Winston Churchill: The Great Escape Part 10 | The Manhunt & Trainspotting

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

and uh the early morning hours of December thirteenth eighteen ninety nine at the stats model school in Pretoria South Africa Africa started out pretty normal. There was no great alarm being sounded. There were no soldiers rushing around frantically throwing open doors and cabinets and tearing apart the beds everything was serene almost almost but that would all change soon enough Winston Churchill had been gone about twelve hours by the time the first soldier entered the tiny. The room were Churchill's bed was according to author Candice Millard Quote. The soldier servant stepped into their room that morning carrying a cup of Coffee Afi. He spoke to what he believed was. Churchill still rapt motionless in blankets in his bed when there was no answer he simply set at the coffee on the chair and walked away and quote well. The reason. Churchill didn't respond to the soldier in his room with a cup of coffee that morning was because Churchill wasn't in the room that morning just like something straight out of a movie. The soldier was talking to a dummy made up of pillows and blankets. That was made to look like a person who is still in bed now. Like I said we've all seen this in a movie before and some of us have actually done this ourselves and I think most of us will attest that it does does work like a charm and it was how Dane and Brockie that had scrambled at the last minute to put this dummy together to buy Churchill some more. We're time but the distraction that this dummy provided didn't last very long and it was Churchill's own fault for Churchill. Will forever the pampered Aristocrat. He had forgotten to cancel the appointment that he had made with his barber for that very morning so so when his barber showed up at eight. Am for what had become Churchill's Regiment of shave and a haircut. Churchill was nowhere to be found and the a barber who insisted on knowing where Churchill was and who wanted to be paid he and the guard that had accompanied him inside the room. They started to check all the other rooms and then they checked the bathroom than everywhere else that they could think to look asking every man that they came across if they had seen Churchill. And just as you might expect the barber but more so all the bore guards. They started to run the spectrum of emotions. Now I they were puzzled where was churchill where had Churchill gone then. They became mildly concerned and then worried until all of that gave way to complete and utter panic as they slowly realised what had actually taken place place during the night somehow some way Winston Churchill had escaped and it was soon after this frenzied search that was conducted of the entire property. That the goodbye letter that we read a few episodes back that Churchill had left for his captors raptors. It was discovered under his pillow and it was right after that that the man hunt began when we left off last episode the then twenty five year old Winston Churchill had escaped the bore or prison walls only to find himself in the middle of the city of Pretoria at night with hundreds of miles still standing between him and true true freedom. Churchill target destination at that moment was Portuguese East Africa or what we know today as Mozambique but as we said Portuguese East Africa or his more specific target Della go obey was three hundred miles directly east of Pretoria right right on the Indian Ocean so no small distance and with no other means of transportation other than his legs Churchill decided to just go oh for it and start walking in that direction having faith that somewhere along the lines his loose plan for post escape travel would all come together right we keep talking about how Churchill simply trusted that no matter what happened he would make it. Even with the limited provisions that he had that being being some melted chocolate and a crumpled biscuit inside his pocket again somehow he would get where he needed to go and almost right in line with his vision just a few hours. After he started walking east through the South African velde he stumbled upon some train tracks and so he started to follow them and soon enough somewhere in the dark distance. He heard the rumblings of a train travelling his way and and in those few minutes between when he heard the train and when he finally saw its lights Churchill determined that he had no other options but to try and get on on that train and put some much-needed distance between him. And the boar- army. That would soon be pouring out of Pretoria looking for him so his decision was made in an instant he was getting on that train. The only question that thus remained in that moment was could he jumped on it. Well he was about to find out come hell or high water but Churchill thought that his odds of jumping the train. R- actually pretty good. The reason being is that Churchill had spotted the lights of a train station nations in the near distance just before he heard the din of the inbound train so Churchill knew that the train would have to be stopping at that station Shen and if he hustled and got to the other side of the station he could simply hop on that train as it slowly pulled out again after all it would take the train a bit of time to accelerate and get back up to full speed so churchill did hustle and he did get to the station before the train pulled in and he decided to hide in the bushes a little bit down from the station that he could hop on the train in the darkness of the Velde without anybody seeing him and so he waited there in the bushes for the train to whistle and then slowly chug forward toward him but Churchill was soon caught off guard by how fast the train actually accelerated out of the station and before