Two Valorous Officers and Their Integrity and Eccentric Ways: Evelyn Waugh and Randolph Churchill

Having recently read much of Captain Evelyn Waugh’s Diaries and Letters and Essays written during World War II, I knew that I could not briefly summarize their content and their manifold importance. But, as a result, I have come even more so now to honor him and his integrity as a risk-taking and valorous combatant officer. He was first in the Royal Marines and then in the British Commandos; and, finally, he served on a largely non-combatant Political-Diplomatic Mission to Tito’s Yugoslavia in 1944-1945. Waugh was thus placed under a comparably eccentric Commanding Officer, Major Randolph Churchill, who was both his own admittedly intermittent friend and also Winston Churchill’s own son and his only son.

Since Waugh was himself also an eccentric officer, his relationship with Randolph Churchill was often strained and brashly breached, while at the same time also being comic and ironical. Therefore, this essay proposes to depict some of this bristling and tumultuous but finally perduring friendship; also to show Evelyn Waugh’s enduring integrity as a Catholic military officer.

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