You can fight on the beaches, you can fight in the fields and in the streets, but if you're Winston Churchill, the one thing you can't do in Britain these days is chomp on a cigar.

An iconic photo of the former prime minister that sits perched atop the entrance to a World War II museum in London was airbrushed by an unknown censor, removing the wartime chief's signature stogie from the picture.

Click here to compare the photos in the Daily Mail.

Flashing a defiant grin, Churchill has hand fixed into his trademark "V" for victory in the photo, but the cigar he has clamped into the corner of his mouth in the original has gone mysteriously up in smoke.

The visitor who first noted the untoward scrubbing outside Winston Churchill's Britain at War Experience chalked it up to political correctness in overdrive.

"Viewing the now disfigured image reveals just how unhinged the vociferous anti-smoking lobby has become," visitor David McAdam told the Daily Mail. "So much for the notion that only communist tyrants airbrushed history."

Churchill, whose suits needed constant mending to repair the holes he often singed in his lapels, was so renowned as a lover of Cuban maduros that a variety of cigar was named after him.

The London museum's owner and manager were at a loss to explain how the photo was censored, but said it was never their intention to scrub history.

"Everything we do, we try to do accurately, and the cigar symbolizes Churchill," museum owner Don Robinson told the paper.