Wartime pin-up 'Jane' remembered for morale boosting cartoons
SHE was the pretty pin-up whose fame Winston Churchill claimed shortened the Second World War.
Based in Cheltenham, the late Christabel Leighton-Porter – also known as the Daily Mirror's 'Jane' – became famous for featuring in revealing cartoon strips that increased soldier camaraderie across war-torn Europe.
She was originally a professional artist's model and succeeded Dora Pett after she was seen posing at a studio in Birmingham.
The 87-year-old died in December 2000 and has been remembered in a book by Andy Saunders called Jane, a pin up at war, published by Pen and Sword.
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Now, a former teacher who taught her son has unearthed some old cartoons featuring the loveable model.
Peter Worsley, who is now assistant editor for This England & Evergreen magazines in Cheltenham, recalls meeting the famous 'Jane'.
The 69-year-old said: "I came across Christabel when, unbeknown to me, she turned up at the school. She was an absolutely delightful person. I got to know her as 'Miss LP' although a lot of her friends called her Jane.
"She and her husband, Arthur, married in 1934 but that had to be kept a secret. Of course, lots of people weren't happy with her photos although she was nothing like the Page 3 people you see today.
"She was incredibly moral and was married for 66 years. She supported Arthur in everything she did as a professional artist and they were a devoted couple – a really lovely pair."
The cartoon strip was at its height during the 1940s and continued for more than a decade afterwards.
When the cartoon series ended in 1959, they moved to Bermuda and dropped out of the public eye.
"She rediscovered her fame in the 1980s," Peter continued. "She became a hard-working volunteer and national institution.
"She was the kindest and most generous person I ever met and certainly did not pretend she was the first Jane.
"To all intents and purposes, however, she was, because the wartime Daily Mirror cartoons made her famous. Churchill apparently claimed that she and Vera Lynn shortened the war because of their morale boosting activities. Vera deservedly received the highest accolade but Jane got nothing."