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Title: Fragments From France
Author: Bairnsfather, Bruce, 1888?-1959
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Fragments From France" ***

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_By Bruce Bairnsfather_

Bullets and Billets

Fragments from France

A Few Fragments from His Life






          G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
          The Knickerbocker Press


_By the Editor of "The Bystander."_

[Illustration: W]HEN Tommy went out to the great war, he went smiling,
and singing the latest ditty of the halls. The enemy scowled. War, said
his professors of kultur and his hymnsters of hate, could never be waged
in the Tipperary spirit, and the nation that sent to the front soldiers
who sang and laughed must be the very decadent England they had all
along denounced as unworthy of world-power.

I fear the enemy will be even more infuriated when he turns over the
pages of this book. In it the spirit of the British citizen soldier,
who, hating war as he hated hell, flocked to the colours to have his
whack at the apostles of blood and iron, is translated to cold and
permanent print. Here is the great war reduced to grim and gruesome
absurdity. It is not fun poked by a mere looker-on, it is the fun felt
in the war by one who has been through it.


Captain Bruce Bairnsfather has stayed at that "farm" which is portrayed
in the double page of the book; he has endured that shell-swept "'ole"
that is depicted on the cover; he has watched the disappearance of that
"blinkin' parapet" shown on one page; has had his hair cut under fire as
shown on another. And having been through it all, he has just put down
what he has seen and heard and felt and smelt and--laughed at.

Captain Bairnsfather went to the front in no mood of a "chiel takin'
notes." It was the notes that took him. Before the war, some time a
regular soldier, some time an engineer, he had little other idea than to
sketch for mischief, on walls and shirt cuffs, and tablecloths. Without
the war he might never have put pencil to paper for publication. But the
war insisted.

It is not for his mere editor to forecast his vogue in posterity.
Naturally I hope it will be a lasting one, but I am prejudiced. Let me,
however, quote a letter which reached Captain Bairnsfather from
somewhere in France:

          "Twenty years after peace has been declared there
          will be no more potent stimulus to the
          recollections of an old soldier than your
          admirable sketches of trench life. May I, with all
          deference, congratulate you on your humour, your
          fidelity, your something-else not easily
          defined--I mean your power of expressing in black
          and white a condition of mind."

I hope that this forecast is a true one. If this sketch book is worthy
to outlast the days of the war, and to be kept for remembrance on the
shelves of those who have lived through it, it will have done its bit.
For will it not be a standing reminder of the _ingloriousness_ of war,
its preposterous absurdity, and of its futility as a means of settling
the affairs of nations?

When the ardent Jingo of the day after to-morrow rattles the sabre, let
there be somewhere handy a copy of "Fragments from France" that can be
opened in front of him, at any page, just to remind him of what war is
really like as it is fought in "civilised" times.

Captain Bairnsfather has become a household word--or perhaps one should
say a trench-hold word. Who is ever the worse for a laugh? Certainly not
the soldier in trench or dug-out or shell-swept billet. Rather may it be
said that the Bairnsfather laughter has acted in thousands of cases as
an antidote to the bane of depression. It is the good fortune of the
British Army to possess such an antidote, and the ill-fortune of the
other belligerents that they do not possess its equivalent.


This picture was taken at the Front, less than a quarter of a mile from
the German trenches. Captain Bairnsfather has come "straight off the
mud," and is wearing a fur coat, a Balaclava helmet, and gum boots.
Immediately behind him is a hole made by a "Jack Johnson" shell.]

A Scots officer, writing in the _Edinburgh Evening News_, hits the true
sentiment towards Bairnsfather of the Army in France when he writes:

          "To us out here the 'Fragments' are the very
          quintessence of life. We sit moping over a smoky
          charcoal fire in a dug-out. Suddenly someone, more
          wide-awake than others remembers the 'Fragments.'
          Out it comes, and we laugh uproariously over each
          picture. For are these not the very things we are
          witnessing every day, incidents full of tragic
          humour? The fed-up spirit you see on the faces of
          Bairnsfather's pictures is a sham--a mask beneath
          which there lies something that is essentially


In a communication received by Captain Bairnsfather an eminent Member of
Parliament writes: "You are rising to be a factor in the situation, just
as Gillray was a factor in the Napoleonic wars." The difference is,
however, that instead of turning his satire exclusively upon the enemy,
as did Gillray, Captain Bairnsfather turns his--good-humouredly
always--on his fellow-warriors. This habit of ours of making fun of
ourselves has come by now to be fairly well understood by even the most
sensitive and serious-minded of our continental friends and neighbours.
It hardly needs nowadays to be pointed out that it is a fixed condition
of the national life that wherever Britons are working together in any
common object, whether in school, college, profession, or even warfare,
they must never _appear_ to be regarding their occupation too seriously.
Those who know us--and who, nowadays, has the excuse for not knowing us,
seeing how very much we have been discussed?--understand that our
frivolity is apparent and not real. Because we have the gift of
laughter, we are no less appreciative of grim realities than are our
scowling enemies, and nobody knows that better in these days than those
scowling enemies themselves.

