Sent in December of 1899 by Boer police, the following telegram marked the beginning of a hunt for an escaped prisoner of The Boer War. The young man – a British war correspondent who walked with ‘a slight stoop’, had an ‘almost invisible’ moustache and was ‘unable to pronounce the letter S’ – happened to be Winston Churchill; recently imprisoned in Pretoria after surviving a train crash and heroically rescuing numerous fellow passengers. Of course, Churchill was never found by the authorities, and news of his bravery resulted in an incredible amount of British support and newspaper coverage.
Translated transcript follows.
Escaped prisoner-of-war Winston Spencer Churchill Englishman 25 years old about 5 foot 8 inches tall medium build walks with a slight stoop. Pale features. Reddish-brown hair almost invisible small moustache. Speaks through his nose and cannot pronounce the letter S. Had last a brown suit on and cannot speak one word of Dutch.