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John Churchill
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Military Personnel
    (May 26, 1650-June 16, 1722)
    Born in Devon, England, United Kingdom
    1st Duke and Earl of Marlborough
    Commanded British forces during the War of Spanish Succession (1702-1711)
    Won victories at the battles of Blenheim (1704), Ramillies (1706), Oudenarde (1708) and Malplaquet (1709)
    Ancestor of Winston Churchill
    He had an affair with Charles II's mistress, Barbara Villiers, and probably had a daughter out of wedlock with her.
    He helped secure the throne for James II, then abandoned him for William of Orange.
    Hedging his bets, he corresponded with the exiled James, asking for his pardon for deserting him, eventually leading to imprisonment in the Tower of London on suspicion of treason.
    His enemies accused him of prolonging the War of Spanish Succession for financial gain (since he was allowed to take 2.5% of the salaries of any foreign troops in English pay).
    His only son to survive infancy died of smallpox at age 17.
    He was popular with his men because of his concern for the welfare of the common soldier.
    Winston Churchill noted, 'He never fought a battle that he did not win, nor besieged a fortress that he did not take.'
    The Duke of Wellington said he could 'conceive nothing greater than Marlborough at the head of an English army.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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