Countdown to Peace – an exhibition for WW1

37 days until Armistice

Today we feature: ‘The Bystanders’’ Fragments from France. By Bruce Bairnsfather. London 1917

Bairnsfather was a serving officer. His most popular character was Old Bill who was depicted as an elderly, pipe-smoking British “tommy” with a walrus moustache. Old Bill and his younger troopmate, little Alphie, were private infantrymen in the British Expeditionary Force. They conveyed an idea of the British Tommy at war which was morale-boosting and based on reality: ‘a standing reminder of the ingloriousness of war, its preposterous absurdity, and its futility in settling the affairs of nations.’

The WW1 cartoonists featured in the collection at Radley College