he knew it. The train was almost back at full gallop as it got closer Oeser to him so it was going much faster than he thought it was going to be at that point and here are Churchill's own words capturing this moment in real time quote. The train train waited five minutes at the station and started again with much noise and steaming. I crouched by the track. I rehearsed the act in my mind. I must wait until the engine had passed otherwise I should be seen then. It must make a dash for the carriages Churchill continues quote the train started slowly but gathered speed much sooner than I had expected the flaring lights drew swiftly near the radical grew into roar. The dark mass hung for a second above me the engine driver silhouetted against his furnace glow. The black profile of the engine. The clouds of steam rushed past and quote and there. If we haven't mentioned awhile is one hell of a good example of the power of Churchill's own writing right. In my opinion he really can't paint scene for you. And then Churchill goes on to describe his attempt to jump jump on the train saying quote I heard myself on the trucks meaning. The train cars clutched at something missed. Clutched again missed again grabbed. Some sort of handhold was swung off my feet my toes bumping along the line and with a struggle seated myself on the couplings of the fifth fifth truck from the front of the train and quote and again right there the visual and the overall scene that he writes writes it. Just pops out at you and I can hear the train in my head and I can feel the intensity of the whole flailing allowed ordeal but ultimately as as you can hear Churchill made it onto the train and relief as temporary as it might be washed over him and he soon discovered that the trucks of the train were filled with sacks of goods which he could actually crawl under and Haydn Churchill says quote I crawled on top and burrowed in among them in five minutes. I was completely buried the sacks. Were warm and comfortable and quote but as soon as he was settled in and sufficiently hidden in his opinion. All the natural questions that one would ask oneself in that situation. They started to bounce around his mind. Signed Churchill writes of these questions quote. Where was the train going to? Where would it be unloaded? Would it be searched. Was It on the way to delegate obey what should I do in the morning and quote but then Churchill continues this line of thought almost dismissing the question saying quote Ah never mind that sufficient for the day was the luck thereof fresh plans for fresh contingencies. I resolved to sleep nor can I imagine a more pleasing lullaby than the clatter of the train that carries you at twenty miles an hour away from the enemies capital and quote and so sleep Churchill. Did he passed out on the train. Completely exhausted from the physical and mental stress of the whole escape scape but Churchill would awake sometime later. Not Knowing how long he had slept and having no idea how far he had traveled all he knew who was that. It was still dark out and that can only imagine how disoriented and how d stabilized Churchill must have been and when he woke up from asleep like that for Churchill goes on to say that for all the excitement and exhilaration that had filled him during the first part of his escape gape. When he woke up from that nap he was filled with worry and unease? He wasn't sure what his next step should be but he knew that he had to get off the train before the sun came up so that he could look for water without concern of being potentially seen and so he got up. He fought through the sacks that he was buried under he made his way to the edge of the train car and grabbed on an iron bar that was nearby he then waited for his moment with the sound of the wind and train cars loud in his ears in his own words quote. The train was running at a fair speed. But I felt it was time to leave it. I took hold of the iron handle at the back of the truck pulled strongly with my left hand and Sprang. My feet struck the ground in two gigantic strides and the next instant. I was sprawling the ditch considerably shaken but John hurt the train. My faithful ally of the night hurried on its journey and quote so Churchill got up and immediately began searching for water in the nearest gully and soon enough he found quote clear pool and he drank from it until he had his fill trying to prepare for all that lay ahead of him as the sun came up. He hit some bushes which became his home for pretty much the rest of the day as he wanted to stay hidden while the sun was up and during his stay in these bushes he had a close encounter with a nasty vulture as well as with a man who is hunting birds in the area but he was never seen or discovered and during his hiding he began to formulate a plan in in his head for getting out of four country and into Portuguese east Africa as soon as possible and so in formulating this plan. Churchill ritual assumed that the train he had just been on came through every night around the same time going in the same direction so the plan was simple. He would hide in the bushes of the velde during the day then. When night fell he would walk back to the train tracks and hop on the same scheduled train? When it came by him he would then ride the train for three or four hours covering sixty to eighty miles at a clip and then jump off the train again to find water and food before the sun came up then hide again during the day and he would simply repeat heat this safe cycle for four or five nights until he reached Portuguese East Africa and regained his freedom was the perfect plan? All right very simple done well not exactly for the next night when he wandered down to the tracks to wait for the train to come through against we could jump on it. He waited forever because no train ever came. He