Skip to main content
Thumbnail for 'Full of hot stuff'

(1) Front cover - Full of hot stuff [ID: 74461230]

Cover illustration. This cover cartoon from 'Sea-Pie' magazine shows two British sailors and what appears to be an RAF officer breaking through the crust of a pie, baked in a willow pattern bowl. The cover is subtitled 'FULL OF HOT STUFF'. The first cover of 'Sea-Pie' set the tone for the contents of this and future issues of the magazine. In cartoons and advertisements British servicemen were portrayed variously as witty, kind, gallant or handsome, always in a positive and sometimes heroic light. The phrase 'hot stuff' on the cover is of course a euphemism alluding to British servicemen as the sex symbols of their day.

Thumbnail for 'Land & water wrist watch'

(2) Page v - Land & water wrist watch [ID: 74458447]

Advertisement for 'The Land and Water Wrist Watch'. Next to a drawing of the product being advertised, this advertisement for the 'Land & Water Wrist Watch' descibes its qualities: 'With unbreakable glass and luminous dial. Built to withstand all shocks and jars associated with modern warfare. The movement is screwed into the specially-built silver case, thus rendering the watch far more dust-and damp-proof than any other pattern.' Also illustrated and advertised is 'The "Appointment Keeper" Watch'. The text of this advertisement is ostensibly written as if it is targeted at soldiers, with its references to the watch being designed for modern warfare. In reality it was probably targeted as much at a civilian market, but soldiers had acquired a heroic status over the course of the war and many companies were keen to introduce a military element to their advertising to make their product appear more fashionable and attractive.

Thumbnail for 'Britannia souvenirs'

(3) Page xvii - Britannia souvenirs [ID: 74458416]

Advertisement for 'Britannia Souvenirs' . This advertisement shows an artist's impression of the Naval training vessel 'Britannia'. The advertisement is headed '"Britannia" Souvenirs', and the caption above the picture explains 'H.M.S. "Britannia", for 36 years the Training Ship for Britain's Naval Cadets. Now being dismantled to make Munitions of War, Souvenirs, War Shrines and Memorials.' The souvenirs were available either by mail order or at the London showrooms of Hughes, Bolckow & Co. Ltd. Britannia is a traditional name for ships in Great Britain. There was a Royal Navy ship named 'Britannia' as far back as the eighteenth century, and another ship of the same name was part of Admiral Lord Nelson's victorious fleet at Trafalgar in 1812. More recently, 'Britannia' was famous as the name of Queen Elizabeth II's Royal Yacht, which was decommissioned in 1997.

Thumbnail for 'Sublime confidence'

(4) Page xxxiii - Sublime confidence [ID: 74461037]

Cartoon advertisement for 'Clincher tyres'. This cartoon advertisement shows two men adrift on the sea, each floating on a tyre. Both are smoking contendedly, and one waves a ragged white ensign. A crate with 'North British CLINCHER Tyres' printed on it bobs in the waves in the foreground. The caption at the top of the cartoon reads: 'Sublime Confidence'. At the bottom, the caption reads: 'CLINCHER TYRES: "Never let you down."' The cartoon is the work of 'Riki'. Cartoons featuring British servicemen were highly popular during World War I, perhaps as a means of maintaining morale in Britian. Advertisers also took advantage of the heroic status servicemen had achieved in Britain, using images of soldiers, sailors and airmen to promote their goods. The 'North British Rubber Company' cleverly exploited both of these trends to produce this advertisement for 'Clincher' tyres.

Creator: North British Rubber Company

Illustrator: Riki, cartoonist

Thumbnail for 'What's your diet, Smith'

(5) Page 6 - What's your diet, Smith [ID: 74466457]

What's your diet, Smith?' by W. Smithson Broadhead. This cartoon depicts a nurse carrying a clipboard standing over a soldier. He is sitting up in bed with a bandaged head and a thermometer in his mouth. The caption reads: 'SISTER: " What's your diet, Smith?" / SMITH: "Two sucks at this thermometer every day, Sister"' Bantering between soldiers and young women was a frequent theme in wartime cartoons, and the nurse-patient relationship was a common variation on the theme. Usually the soldiers were portrayed as quick witted and roguishly handsome, while the women were beautiful, sophisticated and clearly attracted to the soldiers. Such cartoons were one way in which the heroic image of British servicemen which the media was keen to promote, could be transmitted to the public.

Illustrator: Broadhead, W. Smithson, 1888-1960

Thumbnail for 'Blockader'

(6) Page 15 - Blockader [ID: 74465576]

Blockader' by Bert Thomas. This cartoon depicts a smirking British army private, with a bayonet fixed to his rifle. He is marching past a disgruntled looking British naval rating smoking a pipe. The caption reads: 'THE BLOCKADER: "Orl right, Cocky, if you do get most of the scrapping, you needn't swank."' Here, the 'blockader' is probably supposed to be a sailor who took part in the Allied blockade of supply routes to German ports. The blockade lasted throughout World War I, and despite the heavy losses sustained by Allied ships due to German U-boat attacks, it was ultimately successful in forcing Germany into an economic crisis that made the war unsustainable. It could be argued that this was as important a factor in the ultimate Allied victory as the long war on the Western Front.

