By BRIAN KRAPF
Postcards picturing Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty in the Asquith government are not difficult to find, since he held that cabinet office from 1911 to 1915. In comparison, there are only a handful of Great War postcards which include illustrated quotations by Churchill. These cards were only made within a sixteen-month window, beginning with Britain’s entry into the Great War (9 August 1914) and ending with Churchill’s resignation from the Cabinet (15 November 1915).
The card pictured here was a fortuitous discovery during a recent holiday. Titled The Bulldog’s Nose, it features a tenacious British bulldog biting and holding onto a German soldier by the seat of his pants. Beneath the illustration is a quote from Churchill: “The nose of the bulldog slants backwards, so that he can breathe with comfort without letting go.” The quotation is from a speech delivered by Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty on 11 September 1914 at the London Opera House. This was Churchill’s first public speech after Britain’s entry into the war.
According to the Manchester Guardian, “Mr. Churchill has made a speech of tremendous voltage and carrying power. His comparison of the British Navy to a bulldog will live. At the moment of delivery, with extraordinary appositeness, it was particularly vivid, as the speaker was able by some histrionic gift to suggest quite the bulldog as he spoke.” Apparently, Churchill’s comments resonated with the audience enough to warrant being included on a postcard.
All postcards from Churchill’s time as First Lord of the Admiralty (1911-1915) are fun bits of history to collect. Do not hesitate to buy them if you see them for sale in your travels through the British markets.
Brian Krapf’s forthcoming book We Want Winston!—A Treasury of Memorabilia will be published later this year.
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