'Mad' Jack Churchill: The Bagpipe Playing Soldier Who Hunted Nazis with a Longbow - Part 1
This episode of ridiculous history is brought to you by office. Depot Office depot has supplies and services for businesses of any size and they have a wide range of services services they can provide twenty four seven tech support. Print your marketing materials and even help you design your office with variety of furniture solutions. They also have all of the supplies. Your office office needs for ink and paper to cleaning and break room supplies. I'll tell you one thing that I never want to mess with again is figuring out. What kind of toner or in cartridges? My particular brand of printer needs office. Depot has you covered. Whether you're running a Home Office like I do or work in a large corporate setting they have you covered office. Depot is ready to help your business with knowledgeable associates over thirteen hundred stores or online at Office Depot Dot Com. It's not your fault you haven't achieved your diet and exercise goals. Chances Are you've you've been following bad advice. Well enough is enough. It's time for you to listen to the experts and get real results. I'm Tom Holland. Exercise physiologist and host fitness disrupted a groundbreaking podcast that debunks. The top exercising nutrition myths once and for all with science listened to fitness S.. Disrupted at Apple podcasts. I heart radio APP or wherever you listen to podcasts ridiculous histories production of iheartradio Any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed thanks so much for tuning in ridiculous historians. Welcome to the show. My name is Ben and that was a quote. Why like that makes me laugh I thought I I was hoping it was just coming directly from you and that was you just chastising people who are not properly accessorized with their sword. Oddly enough yet no you and I have a forgotton atvs day but our super producer Casey peg rem is probably still strapped. He's got two of them like across his back like a Ninja turtle at all time. Yeah for sure. Okay Ben. I'm going to read a little context Of about that that quote there that's true that is That is not a quotation quotation from me not one from Casey's thought one from you. It's just a quote that we all three happen to agree with the source of this quote is a a man named Lieutenant. Colonel John Mad Jack Churchill and he was not referring to a sword in a metaphorical cents. was he no he wasn't he was referring to ceremonial military sword. You know that's part of the whole get up It it. It really is more ceremonial than anything. I don't know there was too much sword. Play going on the battlefield but this is a man who was very very concerned with tradition. Yeah and his sword was a little bit less ceremonial than most right. He was Scottish and he had a Scottish broad sword that he took with him to battle in World War. Two this is a guy who is somehow not a character in Quentin Tarantino film yet and today on this episode. We're going to learn a little bit about Lieutenant Senate Colonel Churchill. And we're going to learn a little bit about why people call him mad. Jack and spoiler this is not An ironic nickname like little little John or something. No this really does have a little hints of like the Inglorious Bastards In it for sure you mentioned the Tarantino now connection it's because this was a man whose job was to hunt down and kill Nazis and he did it in a pretty creative way ask some of the bastards did in that And that Tarantino Picture Let's let's dive into Churchill's life we know he was born in Nineteen Zero. Oh six his father was in the colonial service He had engineering post and he worked in Admin and this meant that the family the moved around they had been in Sri Lanka or presidential longer they have been in Hong Kong and when Jack was born the family was luke aided in England. But there's still a little bit of disagreement there. Some historians will stay in the colony in Sri Lanka in some will say he was in Hong Kong. Anyhow his father's family came from Oxfordshire and his name reflects their inherited Geography their ancestry. Because is there on the Anglo. Scottish border in the highlands. So he actually had His his full birth name is is much longer than just is John Churchill. Oh absolutely Mr Bill and along name. Indeed he was christened John Malcolm Thought Fleming Churchill see I miss those days days you know how many people get five names from the jump. I mean it it certainly on the table. You know. It's not really done but I think we should bring that back. It has an air of gravitas to it. Yes sort of setting up your child for success as some sort of dictator or at the very least a a minor political player. It also gives you a moment to pause you know when your name is officially announced. Now it's this the parade of ideas. If most people in the states have what I would say on average three names first middle and last all I'm saying