Ministry of Defence, 1944
Dimensions: 20cm x 25cm
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This black and white photograph shows Winston Churchill, Jan Smuts and King George VI in the Entrance Hall of RAF Bentley Priory. It is believed to have been taken on 6th June 1944, ‘D-Day’. Winston Churchill was the British Prime Minister at the time of the photograph and Jan Smuts was the South African Prime Minster. Smuts was a personal and professional friend of Churchill’s – he advised Churchill throughout the Second World War and was appointed Field Marshal of the British Army in 1941.
The three men are walking through the Entrance Hall, from left to right of the photograph. The classical architecture of the Entrance Hall and a curved window is behind them. Winston Churchill leads the way. He is striding forward looking in front of him with a slight smile on his face. He is wearing a suit with bow tie and waistcoat with a long dark overcoat over the top. He has a dark hat and his trademark cigar is in his mouth. In his left hand he is holding a newspaper and his walking cane. His right hand is putting something away in his inside coat pocket.
Behind and to the left of Churchill is Jan Smuts. He is also striding forward and looking ahead, but he has a much more serious and pensive expression. He is wearing his Army uniform, including his hat, and he is carrying a cane in both hands, held across the front of his body. He is an older, white gentleman with a neat white beard.
Behind Churchill, to Smut’s left, is King George VI. Due to the position of Churchill, only his left side is visible and only a small part of his face. He is wearing his RAF uniform.
To the left of the photograph in the foreground is a dark wooden table, on top of which sits the Fighter Command Visitor Book.