Belgian invented 'V for Victory'

'V for victory' is back thanks to the use of the victory sign by members of the Flemish nationalist party N-VA. The V-sign is often associated with Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill, but the inventor of the sign is believed to be a Belgian: the tennis star Victor de Laveleye, who also served as Belgian cabinet minister.

Together with the rest of the Belgian cabinet de Laveleye fled to London at the outbreak of the war where he headed Radio België - Radio Belgique, the Belgian radio station that used the airwaves of the BBC to broadcast to its occupied homeland during the Second World War. In January 1941 de Laveleye called on people in Nazi-occupied Belgium to chalk the V-sign on walls and buildings as a sign of defiance. His call was followed and V for Victory appeared across Belgium, the Netherlands and northern France.

Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill noticed the success of the symbol and employed it himself during a televised speech. Mr Churchill continued to use the sign throughout the war.

In these images of de Laveleye broadcasting on Radio Belgique the Belgian statesman explains: "V is the first letter of 'Victory' in French and of 'vrijheid' 'freedom' in Flemish: two things that go together like Walloons and Flemings, who today march hand in hand, two things that are consequences of each other: victory gives you liberty, the victory of our great friends, the English!"

Pictured: N-VA leader Bart De Wever at the nationalist party's recent conference.

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