is it's good to have options. Oh yeah that you think about that too. Like we've all had friends. I imagine who later in life choose one of their names to be. They're go to name. You might have a guy whose name is fergus. Jeremy Vanderschmitt and growing up. He doesn't WanNa be called FERGUS. So He's Jeremy in school but then it gets the Lakers college age and he's like into beat poetry stuff and he's like now in Ferguson. Or Fergie perhaps joins the black eyed peas But here's the thing though. Where does Jack Jack come in? You've got John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill and then he ends up with Jack Jack Short for Jack must be short for John. That makes no sense. Same number of syllables. I don't under- it's like Dick and Richard Back. Come from no idea. 'cause rich was right there. Riches in the front somebody. Somebody went out of their way to call their childhood. Dick I would agree with that You know the the child probably had a bad attitude You know but here's the thing thing Jack's father had had a very pithy little simple to the point name was Alec and when Jack Was Four Alec became the Director of Public Works in Hong Kong and They moved we moved his family to Asia and they lived there for several years until nineteen nineteen seventeen In that is when young Jack became fascinated by exploration he was kind of given given free rein to just roam the city at will And when he finally went back to England he wanted to keep that going. You know he'd already uh he had this thirst for exploration that he could not easily quench. Yeah and we don't know too much about the life and adventures of Young Mad Jack Churchill but we know a few things he graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in nineteen twenty six and after that when he was only twenty years old he was shipped off to Burma with the Manchester Regiment and he also took some time. I'm to do some road trips. He drove his motorcycle around the region and while he was there we know that he learned to play the bagpipes types perhaps got a little bit obsessed with them. I mean there's really no way to just casually interested in the Bagpipes Ben. That's at least how I feel about it. You know once you go so when you get in with the bagpipes you really got to become a total pipe. Head bag head Bibi bag head just because Piper doesn't work in Pipette has some sort of drug connotation probably what's the name of the the thing that you blow into the Komo. The Shan't the chanter the Thomas I duNNo. Why is that a hat? That's the hat. These sound these legit. I know he don't blow into the bag. The managers take some of the year. I do also know the bagpipes can sound good but only in the hands of a professional. That's my point it's sort of like Playing the harp or something. You can't be a casual harpist or the oboe is really difficult. It's also you gotTa have your almost sure Ooh just the way you hold your mouth To to make the blows. Yeah Yeah Yeah I mean even in the even the violin can sound ugly in the hands of a novice rushed me. Did I mean as a as a as a young violinist myself I have been around many Louis did group lessons for Violin. That's all the little kids up to the older kids. The little kids who is hard is it like t-ball versus little league to the little kids have special violins. You know it's funny the very little kids before they even get a violent they get a little box with a ruler tape to it and like a stick and learn how to like bow and like you know do the the positions and all that stuff do you still have yours. I Dunno my stick box. I do have my violin in a closet it's covered in duct tape because I was in like sort of Punky Heidi band for a while and I had a pick up that I just kind of taped onto in the very diy. Tom Morello he kinda way But anyway The Bagpipes. It really called too two young Jack and During his motorcycle exploration days he also got into archery and in the thirties. He spent some time in Kenya. In Ja and the roby and Kenya. He was a newspaper editor. He be was a male model He again used his archery skills to get spots in films like the thief of Bagdad which is quite famous than a Yank at Oxford where he served as an extra right and there's a little bit of context. We have to paint here because commercial ended up in Kenya in nineteen thirty six because he left the army and he left the army because he was bored. Art Historian speculate at the lack of conflict. There was peaceful in the army for him. He was living a lot of these stories that people would dream about living or he was he was actually doing things. That people would write about and fantasize about this episode of ridiculous history. The street is brought to you by office. Depot Office depot has supplies and services for businesses of any size. I speak to this personally as a college student when I was a business. The size of one office depot provides twenty four seven tech support it. Lets you print your own