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'OLD BILL' WWI Cartoons.


algy
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I Have approx. 300 cartoons of a WWI character created by artist/illustrator Bruce Bairnsfather depicting an amusing and sometimes poignant impression of a soldiers life in the trenches in the Great War 1914 to 1918, if there is sufficient interest I shall upload them in batches of 10 as I did with the old Warrington photos.

All content is out of copyright.

It would be around 1-2 weeks before posting as I'm still sorting out the content.

 

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The four old stalwarts, it's worth doing it for you guys, any more is a bonus, just give me a week or so then we shall 'go for it.

 

Here's an explanation as to who Bruce Bairnsfather was.

 

CAPTAIN BRUCE BAIRNSFATHER index.jpg

Royal Warwickshire Regiment

09.07.1887 ~ 29.09.1959

 

Born on 9th July 1887 at Muree on India's North West Frontier, Charles Bruce Bairnsfather was destined to become the best known and best loved of Britain's Great War artists.

 

At the outbreak of war in 1914 he joined the Warwickshire Regiment and served on the Western Front. He experienced the strange Christmas truce of 1914 and later wrote about it in his best-selling autobiographical account 'Bullets & Billets'.

 

It was whilst serving in the infamous Ypres Salient that he created the first of what were to become his 'Fragments from France' cartoons on the wall of his billet - a battle-scarred cottage in the village of St Yvon. He also created the character of 'Old Bill', he of the walrus moustache and tin hat who so epitomised the poor old British Tommy and struck a nerve with them.

 

In April 1915 Bruce was wounded and shipped back to 'Blighty'. With his cartoons attracting attention at home he was approached by the Bystander magazine and so began the publishing phenomenon 'Fragments from France' - a series of cartoons which sold in millions.

 

Bruce returned to active duty in France in late 1915. However, his health again deteriorated and he was hospitalised and formally classified as no longer fit for active service.

 

In 1916, with the French suffering heavily at Verdun they requested Bruce be loaned to them to create cartoons for them to help raise moral. The British appointed him 'Officer Cartoonist' (the first ever such title in the British Army) and sent him back to France. He also toured the Italian front and drew for the Italians, and when the Americans entered the war he toured with them too.

 

Following the war Bruce earned his living through his cartoons. At the time of the Second World War he offered his services to the British, but was not used to any great degree and so ended up serving with the American forces as a cartoonist.

 

Throughout his life he suffered many ups and downs and turns of fortune, but through it all Old Bill was always with him.

 

In September 1959, after three major operations, he succumbed to bladder cancer and died, aged 72.

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It must have seemed a bit odd at the time to some people that he was drawing humorous cartoons depicting the war scenes and maybe some back home thought he was being a little disrespectful at first.

Strangely enough the British public loved it as it was a form of cartoon propaganda and his drawings always depicted the 'Hun' getting the worst end of the fight!. :)

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