Churchill’s “V for Victory” Campaign: A Leader’s Powerful Symbol of Unity

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On July 19, 1941, Winston Churchill, our steadfast British Prime Minister, introduced a potent symbol of hope and defiance: the “V for Victory” campaign. This emblem of resistance became a rallying cry for the Allied forces and occupied Europe, showcasing Churchill’s leadership and his ability to inspire a war-torn world.

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The Origin of the “V” Symbol

The idea of using the letter “V” as a symbol of victory came from Victor de Laveleye, a Belgian politician and broadcaster. In January 1941, de Laveleye suggested that “V,” the first letter of “victoire” in French, “vrijheid” in Dutch, and “victory” in English, could unify those resisting the Axis powers. This simple yet profound idea quickly spread, as people across occupied Europe began marking the letter “V” in public places as a silent act of defiance.

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Churchill’s Leadership and Promotion of the Campaign

Churchill saw the potential of the “V” sign to inspire the public. On July 19, 1941, he endorsed the “V for Victory” campaign in a radio broadcast, urging people everywhere to adopt the symbol as a gesture of defiance and hope.

Churchill himself frequently made the “V” sign with his fingers during public appearances, creating a powerful visual connection between his leadership and the cause of victory. This gesture, captured in photographs and newsreels, became synonymous with his indomitable spirit.

The British government supported the campaign vigorously. The BBC integrated the Morse code for “V” (dot-dot-dot-dash) into its broadcasts, often using the opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which matched this pattern. Posters, leaflets, badges, stickers and even cigarettes helped spread the “V for Victory” message far and wide.

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Image credit: IWM-

The Impact of Churchill’s Symbol

The “V for Victory” campaign significantly boosted morale in both occupied and free nations. For those under Nazi control, the symbol provided a sense of solidarity and hope, reminding them that liberation was possible. In Allied countries, it reinforced the resolve to support the war effort and remain united against tyranny.

The widespread use of the “V” symbol also had a psychological impact on the Axis powers, demonstrating the resilience and determination of those they sought to subdue.

Today, Churchill’s “V for Victory” campaign stands as a testament to his leadership and the power of symbols in rallying a nation. His strategic use of the “V” sign not only galvanised the war effort but also left a lasting legacy of hope and unity that continues to inspire.

Churchill’s ability to transform a simple idea into a powerful emblem of resistance and victory exemplifies his extraordinary leadership during one of history’s darkest times. The “V” sign remains a timeless symbol of the enduring human spirit and the fight for freedom.

Thank you for reading.

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My Unforgettable Day with the Red Arrows

Written by Jonathan Patterson.

I’ve always been captivated by the Red Arrows, and the chance to see them up close at RAF Waddington was a dream come true.

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Left: Presenting in front of the Red Arrows who are taxiing to the runway at RAF Waddington Middle: I had to take a picture with the Hawk Jet MKII Right: My interview with Red 10, Graeme Muscat

Our day began in the early morning as we arrived at the base, passing through tight security checks with a sense of mounting excitement. We eagerly awaited our Red Arrows escort, who would take us to the heart of their operations.

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As soon as we stepped off the Red Arrows mini-bus, the deafening roar of jet engines filled the air. We hurried to the viewing point only metres away from the runway, as the Red Arrows formed up and took off in a stunning, orchestrated formation.

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The Red Arrows taking off at RAF Waddington

For the next 20-30 minutes, the Red Arrows captivated us with their brand-new display for their 60th Diamond Season. Their daring barrel rolls, incredibly close manoeuvres, and crowd favourites like the Tornado left us in awe. The nine Hawk Jets flew overhead in an awe-inspiring sight, the thunderous noise was incredible. Starting with Red 1, each jet gracefully peeled away to land, marking the end of an unforgettable performance.

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Some incredible manoeuvres and formations from the Red Arrows 60th Season display

In need of a moment to absorb the experience, we decided to grab a cup of coffee. Within five minutes, a group of officers entered, with distinct marks around their ears from wearing some sort of helmets. It was then that I realised these were the Red Arrows pilots themselves, casually grabbing their coffees in their Red Arrows mugs. I was in complete awe of these men, who moments ago were hurtling through the clouds at over 500 mph.

