He is acknowledged as Britain's greatest war-time prime minister and one of the 20th century's most celebrated orators.
But an essay discovered buried in an American archive shows that Winston Churchill was also convinced that aliens existed, believing the universe contained other "living, thinking creatures".
Most scientists now agree that some form of extra-terrestrial life exists in such a vast universe, but Churchill was writing in 1939, more than 50 years before the discovery of the first planet outside our solar system. He also identified that any planet capable of supporting life must orbit in an area of space which is neither too hot nor not too cold for liquid water to flow, which scientists today call The Goldilocks Zone.
The essay was unearthed in the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri, which passed it on to Dr Mario Livio, an American astrophysicist and author. "At a time when a number of today's politicians shun science, I found it moving to recall a leader who engaged in it so profoundly," said Dr Livio.