Britain has a long history of proud military heroes. It's pretty certain that not many of them were as heroic - or mental - as John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill. He knew that all he needed to defeat Nazism was a song, a sword, and the largest cojones in existence. 'Mad Jack Churchill' wasn't called 'Mad Jack' for nothing.

It takes a certain type of crazy to face down Nazi machine guns armed with a bow and arrow, a Scottish broadsword, and some bagpipes.

Picture this; five Nazis are taking shelter behind a wall in Northern France looking for retreating British forces. Suddenly, one of them is skewered through the chest by a feathered arrow before rifles start to tear through the rest of them.

It was Jack Churchill that fired the arrow and it remains (unsurprisingly) the last longbow kill made by a British soldier.

This is part of a long list of bat-shit insane things that he achieved during his long military career. After killing the German officer with his arrow, he joined up with Commando forces in Norway to attack the Nazis from the sea. He leapt off the landing craft playing a tune on his bagpipes, threw a grenade, and the charged into battle with his sword.

For his part in that operation he was awarded the Military Cross.

He also took his broadsword, bagpipes and bow into battle in Italy, Yugoslavia, and Burma, and was sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He escaped the camp, was recaptured, escaped again and then walked all the way to Italy (Why not?).

He famously lived by the motto, 'any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed'.

'Mad Jack' or 'Fighting Jack' as he was also known, was born in Hong Kong in 1906 and trained at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in 1926 before joining the Manchester regiment. He also starred in quite a few movies and represented the UK at the Olympics (in archery, obviously).

It seems as if he enjoyed war quite a lot.

When the USA bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki before he could get to the Pacific front of World War Two he said: "If it wasn't for those damn Yanks, we could have kept the war going for another 10 years!"

Even after the war ended he found ways to continue his craziness. He packed up his pipes and sword and set off for Palestine, where he helped evacuate 700 Jewish people from danger. After he retired he took to throwing his briefcase out of the train window on his way home.

He told the confused train staff that he was throwing it into his garden to save carrying it from the station.

He died in 1996, which is good going for a 20th century soldier who never fought with a gun.

Mad Jack, we salute you.

Words by Tom Wood

Featured Image Credit: UK Government

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