Churchill: The Greatest Communicator?

It's 50 years today since Sir Winston Churchill was laid to rest.

Over the past few days - and hopefully for a few more to come - newspapers and other media have featured profiles, recollections and analysis of the life and achievements of the man almost universally acclaimed as the Greatest Briton.

I'm not going to attempt to compete with what has already been said by others.

But in the modern age of sound bytes and catchy phraseology, I thought it might be fitting to reproduce a small number of the most famous lines from speeches delivered the Second World War, his finest hour.

Compiled by the BBC Archive, no further pre-explanation is surely required:


"I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."

First speech as prime minister, House of Commons, 13 May 1940


"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing-grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender!"

House of Commons, 4 June 1940, following the Dunkirk evacuation


"Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour'"

House of Commons, 18 June 1940, following the collapse of France


"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few"

Tribute to the Royal Air Force, House of Commons, 20 August 1940


"This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense"

29 October 1941


"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Speech in London following the victory at El Alamein in North Africa, 10 November 1942


The Greatest Communicator as well as the Greatest Briton?

It must surely be so.