marketing marketing materials and it can help you design your office with a bunch of furniture solutions. They also have exactly the supplies. Your office needs from Your Home Office to a commercial setup. They've got the ink. They've got the paper they've got the cleaning. They've got the break room supplies. So when I was setting up my the Home Office I went straight to office depot because I had a ton of stuff I needed to get and I wanted to get it all in one place but don't take my word for it see for yourself. Office depot is ready to help your business with knowledgeable associates in over one thousand three hundred stores or online at Office Depot Dot Com. This episode of ridiculous history is brought to you by office. Depot Office depot has supplies and services for businesses of any size. I you speak to this personally as a college student what I was a business the size of one Office Depot provides twenty four seven tech support. It lets let's you print your own marketing materials and it can help you design your office with a bunch of furniture solutions. They also have exactly the supplies. Is Your Office needs from Your Home Office to a commercial setup. They've got inc.. They've got the paper they've got cleaning. They've got the break room supplies. So when I was setting up my Home Office I went straight to office depot because I had a ton of stuff I needed to get and I wanted to get it all in one place but don't take my word for it see for yourself. Office depot is ready to help your business with knowledgeable associates in over one thousand three hundred stores or online at office. This depot dot com in the lack of military conflict. He became obsessed obsessed with his two great loves he. Instead of spending time killing people for the British Empire. He spent his time Practicing the bagpipes and getting better and better at archery in fact he became an award-winning Bagpipe EST and an award-winning Archer. That's right in nineteen thirty eight. There was a military bagpipe competition. Because let's not forget we can't bury this a little bit The bagpipes were to the Scottish sort sort of the way like marching drums and bugles life's and the pfeiffer whatever it's like what you would lead the charge with you know because you can hear it for miles and and it's a very specific sound and like you said it really is when done correctly Like our boy. Jonathan Davis from the band corn So skilfully does it can be a very interesting testing sound. Actually my foot my favorite eighties Musical breaks is in the song under the Milky Way by the church. Yeah it's got a Bagpipe Solo and I think it's really cool cool. They pull it off it off and I think you're being very generous and diplomatic by saying is an interesting sound because some people might get mad me here folks but I I will advance to you that a good at least one out of five times. You hear bagpipes in the wild. They're not ECHINA- sound great. No you're probably right Ben. I do love the name of the place where this This military piping competition took place in nineteen thirty eight it was called Aldershot. Tattoo you And it actually set off a bit of a scandal Because he was in fact an Englishman and he was better at the bagpipes. Then many of the Scotsman that were in the competition he was a real upset. Yeah he was He was a surprise second. Place winner a bit of a dark horse candidate did it. And then the next year nineteen thirty nine. He entered an archery competition the world archery championships in Oslo Oslo Norway and he also got second place there keep in mind he still easterly young guy when this is all happening. He's in his twenties. He seems is set to live this life of a roaming adventurer until nineteen thirty nine the dawn of World War Two indeed the infamous infamous invasion of Poland by German forces At which point he was forced to go back to his post In the British army and Become a part of the war effort. where he joined the British Expeditionary Force to France and he. I don't know how this worked like as you would think you know the military super regimented. And they kind of you know there's everything's issued and The and everything from the uniform to the weapons and but they let him use his archery skills on patrol which I think is really fascinating. Then he must have really showed them what he could do and convince them that. Hey this is my my weapon of choice and it can be a a very deadly one. Yeah that's correct. You're not mysterious. He was literally using a bow in war as odd as that might sound. The Bo actually held up pretty well against the the contemporaneous firearms at the time. Let's remember a bow and Arrow is absolutely silence and There's an article in History Dash UK dot com that Sites the stat dat that it is highly accurate as well up to two hundred yards. So it's essentially like a silent sniper rifle and vice vice dot com. Has this great article about mad. Jack that describes some of his