Item #007706 An original menu, signed by both Winston S. Churchill and his daughter, Mary, with accompanying invitation, directions, and nameplate, for a lunch held at the Town Hall in Antwerp to mark the occasion of Churchill's appointment as an honorary citizen of Antwerp, Saturday, 17 November 1945
An original menu, signed by both Winston S. Churchill and his daughter, Mary, with accompanying invitation, directions, and nameplate, for a lunch held at the Town Hall in Antwerp to mark the occasion of Churchill's appointment as an honorary citizen of Antwerp, Saturday, 17 November 1945
An original menu, signed by both Winston S. Churchill and his daughter, Mary, with accompanying invitation, directions, and nameplate, for a lunch held at the Town Hall in Antwerp to mark the occasion of Churchill's appointment as an honorary citizen of Antwerp, Saturday, 17 November 1945
An original menu, signed by both Winston S. Churchill and his daughter, Mary, with accompanying invitation, directions, and nameplate, for a lunch held at the Town Hall in Antwerp to mark the occasion of Churchill's appointment as an honorary citizen of Antwerp, Saturday, 17 November 1945
An original menu, signed by both Winston S. Churchill and his daughter, Mary, with accompanying invitation, directions, and nameplate, for a lunch held at the Town Hall in Antwerp to mark the occasion of Churchill's appointment as an honorary citizen of Antwerp, Saturday, 17 November 1945
An original menu, signed by both Winston S. Churchill and his daughter, Mary, with accompanying invitation, directions, and nameplate, for a lunch held at the Town Hall in Antwerp to mark the occasion of Churchill's appointment as an honorary citizen of Antwerp, Saturday, 17 November 1945
An original menu, signed by both Winston S. Churchill and his daughter, Mary, with accompanying invitation, directions, and nameplate, for a lunch held at the Town Hall in Antwerp to mark the occasion of Churchill's appointment as an honorary citizen of Antwerp, Saturday, 17 November 1945
An original menu, signed by both Winston S. Churchill and his daughter, Mary, with accompanying invitation, directions, and nameplate, for a lunch held at the Town Hall in Antwerp to mark the occasion of Churchill's appointment as an honorary citizen of Antwerp, Saturday, 17 November 1945
An original menu, signed by both Winston S. Churchill and his daughter, Mary, with accompanying invitation, directions, and nameplate, for a lunch held at the Town Hall in Antwerp to mark the occasion of Churchill's appointment as an honorary citizen of Antwerp, Saturday, 17 November 1945
An original menu, signed by both Winston S. Churchill and his daughter, Mary, with accompanying invitation, directions, and nameplate, for a lunch held at the Town Hall in Antwerp to mark the occasion of Churchill's appointment as an honorary citizen of Antwerp, Saturday, 17 November 1945
An original menu, signed by both Winston S. Churchill and his daughter, Mary, with accompanying invitation, directions, and nameplate, for a lunch held at the Town Hall in Antwerp to mark the occasion of Churchill's appointment as an honorary citizen of Antwerp, Saturday, 17 November 1945
An original menu, signed by both Winston S. Churchill and his daughter, Mary, with accompanying invitation, directions, and nameplate, for a lunch held at the Town Hall in Antwerp to mark the occasion of Churchill's appointment as an honorary citizen of Antwerp, Saturday, 17 November 1945

An original menu, signed by both Winston S. Churchill and his daughter, Mary, with accompanying invitation, directions, and nameplate, for a lunch held at the Town Hall in Antwerp to mark the occasion of Churchill's appointment as an honorary citizen of Antwerp, Saturday, 17 November 1945

Antwerp: 1945. This striking post-Second World War artifact is an original, elaborate, illustrated menu from a 17 November 1945 luncheon at the Town Hall of Antwerp held to commemorate Churchill’s being appointed an honorary citizen of the City of Antwerp. The menu is signed on the lower front center by both the honoree, who signed “WS Churchill” and his youngest daughter, who signed “Mary Churchill”.

