South Africa’s Sunday Times Readers Decode Mystery of Churchill Photo

South Africa’s Sunday Times Readers Decode Mystery of Churchill Photo

Newly Revealed Photo Was to Be Sold at Auction

The Sunday Times is reporting on the curious case of a recently discovered Churchill photograph dating back to the time of Churchill’s service in the Boer War. The photo was found among the items to be put up at a London auction. Needless to say, the photo was pulled from the auction items, but the mystery remained. The photo is of a young Winston Churchill mounted on horseback and dressed smartly in a suit. There were few clues about the photo’s origin except for the note: “Winston Churchill after escape.”

From viewing the photograph, a series of readers was able to come forward to offer more information, including descendants of the original photographer. The photo was most likely taken on the second day of 1900 at Chieveley. Chieveley was a British camp located in the northern part of South Africa’s coastal KwaZulu-Natal province. Churchill was captured by Boers during an engagement and taken to Pretoria. However, he escaped and made his way fifteen miles to the south, where he was greeted by the British consul.

After a very swift recovery, Churchill returned to the front at Chieveley. In his new role as an assistant adjutant attached to the Light Horse Regiment, he was able to continue his work as a war correspondent for the Morning Post. There are conflicting reports about exactly how Churchill managed to get away from the prison camp at Pretoria. One reader claims that, given Churchill’s position as a nobleman and journalist, he was allowed to travel the camp freely based on his word of honor -- a fact he may have used to make his escape.