Saturday, 10 November 2012


I always like to mark Remembrance Day in some way, usually with a Siegfried Sassoon poem, as he was especially able to reflect the futility of war.

But this year I thought I would do something different and inject a little humour. No-one more than Bruce Bairnsfather, during the First World War, was able to capture the sharp, gallows humour of a frontline soldier. Having served in the trenches himself, the artist and cartoonist knew exactly how to portray the often moaning but resilient and resourceful veterans of trench life.

His famous character Old Bill epitimised this spirit, immediately striking a chord with all serving soldiers. It's important to remember the humour that the soldiers themselves used with each other to survive the conditions they were thrown into. Bairnsfather's cartoons are a unique insight into the stoicism and matter of fact way they dealt with everything.

So tomorrow remember them, but also remember their humour....

Lovely portrait of Old Bill's creator Bruce Bairnsfather.

His most famous cartoon: 'In Search of a Better 'Ole'.

The harsh realities of trench life were always treated as just another day.

The cartoons soon progressed from postcards to books of prints.

The Fragments From France series became hugely popular.

This is a theatre programme from 1918, as Old Bill hit the stage. He was also made into a film!

Please have a look this website, featuring some amazing info and Bairnsfather memoribilia:

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