guerrilla tactics so right after the allied ride retreat to Dunkirk in mid nineteen forty magic starts practicing his shoot move stick and move guerrilla tactics. He has he stages his raids he gets awards for his bravery. He gets clipped by machine gunfire and survives. And this is okay. Ah Casey maybe can help us out with some Tarantino esque sound choose. That'll pop up here whenever we say there's a Tarantino moment here's a Tarantino moment one time Mad Jack is watching German forces move from a tower in a tiny village leppin yet and magic when when he sees the group moving takes his Longbow and he pulls it back and then he shoots a Nazi sergeant straight through the chest with a barbed arrow and then after that Arrow right after that Arrow His infantrymen who were hanging with him. Just mow the place down with bullets. Light light him up and I guess a barbed era would make it impossible to pull it out without just absolutely doing irreparable damage to your heart's not a nice way to go. I mean think about how painful would be He then was able to rejoin his company and led them across enemy. Lines hines under cover of night Even though he was nursing that That shoulder shot. Yeah Yeah and this is the thing earlier. I said he had been clipped with machine gene gunfire but there's something understanding anybody who was unfortunate enough to have been shot and survived listening in the audience. Today you know exactly what I mean when I say that the movies are lying to you everyone. Every single person alive is genuinely startled by even a flesh flesh wound from a quote unquote flesh wound from a machine gun or a firearm. It hurts it's dangerous And the weird thing is sometimes. I think this explains Mad Jack. Sometimes when people are shot the adrenaline that they're experiencing that's flooding their body. It keeps them from noticing the pain until much later so he might have not even noticed he had been shot right and until much later but This famous Longbow incident makes him the only British soldier to have felled an enemy with a longbow during World War. Two that for most people. That's enough now. You're in the history books right now. You can retire go back to being a male model play bagpipes in in Orientalist Phil. Yeah atop your Your motorcycle you know. I mean really really interesting guy for sure so advancing a little bit of time. Nineteen forty one when Churchill Actually Chalet put himself forth as a volunteer for this new elite squad of British commandos He actually really helped launch a raid. Very successful raid on a Nazi garrison And and some of their supply stores stores and they had a fish oil factories as well at various. Oy In vogue soy. I imagine this is one of these little what what. He called little accents that I am unfamiliar with in the Norwegian language. Tiny Oh oh and then also with an X.. Through at which I love so I don't McCoy now how those how those add to the pronunciation so we we always try to do our best This is an island right. So this Nazi garrison was on the the island of in Norway and So his commando group British Number Three Battalion landed on December twenty seven in one thousand nine hundred forty one and was to the sound of those those iconic bagpipes. Yes it's the drone that really sets them apart. Let's this big break down. Really quick the components of a bagpipe. You got the bag that you have to keep pumping because as you're pumping and that's what's up you know circulating air to create that drone and then you are blowing into it in between playing on the flutie part which I think is called the called the blow stick is it really called the blow literally called the blow stick. When what's the other part is twinned others visitors? Chanter Rian Torri attitude. That's what I was in bumbling blows so that's the part that There but then there's the again the flutie bit that makes sort of the melody while the drone is created by inflating and deflating the giant bag. So you have that combination of almost just that drone of doom. You know on the low end that just keeps going. It's just endless. And then you have that kind of creepy melody up top correction the blow stick is its own thing the chanter separate right. The chancellor I believe is the flu depart. The chanter is the flutie part that that that produces the melody notes and they're also there's also the tuning slide not to be confused a blow stick. I believe is what you have to continuously switch over to inflates. Yeah to get the bag to before the seventh daughter. I brought you here to prepare you. Condition your mind and body so while the magic it is the family trade. I'm teaching you so that you we'll have the skills to survive. That is a gift from your family that I have been entrusted to deliver the seventh seventh daughter. Listen on the iheartradio APP apple podcasts. Or wherever you get your podcast available now from Iheart a new series presented by t mobile for business the