Souvenir de Belgique

From the Archives

16th June 2017

These colourful and comically illustrated postcards are part of a collection recently donated to the Museum’s Archive. 

Bruxelles smallDating from late 1944 to mid-1945, these humorous, and irreverent, cartoon postcards are collected in a “Souvenir of Belgium-Souvenir de Belgique” envelope, and are in remarkably good condition. The cartoons humour revolves around the Belgium Fountain statue Manneken Pis  and were part of a donation belonging to Tpr. John Downing, 3390734, 44th Royal Tank Regiment. 

These postcards were produced after the liberation of Brussels on 3rd September, 1944, by troops of the British Second Army. The first image showing a British soldier proudly standing by the famous statue with the caption “I’m one of those who liberated him”. While a more light-hearted image portrays a red capped Corporal of British Military Police ordering another MP to dress the Manneken Pis in a uniform, referencing the tradition in Brussels of dressing up the statue in various vibrant costumes, a tradition which continues to this day. 

The left postcard reads "Come Sister, don't be in ecstasy like that" and the right reads "Put him that suit on. Then I'll get the cheek out of him".

The eight colourful postcards, sold in sets of four, feature captions in both English and French, a blank reverse for messages, and serrated edges to tear off the selected card.

Despite the country’s neutrality at the start of the Second World War, Belgium was invaded by Germany on 10th May 1940 and occupied by German forces from 28th May 1940 following the surrender of King Leopold III. It took until February 1945 to completely liberate the country.