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Thumbnail for 'Xmas furlough'

(1) Front cover - Xmas furlough [ID: 74461231]

This cover illustration by Kay Edmunds, used for the Christmas edition of 'Blighty' magazine, shows a dashing young couple snuggled up against the winter chill. Both are wearing fur-trimmed coats and the man is in uniform. Although the contents of the magazine were always printed in black and white, the cover of 'Blighty' was a colourful feast for the eyes. This particular edition of the magazine was made up of contributions from soldiers and sailors serving in the war. Whilst the normal weekly issue was not entirely given over to servicemen, it usually included at least two pages of material entitled 'From the Fleet and the Trenches'. Although copies of 'Blighty' were freely distributed at the Front, by sending in a pound people could nominate a man at the Front to receive his very own personal copy.

Artist: Edmunds, Kay

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(2) Page 2 - Grousing gunner [ID: 74462346]

This cartoon (by Private Wilson Fleming) shows a group of gunners struggling to carry large shells up a steep hillside. They appear to be stockpiling them. The line of men stretches far into the distance. The accompanying caption reads: 'Grousing Gunner: "WISH we FED THE BLINKIN' GUNS WITH WAR BONDS, BILL!"' The inference is that if the shells were filled with war bonds, they would be much lighter for the men to carry. It could also, however, be a comment on the nature of war bonds. To help finance the war, the Government encouraged people to invest in bonds. Emphasis was placed on the patriotism involved, since the rate of return was extremely poor. It could be the cartoonist believes that for all they are worth, the bonds might as well be placed in an exploding shell. All this speculation merely highlights how difficult it can be to interpret information contained in a cartoon that is over eighty years old. The intended audience, after all, would have had all the facts, enabling them to easily find the humour in it.

Illustrator: Fleming, Wilson

Thumbnail for 'Will you have a wing or a leg?'

(3) Page 5 - Will you have a wing or a leg? [ID: 74466475]

This cartoon (by W.F. Dobson) shows a group of men and women gathered round a dining table. The hostess is directing a question towards the only man wearing a uniform, and he is laughing. The caption reads: 'Hostess: "WILL YOU HAVE A WING OR A LEG?" / Absent-minded Airman: "OH, A BIT OF THE FUSELAGE, PLEASE." The hostess is in fact offering the airman the choice of a leg or wing from the bird she is about to carve up. His mind, however, interprets it as a question regarding aeroplanes and he gives his humorous reply.

Illustrator: Dobson, W.F.

Thumbnail for 'Country here, covered with snow, reminds me of home'

(4) Page 6 - Country here, covered with snow, reminds me of home [ID: 74462003]

Extract from letter' by Lieutenant-Corporal Percy Cannot. The soldier in this cartoon is chest-deep in snow. His pack and steel helmet are also covered, and only the top of his gun is visible. The extract reads: "THE COUNTRY HERE, COVERED WITH SNOW, REMINDS ME OF HOME - IN FACT I HAVE GOT VERY ATTACHED TO IT.' Percy Cannot has chosen to make light of the weather conditions at the Front in this cartoon. The soldier shown here is 'very much attached to' the snow because he has literally been trapped by it. Despite the apparent humour, this cartoon highlights a very serious problem. Snow and persistent rain created very real and dangerous hazards for the men.

Illustrator: Cannot, Percy

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(5) Page 12 - Home defence [ID: 74462532]

By J. Wood. The soldier in this cartoon has just returned from leave with a number of nasty wounds. The medical officer is trying to ascertain how he obtained such injuries. The caption reads: 'Medical Officer (to gunner just back from leave): "HOW'S THIS? DRINK?" / Gunner: "NO SIR, I HAD A LITTLE TROUBLE WITH THE MISSUS, AND SHE PUT UP A BIT OF A BARRAGE.' The humour lies in the fact that the gunner sustained these injuries whilst on leave. The explanation given by him intentionally draws comparisons between the altercation with his wife and an artillery bombardment.

Illustrator: Wood, J., Private

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(6) Page 17 - Jelloids ahoy [ID: 74458434]

Advertisement for 'Iron Jelloids'. This is an advertisement for 'THE GREAT TONIC - Iron Jelloids' The cartoon illustration depicts a crowd of tiny sailors running across the deck of a ship towards the captain, who is shouting ''Jelloids' AHOY!!!' The scene is described in a little verse: 'From off the bridge the Captain spake, / The crew rushed to obey - / The order was that they should take / IRON JELLOIDS thrice a day.' In this 1918 advertisement, iron jelloids are being sold as a general health remedy, with particular benefits to soldiers suffering from nervous disorders. Although no longer widely advertised, iron jelloids are still manufactured, and are used specifically to treat deficiencies of iron, B vitamins and vitamin C.

Thumbnail for 'What's the matter, chum?'

(7) Page 19 - What's the matter, chum? [ID: 74466456]

This cartoon, by Private H. Helps of the Royal Engineer Corps, shows two soldiers leaving a washhouse, above the door of which is printed the word, 'ABLUTIONS'. Both men are carrying a towel and bar of soap, and have comical expressions on their faces. The caption reads: '"OO!" - "WHAT'S THE MATTER, CHUM?" / "I'VE LEFT ME TEETH IN THE WASH-HOUSE!"'