Their hymns of hate and prayers for punishment have been impotent
expressions of exasperation at our coolness, deliberation, and
inflexible determination--qualities they had deluded themselves before
the war into believing would prove all a sham before the first blast of
frightfulness. They told themselves that, a war once actually begun, the
imperturbable pipe-smoking John Bull would be transformed into a
cowering craven. More complete confusion of this false belief is nowhere
to be found than in these "Fragments." It ranks as a colossal German
defeat that successive bloodthirsty assaults upon us by land, sea, and
air should produce a Bairnsfather, depicting the "contemptible little
Army," swollen out of all recognition, settling humorously down to war
as though it were the normal business of life.

"Fed up"? Yes, that is the word by which to describe, if you like, the
prevalent Bairnsfather expression of countenance. But the kind of
weariness he depicts is the reverse of the kind that implies "give up."
_Au contraire, mes amis!_ The "fed-up" Bairnsfather man is a fixture.
"_J'y suis_," he might exclaim, if he spoke French, "_et il m'embête que
j'y suis. Je voudrais que je n'y sois pas. Mais j'y suis, et, mes bons
camarades, par tous les dieux, j'y reste!_"

If the enemy should read in the words "fed up" a sign that our tenacity
is giving out, he reads it wrong; grim will be the disillusionment of
any hopes he may build upon his misreading, and even grimmer the anger
of those whom he may have deluded.

These _verdammte Engländer_ are never what they seem, but are always
something unpleasantly different. We are the Great Enigma of the war,
and in our mystery lies our greatest strength. Let us be careful not to
lose it. Those who would have us simplify ourselves upon the continental
model, and present to the world a picture of sombre seriousness, are
asking us to change our national character. Cromwell asked the painter
to paint him, "warts and all." Bairnsfather sketches us--smiles and all.
And who would take the smiles off the "dials" of the figures you will
see on the pages that follow?

[Illustration: Where to Live--[ADVT.]


TO BE LET (three minutes from German trenches), this attractive and


containing one reception-kitchen-bedroom and UP-TO-DATE FUNK HOLE (4ft.
by 6ft.), all modern inconveniences, including gas and water. This
desirable Residence stands one foot above water level, commanding an
excellent view of the enemy trenches.


--Particulars of the late Tenant, Room 6, Base Hospital, Bonlog c.]

[Illustration: "Where did that one go to?"]


          What is this slimy dismal hole
          Where oft I'm lurking like a mole
          And cursing Germans heart and soul?
                              My Dug-Out

          Where is it that beneath the floor
          The water's rising more and more
          And where the roof's a broken door?
                              My Dug-Out

          Where is it that I try to sleep
          Betwixt alarms, when up I leap
          And dash through water four feet deep?
                              My Dug-Out

          Where is it that I'll catch a chill
          And lose my only quinine pill
          And probably remain until----
                              I'm dug out?
                              My Dug-Out

My Dug-Out: A lay of the trenches.]

[Illustration: That Evening Star-shell.

          "Oh, star of eve, whose tender beam
          Falls on my spirit's troubled dream."

--_Wolfram's Aria in "Tannhäuser."_]

[Illustration: "They've evidently seen me."]

[Illustration: Situation Shortly Vacant.

In an old-fashioned house in France an opening will shortly occur for a
young man, with good prospects of getting a rise.]

[Illustration: The Tactless Teuton.

A member of the Gravediggers' Corps joking with a private in the
Orphans' Battalion, prior to a frontal attack.]

[Illustration: "Well, if you knows of a better 'ole, go to it."]

[Illustration: Will you be----


A Proposal in Flanders.

The point of Jean's pitchfork awakens a sense of duty in a mine that

[Illustration: No Possible Doubt Whatever.

Sentry: "'Alt! Who goes there?"

He of the Bundle: "You shut yer ---- mouth, or I'll ---- come and knock
yer ---- head off!"

Sentry: "Pass, friend!"]

[Illustration: "Gott strafe this barbed wire."]

[Illustration: So Obvious.

The Young and Talkative One: "Who made that 'ole?"

The Fed-up One: "Mice."]

[Illustration: The Fatalist.

"I'm sure they'll 'ear this damn thing squeakin'."]

[Illustration: A Maxim Maxim.

"Fire should be withheld till a favourable target presents itself."]

