a heraldic crescent. Those differenced arms would have been inherited by Winston Churchill. This never seems to have been used by Lord Randolph or Winston. As arms are used to differentiate two bearers, there doesn't seem to have been any confusion between Churchill's arms as a gentleman with many decorations and later Knight of the Garter, those of his brother as a plain gentleman, and his cousin, the Duke of Marlborough, which were adorned with the insignia of a duke. As a Knight of the Garter, Churchill was also entitled to supporters in his achievement. But, he never seems to have got around to applying for them.[6]

The resulting heraldic achievement is: quarterly 1st and 4th, Sable a lion rampant Argent on a canton of the second a cross Gules (Churchill); 2nd and 3rd, quarterly Argent and Gules, in the second and third quarters a fret Or, over all on a bend Sable three escallops of the first (Spencer); in chief, on an escutcheon Argent a cross Gules surmounted by an inescutcheon Azure charged with three fleurs-de-lys Or.[5]

When he became a Knight of the Garter in 1953, his arms were encircled by the garter of the order, and at the same time the helms were made open, which is the mark of a knight. His motto was that of the Dukes of Marlborough, Fiel pero desdichado (Spanish for "Faithful but unfortunate").[7]

Honorary citizenEdit

On 9 April 1963, United States President John F. Kennedy, acting under authorization granted by an Act of Congress, proclaimed Churchill the first honorary citizen of the United States. Churchill was physically incapable of attending the White House ceremony, so his son and grandson accepted the award for him.[8][9]

He had previously been made an honorary citizen of the City of Paris on 12 November 1944 while visiting the city following the liberation. During the ceremony at the Hôtel de Ville he received the Nazi flag that once flew from the Hôtell de Ville.[10]

Proposed dukedomsEdit

In 1945, King George VI offered Churchill to make him the Duke of Dover – the first non-royal dukedom to be created since 1874 – as well to become a Knight of the Garter; however, Churchill turned down both.[11][12][13] Since 1900, only members of the British royal family have been made dukes, so the offer was exceptional.[14]

In 1955, after retiring as prime minister, Churchill was again offered elevation to the peerage in the rank of duke by Queen Elizabeth II. By custom, prime ministers retiring from the Commons were usually offered earldoms, so a dukedom was a sign of special honour. One title that was considered was Duke of London, a city whose name had never been used in a peerage title. Churchill had represented divisions of three different counties in Parliament, and his home, Chartwell, was in a fourth, so the city in which he had spent most of his time during fifty years in politics was seen as a suitable choice. Churchill considered accepting the offer of a dukedom but eventually declined it; the lifestyle of a duke would have been expensive, and accepting any peerage might have cut short a renewed career in the Commons for his son Randolph and in due course might also prevent one for his grandson Winston.[15] (At the time there was no procedure for disclaiming a title; the procedure was first established by the Peerage Act 1963. Upon inheriting a peerage, either Randolph or Winston would immediately be unseated from the House of Commons).[16] In the event, Randolph never sat in Parliament after losing his only seat there in 1945 and indeed was to die only three years after his father, so the dukedom would have had no effect on his career. Randolph's oldest son Winston did serve in the Commons from 1970 until 1997, but by that time provision existed for disclaiming a hereditary peerage, as long-serving MP Tony Benn had done in 1963 upon the passing of the above mentioned act.

Political and government officesEdit

Other honoursEdit

Painting of Churchill in his air commodore's uniform
Churchill in his Trinity House uniform with Field Marshal Alan Brooke (left) and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, 1944

In 1913, Churchill was appointed an Elder Brother of Trinity House as result of his appointment as First Lord of the Admiralty.[19]

In 1922 he was invested as a Companion of Honour and in 1946 he became a member of the Order of Merit. In 1953 he was invested as a Knight of the Garter, the highest ranking British order of knighthood.

On 4 April 1939, Churchill was made an Honorary Air Commodore of No. 615 (County of Surrey) Squadron ("Churchill's Own") in the Auxiliary Air Force.[20] In March 1943, the Air Council awarded Churchill honorary wings.[14] He retained the appointment until 11 March 1957 when 615 Squadron was disbanded. He did however continue to hold the rank of Honorary Air Commodore.[21] He frequently wore his uniform as an Air Commodore during World War II.

