Their jackboots planted easy on the soft carpet of grass as they stepped with the apprehension unknown into the wood line. Led by a Sergeant armed with a submachine gun, the group of 10 scanned every part of the still vegetation ahead for the slightest irregularity.

The thought wasn’t lost on them. It was the second time in just over 20 years that Germany had invaded France. And they were doing what their comrades then did. Patrol. Only back then it was over a grassless expanse known as no man’s land in soggy mud coated uniforms, with doubt of what the future held against the hated British and French.

Churchill with longbowNow there was none of that. Their uniforms were as clean as when they first crossed the border. And, save for some weak, useless resistance, they were rolling up their traditional enemies in a combined arms march that was hurling them back to the English Channel in record time. It was early morning in May, 1940. Another dawn for the Blitzkrieg.

A force jerked the sergeant backwards spilling his weapon. He turned round at his men as he began to fall, blood squirting from his left eye socket under the arrow which killed him. He collapsed onto his face, weight breaking its wooden shaft as the muzzle flashes sent rounds in to the remaining group.

They never saw what killed them, their eyes still locked on their leader just as they began their death throes. The last earthly thoughts they offered was that of an arrow fired not from a soldier, but a hunter, who viewed them not as human, but game.

Churchill at the head of the column with his sword during a training exerciseJack Churchill rose from cover and followed his men to search the dead. He steadied the scabbard which held his trusty broadsword and surveyed the scene with the longbow resting against his knee, and pistol holstered at his side. He knew time was short and they must disappear again, keeping in contact with British forces as they continued to try and stem the German advance. More opportunities awaited for him to use his bow as long as the enemy stayed plentiful and he had enough arrows.

As they finished searching the bodies, his men couldn’t help but smile and know that they were led by one of the most fearless warriors the crown possessed. A man whose method of combat flew in the face of conventional thinking and whose colorful approach to fighting was respected by all who served with him.

Great Britain’s John Malcom Thorpe Fleming Churchill, better known as “Jack” was born in Hong Kong in 1906. After returning to England, he was educated at King William’s College, then Sandhurst Military Academy from which he graduated in 1926. He was posted to Burma and used this chance to ride a motorcycle across the entire Indian subcontinent, and also teach himself to play bagpipes.