Wartime Cartoons: Bruce Bairnsfather Collection

Color postcards contributed by Neil Fraser (

Bruce Bairnsfather was the foremost of the Great War cartoonists, with good reason: he served as an officer with the Warwickshire Regiment making his unique observations first hand. He was first published in The Bystander magazine, but an entire industry grew up around his works including such items as the postcards below.His most notable creation was the character of 'Old Bill', the sour 'old contemptible', who came to symbolize the British Army. Bairnsfather did so much to lift the morale of the troops, I wasn't sure if I should have listed him in the Armory under psychological weapons.

The Ideal and the Real

What we should like to see at our billets - and (insert) what we do see.
In and Out

The last half-hour before "going in" to the trenches for the 200th time.
The Soldier's Dream

A "Bitter" disappointment on waking.
Coiffure in the trenches

"Keep yer 'ead still, or I'll 'ave yer blinkin' ear off."
That evening star-shell

"Oh, star of eve, whose tender beam falls on my spirit's troubled dream." - Tannhauser.

"How long have you got Fred?"
"Every encouragement should be given for singing and whistling"
- extract from a Military Manual

That painstaking fellow, Lieutenant Orpheus, does his best, but finds it uphill work at times.
Happy Memories of the Zoo

"What time do they feed the sea-lions, Alf?"