winston churchill v sign
Few are aware of it these days, but Winnie’s V-sign with the back of his hand showing is the classic sod-off gesture (the equivalent of giving the finger) of fifteenth century England’s long bow archers. It was given by the English longbowmen to their enemies since the index and middle fingers were used to pull the arrow and cord back to fire the devastating weapon. See: the Battle of Agincourt (1415), Henry V, and the St. Crispin’s Day speech (Shakespeare).
Michael, the reason I posted this picture is that we are used to seeing Churchill doing a peace – or I suppose what was then a V for victory – gesture with the palm and thumb facing forward. This photo shows the back of the hand which as you fully explain is considered a strong insult in Britain and not within the bounds of decorum of a senior politician – hence my surprise at finding it. Here’s how his V signs normally look: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cd/Churchill_V_sign_HU_55521.jpg
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