restless ones join me. Jonathan Strickland as I explored the coming technological revolution and the business leaders who stand right on the cutting edge edge. There are certain decision makers that are restless. They know there is a better way to get things done and they are ready. Curious excited for the next technological the logical innovation to unlock their vision of the future. These restless ones are in pursuit of bigger better stronger. They seek new partners it's new strategies new processes they pursue innovative platforms and solutions to propel their teams businesses and industries. Forward in each episode will learn more from the restless ones themselves and dive deep into how the five G. Revolution could enable their teams to thrive the restless ones is now available on the iheartradio. Did you APP or wherever you listen to podcasts. So he's doing this in the middle of a war. Due in part is very the important part Bagpipe mechanics aside. Yeah so you know. The Nazis heard that and as far as they're concerned that's the sound of their own demise. The sound of Doom writes the case if we can. Let's let's play a clip if we can of the the song that that magic played. It's it's called the march of the Cameron men. So Casey off Mike. You said something interesting about that while we were playing. What's your take? Well I just said it. Sounds like every other bagpipe competition. I've ever heard my life and I said because of that drone right right. Yeah this is the the the the the elements are just really. There's really no way around it hard to escape it and I feel like I should just be watching like a parade and a movie where something's going on. People are glaring at each other. May that's right. And then Mel Gibson is in the background going exactly so something like like that does happen. This is another Tarantino moment if we if we ever managed to get that sound Q.. As he hits the shore he stops playing the bagpipes a he throws throws them somewhere probably tucks him behind his back. I don't know and he jumps out of the boat. He lobs grenades at the German forces. He draws his his freaking garage sort screens and then runs into the battle. Yeah ironically this was known as operation archery. He didn't seem to employ his His Ninja Silent Bo Skills and this one you wanted to go straight into the fray and I mean it really was kind kind of almost like a kamikaze mission you know. He was just blasting his way into the. You know the the fray without any sense of self preservation at all. It's really the screaming you know. I mean good. Lord Image here is very very visceral. And we're not exaggerating because it turns out. There's actually some film footage that you can find of the raid and then of Jack himself playing his bagpipes Ondeck after the whole Shebang very fact. Let's let's just play. I know we're Clip Heavy v this episode of You guys want to hear this. I loved it. Yeah as all look back to shaw the tell-tale fires blaze a victory message. That never can be told or written victory with a capital. It'll be and one that will be recorded indelibly and all history the intrepid Bagpiper who led the commandos in battle. Donald now leads them in advance of joy. It's a well earned diversion. They see a deck of cards and a friendly game or restful sleep all right okay. So here's what's this propaganda video. It's definitely worth your time to watch you. Some of you. Perfect strangers fans in the audience may have caught the freeze dance of joy. You can see the soldiers there I would say for for the era. What they're doing? Is You know you could call that getting down there getting down. Yeah what they're actually doing is Dancing a highland fling which is a very popular dance In Scottish culture. Do you lock elbows around in a circle. Lot of fancy footwork Famously portrayed in the highlander films yes I'm I'm kidding not really but In the franchise. I think it's it's a subtext. It may well be. Yeah there can only be one highland fling. We also know that this is crazy semi suicidal action earned. Churchill the military cross He did have another close call and another semi serious injury during this time but it was at the it was at the party after the battle. It's funny there's An article that we've been inciting They put the word demolition expert in quotes Because apparently a during this party When when Jack was drinking a bottle of wine this demolition quotation fingers expert accidentally set off a charge? I I wonder if he was drunkenly showing off or something a whole by Beer Maura bragging bragging about his His expertise and yeah that bottle of wine got got exploded did and shards of it were lodged in his forehead. But I mean as we know it's GonNa take a lot more than a few wine shards in the skull to To to get old Jack Act down so he was back to piping and slicing and you now are cheering Very quickly by nineteen forty three. He was in Italy for another campaign. Arching archery impose