A SIGNED photograph of Sir Winston Churchill on HMS Victory in Portsmouth during the Second World War is expected to fetch thousands at auction.
The vintage gelatin silver print shows Churchill descending the gangplank of the ship during a tour of the city’s bomb-damaged docks in 1941.
He is followed closely by Sir William Milbourne James, Portsmouth commander-in-chief and grandson of celebrated pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais.
The pair are watched by sailors standing at the railings and peering through the gun ports.
It was signed by Churchill in blue ink in the bottom left-hand corner for Captain W T Horton, the official War Office photographer who took the shot.
Now the photograph is to be sold at Bonhams’ Knightsbridge sale rooms in London on March 19.
Churchill visited Portsmouth and its dockyard on January 31 1941, following the devastating air raid on the city earlier that month.
He proclaimed: ‘We shall come through. We cannot tell when. We cannot tell how. But we shall come through.’
The photograph has remained in the family of Captain W T Horton, who worked as a staff photographer at The Times before joining the War Department as an official photographer.
Horton accompanied Churchill as his photographer on his travels through wartime Britain.
He also accompanied him to the Atlantic Conference, where, in August 1941, Churchill and American president Franklin D Roosevelt drafted a joint declaration before the USA officially entering the war the following December.
Professor Christopher M Bell, author of Churchill and Sea Power, wrote of the image: ‘It’s hard to imagine a single image that could more effectively link him to Britain’s long and glorious naval past.’
The photograph is predicted to fetch between £3,000 and £4,000 at auction.