[Illustration: Our Adaptable Armies.

Private Jones (late "Zogitoff," the comedy wire artist) appreciably
reduces the quantity of hate per yard of frontage.]

[Illustration: A.D. Nineteen Fifty.

"I see the War Babies' Battalion is a coming out."]

[Illustration: Frustrated Ingenuity.

Owing to dawn breaking sooner than he anticipated, that inventive
fellow, Private Jones, has a trying time with his latest creation, "The
Little Plugstreet," the sniper's friend.]

[Illustration: Keeping His Hand In.

Private Smith, the company bomber, formerly "Shinio," the popular
juggler, frequently causes considerable anxiety to his platoon.]

[Illustration: "---- ---- these ---- ---- rations."]

[Illustration: Dear ----

"At present we are staying at a farm..."]

[Illustration: The Eternal Question.

"When the 'ell is it goin' to be strawberry?"]

[Illustration: Directing the Way at the Front.

"Yer knows the dead 'orse 'cross the road? Well, keep straight on till
yer comes to a p'rambulator 'longside a Johnson 'ole."]

[Illustration: The Late Comer.

"Where 'ave you been? 'Avin' your bloomin' fortune told?"]

[Illustration: The Innocent Abroad.

Out since Mons: "Well, what sort of a night 'ave yer 'ad?"

Novice (but persistent optimist): "Oh, alright. 'Ad to get out and rest
a bit now and again."]

[Illustration: "There goes our blinkin' parapet again."]

[Illustration: "We shall attack at Dawn"

"Never mind about that now, drink this."

"The Push"--in Three Chapters.

By one who's been "Pushed."]

[Illustration: "The Spirit of our Troops is Excellent."]

[Illustration: The Things that Matter.

Scene: 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."]

[Illustration: The Soldier's Dream.

A "Bitter" disappointment on waking.]

[Illustration: The Thirst for Reprisals.

"'And me a rifle, someone. I'll give these ----s 'ell for this!"]

[Illustration: The Ideal and the Real.

What we should like to see at our billets--and (inset) what we do see.]

[Illustration: "Watch me make a fire-bucket of 'is 'elmet."]

[Illustration: "That 16-inch Sensation."]

[Illustration: That Sword.

How he thought he was going to use it----]

[Illustration: ----and how he did use it.]

[Illustration: What It Really Feels Like.

To be on patrol duty at night-time.]

[Illustration: "The same old moon."]

[Illustration: "My dream for years to come."]

[Illustration: Coiffure in the Trenches.

"Keep yer 'ead still, or I'll 'ave yer blinkin' ear off."]

[Illustration: Another Maxim Maxim.

"Machine guns form a valuable support for infantry."]

[Illustration: Our Democratic Army.

Member of Navvies' Battalion (to Colonel): "I say, yer mate's dropped
'is cane."]

[Illustration: Five days leave! Taxi!]

[Illustration: Never Again!

"In future I snipe from the ground."]

[Illustration: Thoroughness.

"What time shall I call you in the morning, sir?"

(Colonel Chutney, V.C., home on short leave, decides to keep in touch
with dug-out life.)]

[Illustration: That Hat.

"Pop out and get it, Bert."

"Pop out yerself."]

[Illustration: Springtime in Flanders.

"Personally, I think this is just what you want for laying your eggs in,
but, as Bairnsfather says, 'If you knows of a better 'ole, go to it.'"]

[Illustration: The Dud Shell--Or the Fuse-Top Collector.

"Give it a good 'ard 'un, Bert; you can generally 'ear 'em fizzing a bit
first if they are a-goin' to explode."]

[Illustration: "What's all this about unmarried men?"]

[Illustration: The Historical Touch.

"Well, Alfred, 'ow are the cakes?"]

[Illustration: His Initiation.

No. 99988 Private Blobs (on sentry-go) feels that he has at last
stumbled across the true explanation of that somewhat cryptic
expression, "There'll be dirty work at the cross-roads to-night!"]

[Illustration: When One Would Like to Start an Offensive on One's Own.

RECIPE FOR FEELING LIKE THIS--Bully, biscuits, no coke, and leave just

[Illustration: Trouble With One of the Souvenirs.

"'Old these a minute while I takes that blinkin' smile off 'is dial."]

[Illustration: The Conscientious Exhilarator.

"_Every encouragement should be given for singing and
whistling._"--(Extract from a "Military Manual.")

That painstaking fellow, Lieut. Orpheus, does his best, but finds it
uphill work at times.]

[Illustration: Its only a tumble down nest But--

The Nest.

"'Ere, when you're finished, I'll borrow that there top note of yours to
clean the knives with."]

