A handmade Bairstow Manor (Staffordshire, U.K.) glazed figure of Winston Churchill (1874-1965) depicted wearing a black three-piece suit and blue bowtie, with his fingers raised in the “V for Victory” sign. Impressed into the base at front is the motto ENGLAND’S GLORY. Use of the “V for Victory” sign as a rallying emblem during World War II is attributed to Belgian resistance leader Victor de Laveleye, who suggested that Belgians use the sign in a BBC broadcast on January 14, 1941. De Laveleye said that “the occupier, by seeing this sign… [will] understand that he is surrounded, encircled by an immense crowd of citizens eagerly awaiting his first moment of weakness, watching for his first failure.” Within weeks, ‘Vs’ began appearing on walls throughout occupied Belgium, the Netherlands and France. The BBC “V for Victory” campaign used an audible ‘V’ Morse code rhythm, three dots and a dash.
As the opening bars of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony had the same rhythm, the BBC used this as its call-sign in its broadcasts to occupied Europe. The more musically educated understood that it was the Fate motif “knocking on the door” of the Third Reich. On July 19, 1941, Churchill referred to the V for Victory campaign, from which point he started using the V sign. Early in the war, he sometimes gestured palm in (sometimes with a cigar between his fingers). Later, he used palm out. Other Allied leaders also used the sign. The glazed figure’s impressed words “OUR WINSTON” at back reflects Churchill’s popularity among Britons during and after his lifetime. Churchill was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. Churchill is modeled emerging from the center of a British Union Jack flag. The Union Jack, or Union Flag, dates from the 1801 union of Great Britain and Ireland.
The flag combines aspects of three older national flags: the red cross of St George for the Kingdom of England, the white saltire of St Andrew for Scotland, and the red saltire of St Patrick to represent Ireland.