He was the Colonel of the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (his old regiment) and after its amalgamation, the first Colonel Queen's Royal Irish Hussars which he held until his death in 1965. He was also Honorary Colonel of the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars.[citation needed]

From 1941 to his death, he was the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, a ceremonial office. In 1941 Canadian Governor General Alexander Cambridge, Earl of Athlone, swore him into the King's Privy Council for Canada. Although this allowed him to use the honorific title The Honourable and the post-nominal letters PC, both of these were trumped by his membership in the Imperial Privy Council which allowed him the use of The Right Honourable.[14] He was also appointed Grand Seigneur of the Hudson's Bay Company in December 1955.[citation needed]

In 1945, he was mentioned by Halvdan Koht among seven candidates that were qualified for the Nobel Peace Prize. However, he did not explicitly nominate any of them. Actually he nominated Cordell Hull.[22]

On July 4, 1947 Churchill was admitted as an hereditary member of the Connecticut Society of the Cincinnati. He was presented with his insignia and diploma when he visited Washington, D.C. on January 16, 1952.[23]

Churchill held the office of Deputy Lieutenant (DL) of Kent in 1949.[citation needed]

In 1953, he was awarded two major honours: he was invested as a Knight of the Garter (becoming Sir Winston Churchill, KG) and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values".[24]

He was Chancellor of the University of Bristol as well as in 1959, Father of the House, the MP with the longest continuous service.[25]

In 1956, Churchill received the Karlspreis (known in English as the Charlemagne Award), an award by the German city of Aachen to those who most contribute to the European idea, and European peace.[26]

In 1961 the Chartered Institute of Building[27] named Churchill as an Honorary Fellow for his services and passion for the construction industry.

In 1964, Civitan International presented Churchill its first World Citizenship Award for service to the world community.[28]

Churchill was also appointed a Kentucky Colonel.[29][30]

When Churchill was 88 he was asked by the Duke of Edinburgh how he would like to be remembered. He replied with a scholarship like the Rhodes scholarship but for the wider masses. After his death, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established in the United Kingdom and Australia. A Churchill Trust Memorial Day was held in Australia, raising $4.3 million. Since that time the Churchill Trust in Australia has supported over 3,000 scholarship recipients in a diverse variety of fields, where merit, either on the basis of past experience, or potential, and the propensity to contribute to the community have been the only criteria.[citation needed]

One of four specially made sets of false teeth, designed to retain Churchill's distinctive style of speech, which Churchill wore throughout his life, is now kept in the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.[31]


Ships, trains and tanksEdit

USS Winston S. Churchill

Two Royal Navy warships have been named HMS Churchill: the destroyer USS Herndon (I45) (1940–1944) and the submarine HMS Churchill (1970–1991).

On 10 March 2001, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81) was commissioned into the United States Navy. The launch and christening of the ship two years earlier was co-sponsored by Churchill's daughter, Lady Soames.[32]

In addition, the Danish DFDS line named a car ferry Winston Churchill and The Corporation of Trinity House named one of their lighthouse tenders similarly. A sail training ship was named Sir Winston Churchill.

In September 1947, the Southern Railway named a Battle of Britain class steam locomotive No. 21C151 after him. Churchill was offered the opportunity to perform the naming ceremony, but he declined. The locomotive was later used to pull his funeral train, and is now preserved in the National Railway Museum, York.

The Churchill tank, or Infantry Tank Mk IV; was a British Second World War tank named after Churchill, who was Prime Minister at the time of its design.[33]

Parks and geographic featuresEdit

The Winston Churchill Range in the Canadian Rockies was named in his honour. Also in Canada, Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park and Churchill Lake in Saskatchewan were named after him.

Churchill Park, Glendowie, New Zealand.

Churchill National Park in Australia which was established on 12 February 1941 as the Dandenong National Park, was renamed in 1944 in his honour. Churchill Island and Churchill Island Marine National Park in Victoria, Australia were also named after him.

The Churchill Park (Danish: Churchillparken) located in central Copenhagen, Denmark, is named after Churchill in commemoration of Churchill and the British help to Denmark in the liberation of Denmark during World War II.


Avenue Winston Churchill - Charenton-le-Pont

Winston Churchill Avenue is a major road in Portsmouth. Basingstoke and Salford both have roads called Churchill Way.

The south end of Churchill Avenue in Ottawa was the site of the Churchill Arms Motor Hotel, which many residents of Ottawa remember for its three-storey exterior painting of the silhouette of Winston Churchill.[34] Churchill Avenue was itself renamed from Main Street after the Second World War. In St. Albert, Alberta Sir Winston Churchill Ave runs east to west through the city. Winston Churchill Boulevard in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada is also named in his honour.

In Gibraltar the main road connecting the border with Spain and the airport to the city centre is called Winston Churchill Avenue.

In Norway streets in the cities of Trondheim and Tromsø are named in Winston Churchill's honour. Namely "Churchills vei"[35] in Jakobsli, Trondheim and "Winston Churchills vei" in Tromsø.

Many smaller, less significant streets and public buildings, particularly in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have been named in honour of Churchill.


Many schools have been named after him:

Ten schools in Canada are named in his honour: one each in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Kingston, St. Catharines, Lethbridge, Calgary, Toronto (Scarborough) and Ottawa also in London,Ont. Churchill Auditorium at the Technion is named after him.

At least four American high schools carry his name; these are located in Potomac, Maryland; Livonia, Michigan; Eugene, Oregon and San Antonio, Texas.