Illustrator: Helps, H.

Thumbnail for 'What men of action say'

(8) Page 21 - What men of action say [ID: 74458442]

This advertisement for 'Phosferine tonic medicine' begins: 'WHAT MEN OF ACTION SAY (Some typical extracts from letters)', urges: 'When you require the Best Tonic Medicine, see you get PHOSFERINE' . It then lists twenty conditions that the product is a 'proven remedy' for, including influenza, indigestion and 'brain fag'. In order to give credibility to these claims, much of the advertisement is taken up with 'typical extracts from letters' by 'men of action', recommending Phosferine. The 'men of action' are represented by a composite picture of British servicemen. During and immediately after World War I, many advertisers exploited the heroic status accorded to British servicemen, in some cases quite shamelessly. In this example, the makers of 'Phosferine' imply that their product has contributed to the winning of the war: All these dauntless fighters exemplify the great part Phosferine plays in enabling them to overcome suffering and the most extreme exertions.

Thumbnail for 'Ca n'fait rien'

(9) Page 23 - Ca n'fait rien [ID: 74460971]

Cartoon by Private A.E. Bestall. This cartoon shows an officer on leave from France. He appears to have just left church and is walking arm in arm with his sweetheart and young sister. The caption reads: 'CA N'FAIT RIEN. / Small sister: "HAVE YOU ANOTHER SWEETHEART OUT IN FRANCE, TOM?" / Brother (on leave): "GOOD GRACIOUS, NO - WHY?" / Small sister: "THEN, WHO IS THE SAN FAIRY ANN YOU ARE ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT?"' 'Ca n'fait rien' translates roughly as 'it doesn't matter'. The humour lies in the fact that the young sister mishears 'ca n'fait rien' as 'San Fairy Ann', and assumes that it is a girl's name.

Artist: Bestall, Alfred

Thumbnail for 'First and Third Armies strike again'

(10) Page 23 - First and Third Armies strike again [ID: 74463501]

By A.E. Bestall. This cartoon shows a husband and wife sitting at a table having breakfast. The husband reads a headline from the newspaper and his wife, only half-listening, completely misinterprets it. The caption reads: 'Munitioner (reading the headlines): "FIRST AND THIRD ARMIES STRIKE AGAIN!" / Mrs. M. (absently): "HUH, SOME PEOPLE WILL NEVER BE SATISFIED WITH THEIR BONUS."' The woman in this cartoon misunderstands the headline, assuming that 'strike' refers to a pay protest rather than a military attack.

Artist: Bestall, Alfred

Thumbnail for 'You 'aven't come across a battalion, sir, that's looking out for a spare man, 'ave you, sir?'

(11) Page 26 - You 'aven't come across a battalion, sir, that's looking out for a spare man, 'ave you, sir? [ID: 74466249]

By Horace Gaffron. This cartoon shows a soldier laden-down with equipment talking to a stereotypical officer holding a cane. The scene in the background, showing a motorcar, tank and damaged trees, would have been a fairly typical one at the Front. The caption reads: 'Tommy (who has lost himself): YOU AVEN'T COME ACROSS A BATTALION, SIR, THAT'S LOOKING OUT FOR A SPARE MAN, 'AVE YOU SIR?'

Illustrator: Gaffron, Horace

Thumbnail for 'King's regs (para 1698)'

(12) Page 28 - King's regs (para 1698) [ID: 74457472]

Cartoon by L.P. Dowd and Captain R.F. Harmer. Shows a humorous scenario in which the regulations regarding uniform are interpreted rather loosely. The caption reads: '"KING'S REGS" (PARA 1698) "IN UNIFORM WATCH CHAINS AND TRINKETS ARE NOT TO BE WORN IN SUCH A MANNER AS TO BE SEEN" / 'CONSCIENTIOUS TOMMY (ACCEPTING SOUVENIRS FROM HUN) "I TRUST I AM INTERPRETING KING'S REGS IN THE RIGHT SPIRIT.' The King's Regulations provided a code of conduct for those serving on both land and sea. It also dictated the punishments that were doled out to those who strayed from the rules. Here a British soldier is filling his pockets with trinkets, given freely by a German soldier. He is hiding them in order to comply with the King's Regulations. It was common practice during the war for soldiers to keep souvenirs from the battlefield or captured enemy trenches.

Illustrator: Harmer, R.F. (Richard Fielding)

Illustrator: Dowd, L. P. (Leonard P.)

Thumbnail for 'When you wish you could speak French'

(13) Page 32 - When you wish you could speak French [ID: 74466462]

This cartoon, by Private Herbert Hyde, shows a soldier passing the time of day with an attractive young woman. The caption reads: 'WHEN YOU WISH YOU COULD SPEAK FRENCH'. The artist responsible for this cartoon was a private in the King's Liverpools. He has created a humorous scenario in which a soldier finds himself in the company of a beautiful Frenchwoman, but is unable to communicate with her.

