Thursday, 9 April 2009

Grandma's postcards 4: Bairnsfather 1

The Things that Matter
Scene 1: Loos, during the September offensive.
Colonel Fitz-Shrapnel receives the following message from “G.H.Q.”:-
“Please let us know, as soon as possible, the number of tins of raspberry jam issued to you last Friday.”

Captain Bruce Bairnsfather became famous during the 1st World War for his ‘Old Bill’ cartoons, which appeared in the Bystander magazine from 1915 onwards. He was described as “the man who won the war” because his cartoons raised the morale of both the troops and those on the home front, laughing at the sheer horror of trench-warfare and military incompetence. He was also an author, playwright and lecturer, and directed a film called ‘Carry on, Sergeant.’ He died in 1959. This drawing, which doesn’t feature Old Bill, appeared in The Bystander’s ‘Fragments from France,’ volume 1. There's a site with some of his work here, though much of it is 'under construction'.

The card was sent to my grandmother on 12th August 1916, while she was staying in Gorey, Jersey (my ancestors were Channel Islanders). It’s from her sister, Alice, who complains about not receiving any letters. ‘PS,’ she writes, ‘we are having lovely weather but rather too warm.’

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