An extraordinary, signed wartime photograph of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Field Marshal Alan Francis Brooke, Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, and General Harry Crerar, taken 4 March 1945 near the Siegfried Line inside the German border during Churchill's visit with the First Canadian Army, and signed by Churchill, Brooke, Montgomery, and Crerar
An extraordinary, signed wartime photograph of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Field Marshal Alan Francis Brooke, Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, and General Harry Crerar, taken 4 March 1945 near the Siegfried Line inside the German border during Churchill's visit with the First Canadian Army, and signed by Churchill, Brooke, Montgomery, and Crerar

An extraordinary, signed wartime photograph of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Field Marshal Alan Francis Brooke, Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, and General Harry Crerar, taken 4 March 1945 near the Siegfried Line inside the German border during Churchill's visit with the First Canadian Army, and signed by Churchill, Brooke, Montgomery, and Crerar

Canadian Military Headquarters, 2 Cockspur Street, London: Canadian Military, Public Relations Branch, 1945. Photograph. This extraordinary, signed Second World War photograph was taken on 4 March 1945 on the western front inside the German border near the Siegfried Line. This image is signed by all four wartime leaders it captures, each of them essential to the Allied victories that put them there, on German soil, on the cusp of winning the war. Standing together in the chill early spring are: British Prime Minister Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965); Field Marshal Alan Francis Brooke (1883-1963), wartime Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, and professional head of the army; Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery (1887-1976), “the outstanding British field commander of the twentieth century”; and General Henry Duncan Graham “Harry” Crerar (1888-1965), then commanding the largest force ever commanded in the field by a Canadian. The four stand beside the car ostensibly used to transport the visiting dignitaries, bare trees and a gray sky visible in the background, and all four men dressed to ward off the cold. Montgomery faces the camera in the background center while Churchill (cigar in his mouth) and Crerar are in profile, facing one another, Crerar apparently in the process of speaking to Churchill. Brooke stands, hands clasped in front of him, behind and to the left of Crerar. Montgomery signed in black ink “B .L. Montgomery | Field-Marshal.” at the upper center of the image. Churchill’s signature, “Winston S. Churchill”, is at the lower center-right of the photo, the “S.” and “Churchill” extending into the bottom of his overcoat. Crerar signed “H. D. G. Crerar” across his own right elbow. Brooke signed at the upper left background above his own head. Montgomery’s signature, on the gray sky background, is clearest. Churchill’s signature, heavily inked in black, is distinct, but on a darker background. Crerar’s signature, also on a dark background, has faded, but remains clearly legible. Brooke’s signature is still readily apparent, but considerably faded and more difficult to decipher. The silver-gelatin print measures 8.25 x 6.125 inches (21 x 15.75 cm). The verso is stamped “SECRET | NOT TO BE | PUBLISHED”. A second, fainter, ink stamp reads: “CANADIAN MILITARY PHOTOGRAPH | From | Public Relations Branch, | Canadian Military Headquarters, | 2 Cockspur Street” and specifies a “Photo No.” of “47373” hand-written in ink. Hand-written in pencil elsewhere on the verso is the number “47372”. Condition is very good. There are no losses or tears and the surface is clean, free of spotting, soiling, or appreciable abrasion. The lower left edge and bottom edge show minor rippling. This photograph came to us from the nephew of a Swiss collector, from whom it was inherited and whose collection held several vintage photographs of Churchill. After critical losses in the Battle of the Bulge, German forces were pushed back to the Siegfried Line. This system of pillboxes and strong points along the German western frontier fell to the Allies in early 1945. On 2 March 1945, “determined to cross the Siegfried Line himself,” Churchill flew to Brussels with Field Marshal Brooke and General Ismay. On 4 March, when this photo was taken, Churchill visited the First Canadian Army and General Crerar. (Gilbert, Vol. VII, pp.1239-40) Montgomery and Crerar were in the midst of Operation Veritable, the northern element of the Allied effort to clear German forces from the area between the Rhine and Maas rivers. The successful end of Operation Veritable came a few days after Churchill’s visit; on 10 March, the Germans abandoned their last bridgehead on the west bank of the Rhine at Wesel. In a 26 March letter of congratulations to Crerar, Eisenhower wrote “Probably no assault in this war has been conducted under more appalling conditions of terrain than was that one. It speaks volumes for your skill and the valor of your soldiers that you carried it through to a successful conclusion.”. Item #004475

Price: $11,500.00

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