By BRIAN KRAPF
This wonderful statue of Winston Churchill is one of my favorite pieces and one of the few wartime American pieces of Churchilliana. Standing eleven inches tall and made of bronze smelter, it dates to 1940. Per the tag on the bottom, it was offered in return for a $2.00 donation to the British American Ambulance Corps. The piece rarely appears at market, and the fundraising price was eclipsed long ago by competitive bidders seeking to add it to their collections.
The British American Ambulance Corps was one of many American humanitarian and volunteer service organizations that fell under the umbrella of the British War Relief Society based in New York City. From its offices on Fifth Avenue, BWRS acted as the administrative hub for these groups, and most fundraising was done through them, although some fundraising efforts were made by the organizations themselves. Aiding Britain in this manner was a creative and effective means of skirting the United States government’s prevailing isolationist policies. After Dunkirk, individual citizens were inspired to help Britain and provided aid through charitable donations and contributions. The President of the Ambulance Corps was the noted Wall Street financier William V. C. Ruxton. Today, Ruxton is more famous for having a 1920’s automobile named after him despite the fact that he was not an investor in it.
The British American Ambulance Corps and the BWRS itself continued to raise funds for the purchase of much needed ambulances and to provide volunteer drivers through the end of the war. This statue is a reminder of the support, services and sacrifices made by American citizens to aid Great Britain in time of crisis.
Brian Krapf formerly served as President of the American Political Items Collectors.