Buildings, public squares and infrastructureEdit

The national and Commonwealth memorial to Churchill is Churchill College, Cambridge, which was founded in 1958 and opened in 1960. It is also home to the Churchill Archives Centre, which holds the papers of Sir Winston Churchill and over 570 collections of personal papers and archives documenting the history of the Churchill era and after.[36]

In London, Churchill Place is one of the main squares in Canary Wharf.

The Churchill occupying an entire block in New York City's Midtown Manhattan neighborhood is a residential building named after him, and features his portrait in the lobby and rooftop pool (rare for NYC residences).[37]

The city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada has a stop on the Edmonton LRT system and a public square named in his honour. Churchill Square, is the main square in that city and was renovated in 2004 for the city's 100th anniversary of incorporation. There are several other squares named after him, including one in Brighton, England and one in Newfoundland.

Náměstí W. Churchilla (Winston Churchill Square) is located behind The Main Train Station in Prague, Czech Republic.

The neighbourhood of Churchill Park, St. John's.

The town of Churchill, Victoria.

A large dock in the Port of Antwerp was named after him by Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremony in 1966.

Churchill Park (Lautoka) stadium, Fiji, and Energlyn and Churchill Park railway station in Wales are named in his honour.

Other objectsEdit

On the right, the black border used by Pol Roger on bottles shipped to the UK from 1965 to 1990.

He appeared on the 1965 crown, the first commoner to be placed on a British coin.[38] He made another appearance on a crown issued in 2010 to honour the 70th anniversary of his Premiership.[39]

Pol Roger's prestige cuvée Champagne, Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, is named after him. The first vintage, 1975, was launched in 1984 at Blenheim Palace. The name was accepted by his heirs as Churchill was a faithful customer of Pol Roger. Following Churchill's death in 1965, Pol Roger added a black border to the label on bottles shipped to the UK as a sign of mourning. This was not lifted until 1990.[40]

The Julieta (7" × 47), a size of cigar, is also commonly known as a Churchill.[citation needed]


Churchill has been included in numerous polls, mostly connected with greatness. Time named him its Man of the Year for 1940,[41] and "Man of the Half-Century" in 1949.[42] A BBC survey, of January 2000, saw Churchill voted the greatest British prime minister of the 20th century. In 2002, BBC TV viewers and web site users voted him the greatest Briton of all time in a ten-part series called Great Britons, a poll attracting almost two million votes.[43]


A statue of Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, London

Many statues have been created in likeness and in honour of Churchill. Numerous buildings and squares have also been named in his honour. The most prominent example of a statue of Churchill is the official statue commissioned by the government and created by Ivor Roberts-Jones which now stands in Parliament Square. It was unveiled by Churchill's widow, Lady Churchill, on 1 November 1973, and was Grade II listed in 2008.[44][45]

Winston Churchill V-sign monument in the New Orleans

Another Roberts-Jones statue of Churchill displaying the V sign[46] is prominently placed in New Orleans (1977).

In June 2020 when anti-racism protests occurred in the United Kingdom during the George Floyd protests, the statue of Sir Winston Churchill located in Parliament Square was vandalised when a protestor painted graffiti on the statue reading “was a racist” underneath Churchill’s name which was crossed out by the same vandal which wrote the sentence. A couple of days after this event took place the statue was cleaned and it did not sustain any permanent damage.

A bust of Churchill close to the British Embassy in Prague

In addition several other statues have also been made, including a bronze bust of Winston Churchill by Jacob Epstein (1947), several statues by David McFall at Woodford (1959), William McVey outside the British embassy in Washington, D.C. (1966), Franta Belsky at Fulton, Missouri (1969), at least three from Oscar Nemon: one on the front lawn of the Halifax Public Library branch on Spring Garden Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia (1980); one in the British House of Commons (1969); a bust of his head along with that of Franklin Roosevelt commemorating the Quebec Conference, 1943 next to Port St. Louis in Quebec City (1998); and one in Nathan Phillips Square outside of Toronto City Hall (1977), and Jean Cardot beside the Petit Palais in Paris (1998).[47] A statue of Churchill and Roosevelt, sculpted by Lawrence Holofcener is located in New Bond Street, London. There is an oversized bust of Churchill at the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, New York. It is paired with a similar bust of President Roosevelt.

After Churchill was declared the greatest Briton of all time in the BBC poll and television series Great Britons (see above), a statue was erected in his honour and now stands at the BBC television studios. Churchill is also memorialised by many statues and a public square in New York, in recognition of his life, and also because his mother was from New York. His maternal family is also memorialised in streets, parks, and neighbourhoods throughout the city.

Orders, decorations and medalsEdit

British orders and medalsEdit

Foreign honoursEdit



Service medalsEdit

Military ranks and titlesEdit


Honorary degreesEdit

Churchill received many honorary doctorates from British universities as well other universities in the world, e.g.:

Other distinctionsEdit

Membership in lineage societiesEdit

Freedom of the CityEdit

Churchill received a worldwide total of 42 Freedoms of cities and towns, in his lifetime a record for a lifelong British citizen.[134]


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