Illustrator: Thomas, Bert, 1883-1966

Thumbnail for 'Where the devil have you been, Sir, and why didn't you salute me'

(7) Page 17 - Where the devil have you been, Sir, and why didn't you salute me [ID: 74461010]

By A.E. Horne. This cartoon depicts a dapper, upright British army officer confronting a swaying, flushed looking soldier in the barrack-yard. The caption reads: 'CAPTAIN AND ADJUTANT: "Where the devil have you been, Sir, and why didn't you salute me?" / BATTALION INCORRIGIBLE: "Know you, of'flah? 'course I do (hic); it's dear ol' Martell. I can tell by the three stars!"' Here 'incorrigible' is obviously a euphemism for drunkard. The success of the joke depends upon the reader being aware that 'Martell' is a make of brandy that has three stars as its trademark. Three stars is also, of course, the rank insignia that would have been worn by the British army captain. The cartoon is made funnier by the artist's comic rendering of drunken speech.

Illustrator: Horne, A. E.

Author: Sea-pie (London, England)

Thumbnail for 'My informant'

(8) Page 20 - My informant [ID: 74465349]

Some Mine-Sweeping Implements' by Dudley Buxton. This cartoon shows several different types of brush and a carpet-sweeper bound together. The caption reads 'SOME MINE-SWEEPING IMPLEMENTS SPECIALLY DRAWN FOR 'SEA-PIE' FROM SPECIAL INFORMATION GIVEN TO OUR ARTIST'. Incorporated into the 'frame' round the main picture there is also a cartoon of a winking sailor, captioned 'My Informant'. The incorporated sketch of 'The Informant' suggests that this cartoon might have been one of an 'Informant' series of cartoons. The cartoon appears to poke fun at newspapers or magazines that published 'exclusive' diagrams and guides to military technology. The implication is that the 'Informant' and the artist are completely ignorant of weaponry and believe that mine-sweeping would involve brooms rather than boats.

Illustrator: Buxton, Dudley

Thumbnail for 'Sweet Simplicity'

(9) Page 29 - Sweet Simplicity [ID: 74465488]

Sweet Simplicity' by Frederick Styche. This cartoon shows a naval officer sitting smoking, whilst a glamorous woman reclines opposite him studying her fan. The caption reads: 'HE: "It costs £20,000 to send a Zepp to England and back." / SWEET SIMPLICITY: "Then, I suppose, every time we bring one down we are saving the Germans £10,000 return fare." First World War cartoons are quite revealing about British attitudes of the era. While British servicemen are uniformly presented in a positive or even heroic light, distinctions of class and rank are clearly drawn. Army privates or naval ratings tend to be depicted as cheerful, simple, working-class cockneys. In contrast, there is a very languid, sophisticated aura about the officer portrayed here, which is further emphasised by the wealthy appearance of his female companion.

Illustrator: Styche, Frederick

Thumbnail for 'Services'

(10) Page 36 - Services [ID: 74466023]

Services' by J. Simpson. This cartoon shows a British soldier in full uniform, walking arm-in-arm with a British sailor in full uniform. Both look like they are singing cheerfully. The sailor carries a kit-bag, while the soldier carries a rifle over his shoulder with a German helmet hung on the end of the barrel. The caption simply reads 'THE SERVICES' While wartime cartoons were primarily designed to amuse and entertain, they could also be used for propaganda purposes, to maintain British morale and justify the continuation of the war. In some cases the propaganda might involve mocking or belittling Germany. In other cases, as in this cartoon, it might involve promoting the courage and determined optimism of the British forces.

Artist: Simpson, J.

Thumbnail for 'Very difficult'

(11) Page 41 - Very difficult [ID: 74466350]

Very Difficult' by 'Poy'. This cartoon depicts six, apparently elderly, benign and slow-witted German sailors standing on top of a u-boat. Their captain is reading to them from a sheet of paper. The caption reads: '"VERY DIFFICULT." / CAPTAIN (Reading orders from the Kaiser): "Und remember this, mein brave lads, in der future you must be efen more 'frightful' than you vos alreaty yet!"' Here we have a good example of a cartoon designed to maintain British morale by making fun of German military capability. As well as the sailors in the cartoon being drawn to look anything but frightful, Germany is also mocked by the comic rendering of German pronounciation of English. The white cliffs in the background of the picture are made to look like those on the south coast of England, as if providing reassurance of the lack of threat from Germany, even so close to home.