The menu is accompanied by three documents: a printed invitation to the typed recipient “Mijnheer [Mister] D. Van den Broecke,” apparently an Antwerp City Councilor; the elaborately printed nameplate, presumably of the Councilor’s wife, “Mevrouw [Madam] VAN DEN BROECKE”; and a printed map of the event layout, this also featuring the typed name “Mevrouw VAN DEN BROECKE”. Mevrouw Van den Broecke was evidently “Desire” van den Broecke, evidenced by her name in her own hand written at the upper right front of the menu. Her handwriting also appears at the upper right of the printed map and directly above and to the left of Winston’s and Mary’s signatures, where she wrote the date “Saturday, 17 November 1945”.

The elaborate menu, measuring 9.125 x 6.375 inches (23.2 x 16.2 cm) is printed in black and orange on all four panels of a single sheet of folded card, featuring two illustrations of Antwerp’s Exchange, one of Antwerp’s Town Hall, and one of a city seal, the illustrations captioned in English, the occasion printed in Dutch, and the menu printed in French. The Exchange and Town Hall illustrations are from sixteenth century copper engravings by Ludovico Guicciardini. Condition of the menu and accompanying documents is fine, with only trivial soiling to the menu covers. The menu and accompanying documents are protected within a rigid crimson cloth folder.

It could be said that Churchill’s honorary citizenship was long overdue. During the First World War, while Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty, he sent his Royal Naval Division to aid the Belgian garrison during the siege of Antwerp by the German Army, to whom the city fell nonetheless. After Churchill was scapegoated and forced to resign from the Cabinet for the failure of the Dardanelles offensive and slaughter at Gallipoli, Churchill again fought for Belgium, but this time literally, as a lieutenant colonel leading a battalion in the trenches of Flanders. Twenty-five years later, Churchill became wartime prime minister of Great Britain on the same day that Nazi Germany invaded the low countries. After five years of “blood, toil, tears and sweat”, Allied triumph, and Belgium’s liberation, Churchill’s wartime government fell to Labour in the General Election of July 1945. Just three and a half months later Churchill was in Belgium, facing the bittersweet irony of being bereft of his premiership but nonetheless hailed by the Belgians.

It is difficult to overstate the effusively positive nature of Churchill’s reception in Belgium, where he was an iconic symbol of resistance to a people who had endured Nazi occupation for nearly five years. In mid-November 1945, Churchill “was met by large and enthusiastic crowds lining the streets and cheering wherever he passed.” The British Ambassador recalled that “Presents all kinds began to pour into the Embassy long before his arrival,” that “Crowds assembled and waited for hours to see him” and that, in more select gatherings, “people stretched out their hands to touch him as he passed up the hall.” When his car passed through the streets, “People broke through the police-cordon” and “threw bouquets into the car if they were not actually successful in handing them to Mr. Churchill. One girl leapt on to the running-board, threw her arms round his neck and kissed him fervently.” (Gilbert, Vol. VIII, p.170)

The previous day, on 16 November 1945, Churchill spoke at a joint meeting of the Belgian Senate and Chamber. Fittingly, given his own history in the First World War with Belgium, part of his speech was a reflection on the new peace after what he called ‘The Unnecessary War’ and the many failures of the First World War victors to secure the peace and prevent the rise of fascism. Coming as close as ever to uttering an I-told-you-so, Churchill told his audience “Let us profit at least by this terrible lesson,” telling his audience, “In vain did I attempt to teach it before the war.”

Churchill’s wife, Clementine, was ill. In her stead, Churchill was accompanied by the youngest and longest-lived of Winston and Clementine's five children, Baroness Mary Soames, nee Mary Spencer-Churchill (1922-2014). Mary was raised at Chartwell. During the Second World War, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, serving in anti-aircraft batteries. Later in the war, Mary accompanied her father on several of his journeys abroad, including his journey to Quebec and the Potsdam summit with Truman and Stalin. She demobilized in 1946 and in February 1947 Winston walked Mary up the aisle when she married Arthur Christopher John Soames. Item #007706

Price: $4,500.00

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