Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Antique Flags > British & French Flags


Web ID: FRNj-809
Available: In Stock
Frame Size (H x L): Approx. 29" x 42.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 17" x 30.5"
Found in France, this homemade flag was waved in celebration of Allied victory at the close of WWII. When Allied Forces stormed the beaches at Normandy in 1944, led by Americans and British troops, liberation from Germany began. During this period, homemade American and British flags appeared and were waved to welcome the Americans and Brits as their tanks and men rolled down the streets following Nazi retreat. These have been termed “Liberation flags.” Sometimes French flags were purchased, homemade, or brought out of storage and waved as well in accompaniment.

Upon receipt of the news of actual surrender in March of 1945, the same flags were probably brought forth again, and more were certainly constructed for the thankful celebrations that followed. This flag was evidently employed in that function, as evidenced by the documentation that appears in hand-inscribed names and messages. Among these, “Vive Lamerique,” “Hurrah for America,” and “Henry” are scratched in a dip pen, in black ink. Accompanying this name and verbiage, written in fine violet marking crayon/pencil, are many other names and perhaps some salutations, of which I can only decipher some of the words, such as “Yvette,” “Hanan,” “Edwin,” “Robin,” “Denise Henry,” “Michael Henry,” followed by what appears to be the time of “2 am,” and “Vive America.” At 2:41 am on the 7th of May, 1945 in Reims, France, General Alfred Jodl, Chief-of-Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command, signed an unconditional surrender documents for all German forces to the Allies. This seems to explain the time reference.

Also included is the phrase “Ge’Lang,” which means “success” in German, plus a series of numerals that appears to read “22. 055”. General Franz Böhme announced the unconditional surrender of German troops in Norway on 7 May. In his address, he pronounced "All forces under German control to cease active operations at 2301 hours Central European Time on May 8, 1945." 2255 hours would be 6 minutes from the proposed termination, but whether this was the intended meaning of the “22. 055,” or whether some other event is referenced, such as the (22)nd of May (05), 194(5), is unknown. Either may be true. The French tend to use the 24 hour clock in everyday speech and, unlike Americans, commonly express written dates in days followed by month and year. Whatever the case may be, the presence “Vive America” and “Success” are clear enough.

Also included on the flag is professionally printed text that appears to pinpoint a location. This reads “Pericaud; 18 Rue de la Cristalloria, 18; Pantin (Seine); R.C. Seine N 33G878 [or perhaps 870 or 876].” Unfortunately my brief research of the specific business or entity at this location came up empty-handed.

The flag itself is made of cotton panels, joined with machine stitching. The seams and piecework are quite crude, but whether this means that the flag was homemade, or simply that it was made in a cottage industry setting during wartime, is difficult to tell. I have encountered various liberation flags that are both crude and machine-sewn.

French flags with hand inscriptions such as this, related to the end of WWII and celebrating American involvement, are especially rare. This is the only example that I have had the privilege to own.

Mounting: The flag was mounted and framed in our own conservation department, which is led by masters degree trained staff. We take great care in the mounting and preservation of flags and have framed thousands of examples; more than anyone worldwide. Feel free to contact us for more details.

The black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed molding is Italian. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic (Plexiglas). Condition: There is a scattering of tiny tears in the red bar. There is extremely minor foxing in the red and blue bars and moderate foxing in the white bar. The hoist end of the flag was whip-stitched to create an open sleeve, through which a wooden staff could be passed. This is partially un-stitched. Many of my clients prefer early flags to show their age and history of use.
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type: Sewn flag
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1944
Latest Date of Origin: 1945
War Association: WW 2
Price: Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281

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