The British Officer Who Went Into Battle with a Bow & Arrows and a Sword…. During WW2

From Damn Interesting:

In 1940, some of the German commanders who were overseeing the push into France began to receive seemingly random reports of soldiers having been killed with broad-head arrows or hacked with a English Claymore. Effective enough weapons it would seem, but archaic even in that day and age. They likely could have guessed the bowman was an English soldier, but they couldn’t have appreciated these as the calling card of the rabid eccentric, Captain Jack Churchill.

In another attack Mad Jack and one of his enlisted men managed to sneak up on a pair of German sentries making rounds. He leapt at them, sword in hand and shouted, “haende hoch!” The Germans obeyed by dropping weapons and raising their hands. One sentry was taken back to camp while the other had Jack’s belt wrapped round his throat, and together they continued the rounds. At each guard post his prisoner would say something to lull the guards into complacency, then a mustached-mad-man with a sword would jump out and order them to drop their arms. All in all, the two Brits rounded up forty-two prisoners that night.

And from his Wiki entry comes this gem:

Eccentric until the end, Churchill would toss his briefcase out of the window of the commuter train he rode home every day. Passengers and conductors were shocked because they didn’t know he was throwing the luggage into his own backyard as the train passed by. It saved him the trouble of carrying it all the way home from the station.


  1. I’m going to be looking for the book on this guy at the local library, barring that I’m sure Powells Books has it. That is just awesome, I can imagine how off-guard (so to speak) the Germans would be if someone with a freaking Claymore jumps out at them!

  2. The can be only one!

    I can see a bow and arrows but a claymore seems a little difficult to be lugging around from place to place, I guess he didn’t want to be caught with his pants down if a German with a zweihander popped up. On another note, aren’t claymores Scottish or is there an English version as well?

  3. I’m not a fan of restrictive basket hilts, though I suppose they’ve saved more than a few fingers over the years.

    This is probably the most awesome bit of WWII history I’ve ever heard of, even better than the escape kit monopoly games.

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