How Winston Churchill talked wounded train driver into saving 60 British troops from capture in the Boer War by promising him his bravery would be rewarded - and then made sure it was

Mail Online | 10/1/2017 | Darren Boyle for MailOnline
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A bravery medal awarded at the behest of Winston Churchill to a train driver who tried to save the future Prime Minister from being captured during the Boer War has come to light.

A young Churchill roused wounded driver Charles Wagner and engine firemen Alexander Stewart into action after their armoured train was attacked and derailed by enemy soldiers.

Churchill - Newspaper - War - Correspondent - Wagner

Churchill, then a newspaper war correspondent, talked Wagner out of fleeing the scene and remain in his engine cab in order to clear the blocked line.

Under heavy fire, he and Stewart spent 50 minutes keeping the engine running so it could heave and shove overturned carriages out of the way.

Train - Troops - Board

The train steamed away with about 60 of the 100 British troops on board.

Unfortunately Churchill was not one of them as he had been shot at and then captured by a Boer soldier on horseback in the attack.

Weeks - Captivity - Latrine - Wall - Freight

Six weeks later the 25-year-old escaped captivity by climbing over a latrine wall. He stowed away on a freight train and hid in a mine to avoid re-capture.

His escape was celebrated back in Britain, helping him to later move into politics.

Years - Ordeal - Churchill - Home - Secretary

Ten years after the hair-raising ordeal while Churchill was Home Secretary, he made good on a promise he had made to the two men at the height of the attack and saw they were each awarded the Albert Medal.

Stewart's decoration was sold by his family over 20 years ago and has now been put up for sale in London for £20,000.

Spokesman - Auctioneers - Dix - Noonan - Webb

A spokesman for auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb said: 'Churchill's reputation for daring was established by the ambush of the armoured train and his subsequent escape from captivity.

'He became a nationally-known figure and he acknowledged that the episode smoothed his path to becoming a...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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