Illustrator: Feron, Percy Hutton, 1874-1948

Thumbnail for 'Groningen grins'

(12) Page 47 - Groningen grins [ID: 74462337]

Groningen Grins' by A.D. This cartoon depicts a very cheerful sailor walking arm-in-arm with two young women in Dutch national costume. In the background there are poplar trees, a canal and a windmill. The caption at the top of the cartoon reads: 'GRONINGEN GRINS'. At the bottom of the cartoon the caption reads: 'DOUBLE DUTCH'. 'Groningen Grins' is one of many cartoons published during the war that alluded to the romantic or sexual accomplishments of British servicemen in First World War Europe. Groningen, in neutral Holland, was best known as the location of a camp where British soldiers from the First Royal Naval Brigade were interned after failing to defend Antwerp in 1914. Regulations at Groningen were relaxed, with internees latterly permitted to socialise and even drink in the city centre, and relationships inevitably occurred between British soldiers and Dutch girls.

Illustrator: D., A.

Thumbnail for 'Day in the life of an A.B.'

(13) Page 61 - Day in the life of an A.B. [ID: 74458045]

By Tom Cottrell. This cartoon is captioned 'A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN A.B.' It depicts the 'A.B' indulging in various privileged activities on board a naval vessel, including having breakfast in bed, being danced for by the Admiral and playing cards with the officers. The 'A.B's day ends when he 'dives over-board with a floating hand-grenade' to blow up a U-boat then 'returns to his ship triumphant'. The uniform the 'A.B.' is wearing here is a non-officer-class uniform, suggesting that 'A.B.' might stand for 'Able', as in 'Able Seaman'. If this is the case, then the cartoon is extremely rich in irony. Able seamen were of fairly low naval rank and would never have experienced such privileges. The fantastical element of the cartoon is heightened at the end, when the A.B single-handedly rescues the ship from a German U-boat.

Illustrator: Cottrell, Tom, 1890-1969

Thumbnail for 'Sailor home on leave'

(14) Page 62 - Sailor home on leave [ID: 74465028]

By C. Alban Wallis. This cartoon shows a British sailor standing in the middle of a village street surrounded by local people. The caption reads: 'Scene: Sailor home on leave. / LOAFER: "But ain't it hawful, bein' tossed about so by the waves?" / SAILOR: "Yus - but there's halways the hexcitement of wondering whether you come down 'eads or tails."' During World War I the armed forces were often portrayed in a heroic light by advertisements and cartoons, and this trend is in evidence here. The returning sailor is clearly the centre of attention in the village, and his good-natured wit contrasts with the sceptical challenge of the stay-at-home 'loafer'.

Illustrator: Wallis, C. (Charles) Alban

Thumbnail for 'Pie for which Jack has an ever ready appetite'

(15) Page 67 - Pie for which Jack has an ever ready appetite [ID: 74458181]

By J.H. Valda. This cartoon shows a British sailor about to tuck into a huge pie. The pie is shaped like a German U-boat or submarine. The caption reads: 'A PIE FOR WHICH JACK HAS AN EVER READY APPETITE.' 'U-Boat' was derived from 'Unterseeboot', the German for 'submarine'. The Allied countries tended to term all German submarines 'U-Boats', although in Germany the term was only applied to their larger, longer-range submarines. U-boats operating in British waters wreaked havoc throughout 1915, most famously sinking the passenger liner 'Lusitania', but in April 1916 the U-boat campaign around the British Isles was called off amid fears of a reaction from the U.S. to the killing of American civilians.

Illustrator: Valda, J. H.

Thumbnail for 'Jutland ---  a narrow shave'

(16) Page 70 - Jutland --- a narrow shave [ID: 74462933]

By Louis Raemaekers. This cartoon shows Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany ankle-deep in water while his wife, the Kaiserin Augusta Victoria, struggles to shut a door through which water is pouring. The caption reads: 'JUTLAND - A NARROW SHAVE / KAISER: "For God's sake shut the door! And then go and flag all the country for our victory."' The Battle of Jutland was the only major confrontation between the British Navy and German High Seas Fleet during World War I. The battle took place on 31 May 1916. Ultimately the German fleet was forced into retreat, but having destroyed 14 British vessels with the loss of only 9 German ones, Germany was able to claim victory in the battle. The cartoon implies that the German fleet fled before Britain was able to engage it in a full test of their respective strengths.

Illustrator: Raemaekers, Louis, 1869-1956

Thumbnail for 'Dr Barnardo's homes'

(17) Page 93 - Dr Barnardo's homes [ID: 74458430]

Advertisement for Dr Barnardo's Homes. This advertisement includes a photograph of ten young Naval cadets, with the caption 'TRAINED FOR THE NATION'S SERVICE.' The advertisement informs us that these cadets have been trained at Watts Naval Training School in Eltham, which is a Dr Barnardo's home for orphans. We are further told that '9,282 Barnardo Boys are serving the Empire in the Navy, Army and Mercantile Marine.' The advertisement is appealing to 'Sea-Pie' readers for donations to help them train more children. Dr Barnardo's homes were founded by a Christain medical missionary, Thomas John Barnardo. An Irishman by birth, Barnardo began working with impoverished, disabled and orphaned children in London's east end in 1866. The first Barnardo's boys' home opened in 1870. Shortly thereafter the first girls' home opened in Barkingside, London. Barnardo also introduced fostering schemes, where children were boarded out to better-off families, sometimes in Canada or Australia. By the time Barnardo died in 1905, 96 homes carried his name.