In the event of war, he is more likely to be found snoozing in front of the fire than fighting on the beaches.

But this marmalade moggy is keeping alive the spirit of Winston Churchill in his own unique way.

Jock VI, a rescue kitten from a Croydon animal shelter, has taken up residence at Churchill's former country estate to honour the wartime Prime Minister's dying wish.

The tomcat is the latest in a growing line of Jocks to move into Chartwell, in Kent, following in the pawprints of a ginger puss given to Churchill as a birthday present by his private secretary Jock Colville in 1962.

Cat-lover Churchill owned a menagerie of felines but was particularly besotted with Jock I, who he named after Colville.

Croydon Guardian:

Jock VI enjoys his new garden furniture

The pair would eat dinner together and the tomcat said to have been with the minister when he died.

Their bond led to Churchill's deathbed instruction that there should always be a marmalade cat with white feet and chest living at Chartwell.

The fifth puss retired from public life last year when his owner, the former house and collections manager, left the estate.

It freed up a vacancy for Jock VI - formerly known as Malley - whose rags-to-riches tale would be the envy of any young cat.

The seven-month-old kitten was a down-and-out stray until he was rescued by Croydon Animal Samaritans in January.

Two months later, he has the run of Chartwell's 80 acres and the attention of thousands of visitors a year, after being spotted on the rescue centre's website.

Croydon Guardian:

Jock VI surveys his manor

Anna Nikolic, a trustee and fosterer at the 40-year-old charity, said: "We were just very lucky that they spotted him and thought he fitted the bill.

"He is a lovely cat, very easy-going and friendly and quite cheeky. He was has gone off to live in lovely and famous surroundings."

Jock VI - who is fond of tuna but dislikes opera and being left alone - now spends his days lounging on Persian rugs and roaming Chartwell's dozens of rooms.

He comes and goes using a cat flap approved by an historic buildings inspector.

Katherine Barnett, the estate's new collections manager, "Jock VI has had a difficult start to his life, but as the saying goes, a cat will always land on its feet. I'm delighted with Jock.

"He's a very caring, loving cat and I think our visitors will get lots of enjoyment from seeing him around the property for many years to come."

Croydon Guardian:

Cat-lover Churchill strokes Blackie, a cat that lived on HMS Prince of Wales