Our RAF contact informed us that we only had a few minutes before debrief with the pilots. Led by Red One, Jon Bond, the meeting was a fascinating insight into their meticulous process. Each pilot critiqued their performance, highlighting areas for improvement and discussing how to perfect their manoeuvres for the next sortie that day. I was amazed to learn that the Red Arrows conduct these sorties and debriefs three times a day, every day, to ensure their displays are flawless and maintain their public display authority.

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A Red Arrows debrief led by Red 1, Jon Bond, here pilots watch there display moments after flying and critique their performance

Next, we had the privilege of meeting and interviewing Red 10, Graeme Muscat. He shared insights about the Red Arrows, their intense manoeuvres, their strong focus on teamwork, and how they are a beacon for Great Britain, flying the red, white, and blue all over the world.

We were incredibly excited to show Graeme the brand-new 50p coins specially made to celebrate the 60th Diamond Season of the Red Arrows. His elation was clear as he smiled and said, “I think it’s amazing… I can keep that one, right?”

Watch the full interview with Red 10, Graeme Muscat.

Our day with the Red Arrows was nothing short of extraordinary. From witnessing their breath-taking display to meeting the pilots and learning about their dedication, it was an experience that left us deeply inspired. The Red Arrows continue to be a symbol of excellence, teamwork, and pride for Great Britain.

To commemorate this special occasion, a brand-new coin range has been released to celebrate 60 years of the Red Arrows.

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The National Gallery: A Journey Through Art and Time

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In the bustling heart of London, the National Gallery began its life in 1824, initially occupying the former townhouse of banker John Julius Angerstein at No.100 Pall Mall. The modest beginning—with just 38 paintings—was the spark for what would grow into one of the world’s most revered art institutions. In April 1824 the House of Commons agreed to pay £57,000 for the picture collection of the banker John Julius Angerstein. His 38 pictures were intended to form the core of a new national collection, for the enjoyment and education of all.

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Left: 100 Pall Mall, the home of the National Gallery from 1824 to 1834 Right: The paintings displayed in Angerstein’s house (Image credit –

The Evolution of a Landmark

The National Gallery’s early days at No.100 Pall Mall weren’t exactly glamorous. It was small, stuffy, and constantly packed, making it a bit of an embarrassment compared to the grandeur of the Louvre in Paris. However, Agar Ellis, a trustee of the gallery, saw its location on Pall Mall as crucial, right in the heart of London’s hustle and bustle.

In 1832, construction started on a new building by William Wilkins, replacing the old Royal Mews in Charing Cross. Positioned between the affluent West End and less privileged areas to the east, its location was strategic. The idea was to make the collection accessible to people from all walks of life, prioritising social inclusion over concerns like city pollution or architectural flaws.

Even as the possibility of moving to South Kensington arose in the 1850s, the emphasis remained on making art available to everyone. As stated by the Parliamentary Commission of 1857, the purpose of the collection wasn’t just to display pictures, but to enrich the lives of the people, regardless of their social standing.

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Left: Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons TR: Rudolf Schuba, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons BR: DiscoA340, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Today, the National Gallery is a vibrant hub for art lovers of all backgrounds. It’s diverse collection, ranging from iconic masterpieces to hidden gems, offers endless opportunities for exploration and inspiration. Through exhibitions, educational programs, and digital initiatives, the gallery provides a welcoming environment where everyone can engage with art.

Celebrating 200 Years of Art

In recognition of its 200th anniversary, the National Gallery is celebrated with a special coin designed by Edwina Ellis, known for her detailed engravings. The coin beautifully features the gallery at its center, surrounded by the inscription of the anniversary. This keepsake is not just a piece of metal but a symbol of the gallery’s enduring legacy, available in gold, silver, and uncirculated editions.

The edge of the coin bears the inscription ‘MAIORVM GLORIA POSTERIS LVMEN EST’, meaning “The glory of our ancestors is a light to our descendants.” This phrase, inscribed in the gallery’s very architecture, encapsulates the essence of the National Gallery: a portal to the past and a beacon for the future.

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