The V Sign

The V sign, originally considered a sign for 'victory', also carries connotations of peace which was made popular during the 1960s. Depending on which way the fingers are facing it can also be seen as an insulting gesture of defiance.

There is a popular myth that the offensive version of the V sign comes from English longbowmen who, during the Hundred Years War, would have their index and middle fingers cut off by the French if captured in battle. As a sign of defiance before and during battle, they would display their two bow fingers to the French to show they were still able to shoot their bows.

Winston Churchill famously used a V sign in both versions to symbolize 'V for Victory' during World War Two. He originally held his hand with his palm facing inwards until someone reportedly explained the alternative meaning to him - following that his palm faced outwards!

The stamp below was released in October 1974 with the Birth Centenary of Sir Winston Churchill.

Illustration
Winston Churchill stamp, 1974

Winston Churchill stamp, 1974


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