I was pottering around looking at information about the Women's Land Army in World War I and II (for an article I'm writing), and I found the above quotation from Winston Churchill. I know that Mr. Churchill is reviled in some quarters but I've always had a sneaking admiration for him. He failed miserably at school; his father didn't know what to do with him, in fact. I think that often happens with incipient genius.
Those superbly-charged brains sometimes do not fit in.
"Young Winston attended Harrow School, on the outskirts of London, where he was schooled in the classics. He hated most of his school time at Harrow and had little interest in learning Latin, Greek or mathematics. But he did love poetry, history and writing English essays."
"Winston was short in stature and very headstrong and stubborn. During his early school years, Churchill didn't get along well with other students. He recalled how he had to hide behind a tree when some other boys threw cricket balls at him."
Yet he learned English. Kept in a class for three times as long as anyone else, Churchill parsed sentences and stared at the blackboard for many hours. He owed a debt to Mr. Somervell who was charged with teaching the least likely boys the English language. The ones who were deemed stupid stayed with Mr. Somervell, and the others who were bright went on to tackle Latin and Greek.
"President John F. Kennedy summarized Winston S. Churchill's rhetorical grandeur with the statement that "In the dark days and darker nights when England stood alone--and most men save Englishmen despaired of England's life--he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle."
Well done Mr. Somervell. Your work will never be forgotten.