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Thumbnail for 'Special leave --- for urgent private affairs'

(1) Page 20 - Special leave --- for urgent private affairs [ID: 74465385]

Special Leave' by W. Smithson Broadhead. This cartoon shows a British soldier in uniform incling to kiss a young woman. The caption beneath the cartoon reads 'SPECIAL LEAVE - FOR URGENT PRIVATE AFFAIRS'. Europe's potential for providing soldiers with romantic liaisons was a popular theme for war cartoonists. The caption, which is probably based around a phrase used when soldiers were granted compassionate leave, contains puns on the words 'private' and 'affairs'. The soldier's is similar to that of the distinguished, dashing, slightly naughty characters played in films of the time by Douglas Fairbanks or Ronald Colman.

Illustrator: Broadhead, W. Smithson, 1888-1960

Thumbnail for 'Knitting torpedoes for needy battleships'

(2) Page 23 - Knitting torpedoes for needy battleships [ID: 74462988]

Knitting Torpedoes' by Dudley Buxton. This cartoon depicts a barefoot sailor sitting on an upturned washing tub, smoking a pipe and knitting a long, tube-like structure. The caption at the bottom of the cartoon reads: 'KNITTING TORPEDOES FOR NEEDY BATTLESHIPS.' The joke here is derived from the campaign in Britain during World War I to encourage women to knit socks, vests and washcloths for the soldiers serving in Europe. Most Britons would have been familiar with Red Cross posters and even songs urging women to 'knit their bit', so the ludicrousness of somebody knitting torpedoes would have seemed especially amusing to them.

Illustrator: Buxton, Dudley

Thumbnail for 'Their duty - your privilege'

(3) Page 51 - Their duty - your privilege [ID: 74458431]

Advertisement for Eagle & British Dominions Insurance Company . This is an advertisement for the 'War Life' policy offered by the Eagle & British Dominions Insurance Company. The advertisement is illustrated with sketches of a British army officer and a Royal Navy rating each saluting the British flag. The advertisement sets out the terms of the policy, and the text begins: 'Thousands of Employers are naturally exercised on the subject of additional provision for the dependents of those of their employees who, on Active Service, may lose their lives'. In this advertisement we are told: 'The usual conditions of War preclude protection under ordinary forms of Insurance'. Due to the inevitable huge increase in the mortality rate among younger men during wartime, insurance companies could not have afforded to pay all the claims made if deaths in miltary action were covered by standard policies. It became necessary, therefore, for companies to start offering special war policies, that would provide at least a little additional support for bereaved families.

Thumbnail for 'When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing'

(4) Page 56 - When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing [ID: 74466459]

When the pie was opened' by Lieutenant C.W. Thomas. This cartoon depicts German soldiers scrambling out of the hatch of a sinking U-boat. Their arms are raised in surrender as they look towrs the silhouetted British battleship that has presumably just torpedoed their submarine. The caption beneath the cartoon reads: 'When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing.' The caption of this cartoon would have been recognised immediately by all Britons familiar with the popular nursery rhyme 'Sing a song of sixpence'. In this context, 'singing' probably refers to confessing, and thus the cartoon implies that these German submariners will immediately tell their captors the secrets of their nation's submarine technology.

Illustrator: Thomas, C.W., Lieutenant

Thumbnail for 'Prisoner of war's dream'

(5) Page 59 - Prisoner of war's dream [ID: 74465974]

Prisoner of War's Dream' by T.W. Bygrave. This cartoon shows a man in a smoking jacket reclining in an armchair and blowing smoke rings with a blissful expression on his face. He is holding a copy of a magazine called 'The Link', and an attractive young woman is standing by his chair with her hand on his brow. The cartoon is captioned 'THE PRISONER OF WAR'S DREAM.' Originally this cartoon featured in 'The Link', a magazine produced by British prisoners of war at Doeberitz camp near Berlin, in Germany. Doeberitz was a former military barracks. It was used initially to intern German-based British civilians after Britain had begun interning German nationals at the outbreak of war. Later soldiers were also imprisoned at Doeberitz. In some camps prisoners were supplied with painting materials, allowed to put on stage performances or organize sporting events. Doeberitz was not the only camp with a monthly magazine: prisoners at Ruhleben camp also produced one.

Illustrator: Bygrave, T. W.

Thumbnail for 'King George's Fund for Sailors'

(6) Page 67 - King George's Fund for Sailors [ID: 74458438]

Advertisement for King George's Fund for Sailors. This advertisement for King George's Fund for Sailors features a dramatic drawing of a fleet of battleships being led through choppy seas by several smaller boats. The drawing is captioned with a quote from Kipling which reads: 'Five damned trawlers, with their syrens blowing, heading the whole Review'. King George's Fund for Sailors (KGFS) was founded in March 1917. Its main object was to provide help, comfort and relief for seafarers and their dependants through the establishment of a central fund. The proceeds of many later editions of 'Sea-Pie' were donated exclusively to KGFS. The charity is still in operation today.

Thumbnail for 'Buck up, mate, you'll soon be dead'

(7) Page 72 - Buck up, mate, you'll soon be dead [ID: 74460892]

Buck Up, Mate' by J. Simpson. This cartoon shows a miserable German prisoner of war sitting on a step smoking a cigarette. His jovial Brtish guard has bent over to speak to him. The caption reads: 'BILL (to his prisoner, who understands English): "BUCK UP, MATE, YOU'LL SOON BE DEAD"' Here we have an example of the famous British sense of humour. The joke in this cartoon appears to be that 'Bill' does not realise that his prisoner understands English, and the comment is probably made purely for his own amusement. The prisoner, unfortunately, knows exactly what Bill has said and has taken it seriously. It is little wonder that he looks so miserable.

Thumbnail for 'Paci-fist'

(8) Page 73 - Paci-fist [ID: 74465945]

Paci-Fist' by Anson Dyer. This cartoon depicts a caricature of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany being punched on the nose by a fist. The fist is at the end of an arm clad in the stars and stripes of the United States flag. The Kaiser is holding a crumpled piece of paper that has 'Russia' printed on it. At the top of the cartoon is the caption 'THE PACI-FIST'. At the bottom the caption elaborates, 'THE STAR-SPANGLED BANGER'. The United States did not enter World War I until April 1917. President Wilson had been opposed to intervening but eventually the US government declared war after repeated losses of American life due to German submarine attacks. This cartoon appears to be a British celebration of the imminent arrival of US troops in Europe: the American expeditionary force entered the fighting early in 1918. The Kaiser's crumpling of 'Russia' probably refers to the Russian withdrawal from the war after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917.