Illustrator: Hyde, Herbert, Private

Thumbnail for 'Thank you, Boys, for having won a record victory'

(14) Page 33 - Thank you, Boys, for having won a record victory [ID: 74458449]

Advertisement for the West End Cinema Theatre, London. This advertisement incorporates a photograph of a man in military officer's uniform, with his autograph alongside. The text, written in the form of a letter, reads: '"Thank you, Boys, for having won a Record Victory." P.S. "My open door is still always open to all you dear wounded Boys. Come along, and don't forget to bring your Nurses with you." G.F.S.' The tremendous admiration and goodwill directed towards homecoming troops are reflected in 'G.F.S's' offer to give free entry to wounded soldiers, and in his donning of military uniform.

Thumbnail for 'To think you actually had to kill four Germans'

(15) Page 36 - To think you actually had to kill four Germans [ID: 74461341]

Cartoon by Gunner Leslie Barker. This cartoon depicts an elderly lady addressing a British soldier, while two other men look on laughing. The caption reads: 'Dear Old Creature (to D.C.M., who has been telling her how he got his medal): "TO THINK YOU HAD ACTUALLY TO KILL FOUR GERMANS! AND I DON'T SUPPOSE YOU HAD KILLED EVEN ONE BEFORE THIS DREADFUL WAR BEGAN?"' 'D.C.M.' is short for 'Distinguished Conduct Medal'. The D.C.M. was awarded to soldiers or navy and air force personnel for gallantry in the field. It was first awarded during the Crimean war (1854-56), and after 1916 was the second highest honour that could be awarded to army ranks below non-commissioned officer, the highest honour being the Victoria Cross. The D.C.M. was replaced in 1993 by the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.

Illustrator: Barker, Leslie, Gunner

Thumbnail for 'And after every successful engagement the bands always followed'

(16) Page 37 - And after every successful engagement the bands always followed [ID: 74458462]

By Staff-Sgt J.C. Walker. This cartoon depicts a young man, wearing a suit and a monocle, sitting on a sofa opposite a glamorous young woman. The caption reads: 'Algy (back from Flanders): "AND AFTER EVERY SUCCESSFUL ENGAGEMENT THE BANDS ALWAYS FOLLOWED." / Doris: "HOW CHARMING! BUT OVER HERE, YOU KNOW, THE BANNS GENERALLY FOLLOW THE ENGAGEMENT TOO." (Engaged, according to plan.) The humour in this cartoon is based on a double meaning for 'engagement'. Algy seems to be using the word to refer to a successful military engagement, and the 'bands' he refers to are probably military bands who played to celebrate the victory. Doris, however, deliberately misinterprets Algy's sentence, so that 'engagement' becomes a pledge of marriage, and 'bands' becomes 'banns', a public proclamation of a forthcoming marriage.

Artist: Walker, J. C., Staff-sergeant

Thumbnail for 'Allen and Wright's celebrated A.S. briar pipes'

(17) Page 37 - Allen and Wright's celebrated A.S. briar pipes [ID: 74458418]

Advertisement for Allen & Wright's briar pipes. This advertisement contains illustrations of two different items from the range of 'ALLEN & WRIGHT'S Celebrated A.S. ACTIVE SERVICE Briar Pipes', as well as illustrations of a cigarette case and an oilskin tobacco pouch. Part of the advertisement text reads: Thousands in use by our Troops at Front. These Famous Pipes are equal in EVERY respect to those sold at much higher prices.

Thumbnail for 'Your boy will soon be home'

(18) Page 40 - Your boy will soon be home [ID: 74458435]

Advertisement for Ivelcon beef beverage. This advertisement depicts a hot drink in a two-handled cup bearing the legend 'Ivelcon'. The text of the advertisement begins: 'Your boy will soon be home and he will be cold and fatigued after a wintry sea-journey, and will just appreciate a cup of steaming hot IVELCON before he settles down.' Advertisers were quick to capitalise on the heroic status acquired by those serving in World War I, and as this example demonstrates, the practice of using servicemen to sell products continued after the war. The makers of 'Ivelcon', a long-forgotten beef drink, used the national excitement over soldiers and sailors returning home after the armistice as a selling point for the drink.

Thumbnail for 'Side lights on the war'

(19) Page 49 - Side lights on the war [ID: 74465198]

This series of cartoons, by J.M. Noble, is entitled 'SIDE LIGHTS ON THE WAR', and subtitled 'RANDOM NOTES FROM A BASE TOWN'. Each of the eight illustrations offers a witty variation on a typical scenario in a day in the life of an army base. These scenarios include 'An Observation Post', where the officers on duty are 'observing' attractive women instead of the enemy, and 'Some Luggage', where an officer barks orders at a private struggling under the weight of an impossibly heavy pack. The signature on this cartoon identifies the artist, J.M. Noble, as a member of the R.A.F. 'Blighty' magazine, in which the cartoon was originally published, was largely made up of contributions from British servicemen. Magazines were also produced by British prisoners of war in camps such as Doeberitz and Ruhleben.

Illustrator: Noble, J. M., R.A.F.