The Corner

Churchill vs. Broun

And then there’s Jane

In wartime Britain, the cartoon heroine “Jane” appeared regularly in The Daily Mirror and boosted morale during the Blitz and thereafter by taking her clothes off during periods of bad news. It was said that the first British armored vehicle ashore on D-Day carried a large representation of a naked Jane. She’d finally lost the last vestiges of her modesty during the Normandy campaign in 1944, inspiring soldiers to say that “Jane had given her all.” Prime Minister Winston jokingly dubbed Jane “Britain’s secret weapon” in homage to her role in raising and maintaining morale.

But who was Jane? ..She was the woman who kept British soldiers smiling through their gloomiest hours, and one story comes to mind that best illustrates her effect on those in the armed services. A British submarine had been attacked, and was crippled and powerless on the bottom of the ocean. Sea currents swirled round the vessel and there was always the chance the enemy would swoop in for the kill. The crew inside fully expected the vessel to become their tomb, but knew how they wanted to spend their last moments. A request was put in to the captain. The submariners wanted to live out what time remained gazing at pictures, currently in his safe, of a stunningly beautiful woman from Eastleigh, Hampshire. Their commanding officer obliged and the images of the supremely sexy Christabel Leighton-Porter, aka “Jane,” were distributed… Christabel was, quite simply, Britain’s first bona fide sex bomb… As the inspiration for Jane, photographs of Christabel were everywhere, slapped on the walls of mess halls and bars all over the country. Her image was painted on aeroplanes and daubed on jeeps…

In a gesture of ultimate support for the war effort, Christabel did her first nude photo session for the Mirror just after D-Day. A few days later, high above the Allied push in France, a lone plane circled before dropping fat bundles of the newspaper for the troops fighting below. There followed an understandable lull in the fighting, before it resumed with a certain renewed vigor. When the pictures reached troops in Burma, history records that the 36th Division stormed forward six miles in one day.