sound fun. Yeah I don't know though eating bowman he could be. I don't know I think it would be arch. Arch are cheering. Our CH- doesn't matter in arduous right. I don't mean we're going to have to look this up but now let's move forward. Well just make up a fun makeup of fun phrase describing describing that and and give us your pitch so yes you're correct in nineteen forty three. He is back on the road seeking blood and treasure. You're in the Great War. He has a reputation for being crazy at this point. There's no other way to say it. He is incredibly bellicose bellicose and aggressive. He is known for going on unofficial raids and counter attacks. I think something just got his dander up or his blood up and he would he would literally go through his crew or the people who are around him he would say things like you know you you you come with me. So we would pick a few soldiers is that he thought had grits and a willingness to die and these practices continue even when he becomes a commanding commanding officer Leading commandos in. This is where we get the iconic image of Mad Jack. He's got his broadsword around his waist. He's got his long bow and he's got arrows. He's carrying the bagpipes. Still and people who serve with him start to see him as an icon you know he is like a a superhero to that word gets around when you charge screaming into battle brandishing. A broad sword when that is very much the knack monistic weapon in those times. And like he's the he's the he's the crazy nut that that shoots Nazis with arrows. You know I mean like really the reputation absolutely preceded him so let's pause there. Let's make this as a matter of fact part one of the story of Mad Jack I like the idea of holding him for a moment beyond beyond time just this image of a real life superhero a source of inspiration as something that that rallied elite. People just seeing this guy on the battlefield probably kept some people going you know. Oh absolutely I mean he he didn't. It wasn't the kind of madness you know cause people to not WANNA be around. It was the kind of madness that would rally other people around his absolute courage and bravado and just he was a real character. Turn as we are going to hear much more about in part to well. Germans didn't WANNA be around. No Germans didn't want to be around him but he wanted to be around them and give them a good slice which they clearly had come in. So what exactly happened to Matt. Jack what did he tell his followers to scream on the battlefield and what are the other Tarantino moments of his strange bloody career. Oh there's going to be quite a few my friends and you'll find out when you the tune in for our next episode in the meantime huge. Thanks super producer. Casey pegged Alex Williams who composed our theme research associate Gabe Luger for hipping S.. Two this incredible story of blood treasure and bravado big big thanks of course do Christopher Haas. YODA's to Eve's Jeffco huge. Thanks as Always Young Whistles Aka the Quiz Irineo Aka the Wiz Meister also known in some circles. Jonathan Strickland I hear he's buying the franchise of quiz knows sub shops finally good. You know what I like about them. As the heat the sandwich as the defacto starting point it's toasted there's is no option you can't get an UN- toasted sandwich equipment. They'd ask you to leave. Yeah well Geno they should they really should. It's barbaric Jonathan. If you're listening don't screw that up for me seriously for more podcasts. From iheartradio radio visit the iheartradio APP apple podcasts. Or wherever you listen to your favorite shows this episode of ridiculous history is brought to you by office. Depot Office depot has supplies and services for businesses of any size and they have a wide range of services they can provide twenty four seven tech support. Print your marketing materials and even help you design your office with variety of furniture solutions. They also have all of the supplies. Your office needs for ink and paper to cleaning and break room supplies. I'll tell you one thing that I never one half to mess with again is figuring out what kind of toner cartridges. My particular brand of printer needs office. Depot has you covered. Whether you're running a Home Office just like I do or work in a large corporate setting they have you covered office. Depot is ready to help your business with knowledgeable associates over thirteen hundred stores or online at Office Depot Dot Com twenty. Seven club is a new podcast of famous musicians who died prematurely. In sometimes mysteriously at the age of twenty seven this podcast is hosted by me. Jake Brennan Creator and host of the hit music and true crime. podcast disgrace them season one features twelve episodes of the life and Death Jimi Hendrix. The Twenty Seven Club contains adult content and explicit language. You can listen to the twenty seven club on the iheartradio APP apple podcasts. Every podcast watch out for years.