had no idea what had happened happened. But after hours of waiting there he decided to just start walking hoping to cover at least a little bit of distance before the Sun came up that next day as the sun came up on that second day he still wasn't seeing a single train passing him by and he finally finally understood why the reason was simple word was out on him. The message that he had escaped had been sent all the trains. Running out of through or near Pretoria had been shut down down as a result of his escape. The boars were committed to not letting Winston Churchill get very far and for a moment. Let's explore the impact that Churchill's escape had back at the stats model school in Churchill's own words quote early on Wednesday morning barely twelve hours. After I had escaped my absence was discovered and quote. Now as we said Hell L. Danun brockie had bought Churchill a little bit more time that morning after his escape by stuffing his bed with pillows and blankets making it look like he was still in in bed sleeping and again. It was Churchill's barber. That apparently wasn't fooled and reported him missing. First before they finally found the goodbye letter that Churchill himself had written and left under his pillow but truth be told despite their helping him how Dane and Brockie were pretty pissed I at Churchill for not only had Churchill left them behind essentially during the escape but Churchill's escape had virtually made their own future future escape nearly impossible given the guards. Were now all on high alert but it wasn't just the guards on high alert the whole whole country. It now seemed every bore soldier and civilian they all had one thing on their mind the finding and recapturing ring of Winston Churchill and here's Churchill's description of the boars reaction to his escape. The moment was discovered quote. The alarm arm was given telegrams with my description at great length were dispatched along the railways. Three thousand photographs were printed. A warrant was was issued for my immediate arrest. Every train was strictly searched. Every one was on the watch and quote and his description option which you just heard him refer to included the surface elements of course mentioning that all people quote with red hair and quote be examined Emond as Churchill's hair when he was younger was set to be Reddish in color and author candice. Millard also says that the descriptions of him included other elements that were aimed at embarrassing Churchill. Such as his quote stooping gate or that he has quote almost invisible moustache speaks six through. His nose cannot give full expression to the letter. S and does not know a word of Dutch and quote Millard also included the description from a telegram that went out about Churchill that said he quote occasionally makes a rattling noise in his throat and quote and of course when anything like this happens the rumor mill starts to swirl with theories about what happened sightings of the escapee in strange range places and all the rest and in Churchill's case some of the rumors surrounding his escape and where he was subsequently hiding included that he had disguised himself self as a woman to break out or that he had dressed up as and impersonated a transvaal police officer to evade detection and then one theory put forward is best captured. Churchill's own words quote. Finally it was agreed that I had never left. Pretoria I had it appeared changed clothes with a waiter and was now hiding in the house of some British sympathizer in the capital and quote. But as we all know now the truth was much simpler. Churchill had escaped by simply jumping over a wall when no one was looking he then walked out of town slowly as to not attract any attention and then jumped on a train for a few hours in the night before. Jumping hoping off-again to search for water. And so they're churchill was still wandering alone in the darkness trying trying to figure out how he could possibly make it all the way to Portuguese east Africa with all the trains and the country shut down and the whole country seemingly looking king for him as you can probably imagine hope was slowly fading for him in his own words once again painting the scene for us as he roamed the Velde in the night trying to figure out what to do next quote. Leaving the railroad. I fell into bogs and swamps and brush through high grass dripping with do that I was drenched to the waste. had been able to take little exercise during my months imprisonment and I was soon. I'm tired out with walking as well as from want of food and sleep. I felt very miserable and quote Churchill then states that at one point in order to avoid wearing himself out completely he quote lay down in a ditch to sleep he then continues a quote. I was nearly at the end of my tether. But then suddenly after he awoke and continued handed his trek eastward through the darkness of the countryside. Something in the distance caught his eye. Something was glowing on on the horizon. At first it appeared to be a fire of some sort but Churchill couldn't be sure from the distance that he was at so of course he kept walking toward it to get a better look and as he got closer after realizing what it actually was. He stopped to consider his options and this appraisal was grim. He had no food no water her no sleep no train to hop on and he was still a couple hundred miles between where he stood at that moment and true freedom in short he had no options except the one that now stood before him just a short distance away and so having no other choice in his estimation and no doubt saying to himself once again to your La dos Sir Winston Churchill rolled the dice. He stepped forward and decided to go for it and let the chips of fate. It fall where they may be picking up

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