Chrystabel Leighton-Porter

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Chrystabel Leighton-Porter
Leighton-Porter with Fritz
Born 11 April 1913
Eastleigh, Hampshire, England
Died 6 December 2000(2000-12-06) (aged 87)
Horsham,West Sussex
Occupation Model and Actress
Known for Model for the wartime cartoon heroine "Jane"

Chrystabel Leighton-Porter (11 April 1913 – 6 December 2000) was the model for the Second World War Daily Mirror newspaper cartoon heroine Jane which boosted morale during the Blitz. Prime Minister Winston Churchill suggested that Jane was "Britain's secret weapon".[1]

Early life[edit]

Born Chrystabel Jane Drewry in Eastleigh, Hampshire in April 1913,[2] Chrystabel Leighton-Porter had an older twin, Sylvia, and was the youngest of eleven children of whom three died young. Her modelling started after she left school when she moved to London to live with her sister and earned a living posing for life classes.[2] In 1934, she married pilot Arthur Leighton-Porter. Later during her time as 'Jane' the fact she was married became a carefully guarded secret as Leighton-Porter believed her fans thought of her as their girlfriend, and that she must always remain single in their eyes.


Leighton-Porter posing for the 'Jane' comic

The Daily Mirror cartoonist Norman Pett had been drawing a weekly cartoon since 1932 which he called Jane's Journal — The Diary of A Bright Young Thing.[3] Pett's original model was his wife, but he replaced her with Chrystabel in 1940. In 1944, when Jane first appeared nude in the cartoon, she was credited with 'inspiring' the 36th Division to advance six miles into Burma.[1][4]

In 1948, Pett's assistant Michael Hubbard took over the Jane cartoons. Chrystabel Leighton-Porter began a music hall striptease-act based on the Jane character which toured army bases around the country. She won the title of "Britain's Perfect Girl" at the London Palladium and was signed up by theatrical agent Lew Grade[2] which led to her starring in the film The Adventures of Jane in 1949. It was released on DVD in April 2008.[5]

"Jane" received many letters from servicemen proposing marriage (62 in just one week[6]) and Chrystabel was careful to hide the fact that she had already secretly married Arthur Leighton-Porter, a Royal Air Force pilot, before the outbreak of the war.[7] Hubbard continued to develop the cartoons' storyline until 1959, when he gave Jane a happy marriage and ended the series.

Later Life and Death[edit]

In 1952 Leighton-Porter gave birth to a stillborn baby boy, and then in 1955 suffered another loss of a baby girl named Jane who lived for just fourteen hours. In 1957 the couple delivered their son Simon.

In the early-1960s Leighton-Porter moved to Bermuda and then to Horsham in Sussex where she centred her activities around her son Simon (who later followed his father into the RAF) and was a fund raiser for several charities. In the 1980s a BBC television serial was made of "Jane" and starred Glynis Barber.[2]

Throughout her later years, Chrystabel Leighton-Porter made regular appearances at wartime reunions. In 1993, the Imperial War Museum exhibition Forces Sweethearts included her 1940's frilly knickers.[7] Chrystabel died on 6 December 2000 aged 87.[2][8] Arthur died in January 2002.[9]


  1. ^ a b "The original GI Jane". Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Chrystabel Leighton-Porter". London: The Daily Telegraph. 2000-12-08. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  3. ^ "Comic creator Norman Pett". Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  4. ^ Stuttaford, Andrew (25 April 2008). "Churchill vs. Broun". National Review Online. Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "The Adventures Of Jane/Murder At 3A.M. on DVD". Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  6. ^ Cooper, Glenda (1995-04-30). "The real Jane recalls her strip for victory". The London Independent. Retrieved 2008-08-09. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b Goldstien, Richard (17 December 2000). "Chrystabel Leighton-Porter, A Comic Stripper". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  8. ^ "Inspiration for WWII 'Jane' cartoon dies". CNN. 2000-12-08. Archived from the original on 23 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  9. ^ "Just when did Jane spark off a rumpus?". The Argus. 2003-01-13. Archived from the original on 30 July 2009. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  • Saunders, Andy (2004) Jane, a Pin Up at War. Barnsley: Leo Cooper ISBN 1-84415-027-5.
  • " Jane" film. 1943. British Pathe.
  • " Jane and Pett " film. 1945. British Pathe.
  • " Cartoons and Cartoonists" film, 1956. Produced by Harold Baim.

External links[edit]