WW1 'The Bystander’s Fragments from France Number Four’ cartoons 1918

$20.00 CAD

| /

Part of popular series created by Capt. Bruce Bairnsfather.

Each page is a cartoon. Back page has humorous ad for used 1917 Rolls-Daimler.

Published by “The Bystander” London: Tallis House, Whitefriars E.C.4

Nice advertising for The Swan fountpen, The ‘Blackbird’ Fountpen, and Royal Vinolia Solidified Brilliantine.

36 pages + covers.

Nice condition, some slight crease on cover, ~1” tear bottom along spine for first few pages. Some rust spots on inside title page.


Captain (Charles) Bruce Bairnsfather (9 July 1887 – 29 September 1959) was a prominent British humorist and cartoonist. His best-known cartoon character is Old Bill. Bill and his pals Bert and Alf featured in Bairnsfather's weekly "Fragments from France" cartoons published weekly in "The Bystander" magazine during the First World War.

In 1914 he joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as a second lieutenant and served with a machine gun unit in France until 1915, when he was hospitalised with shellshock and hearing damage sustained during the Second Battle of Ypres. Posted to the 34th Division headquarters on Salisbury Plain, he developed his humorous series for the Bystander about life in the trenches, featuring "Old Bill", a curmudgeonly soldier with trademark walrus moustache and balaclava. The best remembered of these shows Bill with another trooper in a muddy shell hole with shells whizzing all around. The other trooper is grumbling and Bill advises:

“          Well, If you knows of a better 'ole, go to it.     ”

Many of his cartoons from this period were collected in Fragments From France (1914) and the autobiographical Bullets & Billets (1916). Despite the immense popularity with the troops and massive sales increase for the Bystander, initially there were objections to the "vulgar caricature". Nevertheless, their success in raising morale led to Bairnsfather's promotion and receipt of a War Office appointment to draw similar cartoons for other Allies forces.