[Illustration: Those Superstitions.

Private Sandy McNab cheers the assembly by pointing out (with the aid of
his pocket almanac) that it is Friday the 13th and that their number is
one too many.]

[Illustration: The Professional Touch.

"Chuck us out that bag o' bombs, mate; it's under your 'ead."]

[Illustration: Happy Memories of the Zoo.

"What Time do they Feed the Sea-Lions, Alf?"]

[Illustration: Observation.

"'Ave a squint through these 'ere, Bill; you can see one of the ----'s
eatin' a sausage as clear as anythin'."]

[Illustration: Immediate and Important!

Never has Private Smith's face felt so large and smooth as when he hands
his Captain the following message at what he feels is an unsuitable
moment: "The G.O.C. notices with regret the tendency of all ranks to
shave the upper lip. This practice must cease forthwith."]

[Illustration: Sir Plantagenet Smythe, at the battle of VIN ORDINAIRE
"On! On! ye Noble English!"

2nd Lieut. P. Smith, at the taking of "dead-pig" farm "Come on you
chaps! We'll show these ----s Which side their ---- bread's buttered!"

Other Times, Other Manners.

The Decline of Poetry and Romance in War.]

[Illustration: His Dual Obsession.

Owing to the frequent recurrence of this dream, Herr Fritz von
Lagershifter has decided to take his friends' advice: Give up sausage
late at night and brood less upon the possible size of the British Army
next spring.]

[Illustration: The Communication Trench.

PROBLEM--Whether to walk along the top and risk it, or do another mile
of this.]

[Illustration: Letting Himself Down.

Having omitted to remove the elastic band prior to descent, Herr Franz
von Flopp feels that the trial exhibition of his new parachute is a

[Illustration: Old Saws and New Meanings----By Bairnsfather.

There is certainly a lot of truth in that Napoleonic maxim, "An army
moves on its stomach."]

[Illustration: Nobbled.

"'Ow long are you up for, Bill?"

"Seven years."

"Yer lucky ----, I'm duration."]

[Illustration: The Intelligence Department.

"Is this 'ere the Warwicks?"

"Nao. 'Indenburg's blinkin' Light Infantry."]

[Illustration: Valuable Fragment from Flanders: It All Comes to This in

"This interesting fragment, found near Ypres (known to the ancients as
Wipers), throws a light on a subject which has long puzzled science,
i.e., what was the origin and meaning of those immense zigzag slots in
the ground stretching from Ostend to Belfort? There is no doubt that
there was some inter-tribal war on at this period."--_Extract from_
"_The Bystander_," A.D. 4916.]

[Illustration: In Nineteen Something: General Sir Ian Jelloid at Home.

Having picked up this cherished possession for a mere song at a sale
near Verdun, the General has now let his country seat, "Shrapnel Park,"
and says he finds the new abode infinitely cheaper, and not a bit
draughty, if you keep the breech closed.]

[Illustration: In and Out (I).

That last half-hour before "going in" to the same trenches for the 200th

[Illustration: In and Out (II).

That first half-hour after "coming out" of those same trenches.]



Pushfulness at Plug Street.

Colonel Ian Jelloid, of the Blobshire Rifles, being an energetic and
businesslike man, believes in advertising as an antidote to stagnant

[Illustration: His Secret Sorrow.

"I reckon this bloke must 'ave caught 'is face against some of them
forts at Verdun!"]

[Illustration: Are you there?

"Only just"


The Hard Lines of Communication.]

[Illustration: The New Submarine Danger.

"They'll be torpedoin' us if we stick 'ere much longer, Bill."]

[Illustration: This interesting view for 6 months ... or

This for half an hour


--As it is for most of us.]

[Illustration: A Matter of Moment.

"What was that, Bill?"

"Trench mortar."

"Ours or theirs?"]

[Illustration: The Saint.

That indiscriminating orb, the moon, gives Private Scattergood a saintly
appearance, sadly out of keeping with his thoughts. He's filling 100
sandbags at 11 p.m.]

[Illustration: Those Tubular Trenches.

"Is this right for 'eadquarters?"

"Yes, change at Oxford Circus."]

[Illustration: "Of course, personally I dont think there is anyone

"Nor do I"

Thinking it over subsequently in Boulogne,--an impression of
overcrowding predominates in recollections of "straighthing" that bit of
the line.

"We Look Before----And After."]

[Illustration: Con Moto Perpetuo.

"OUR BERT" (going on leave--having asked a question, and having listened
to three minutes' unintelligible eloquence): "And 'ow does the chorus

[Illustration: Real Sympathy.

"I wish you'd get something for that ---- cough of yours. That's the
second time you've blown the blinkin' candle out!"]

[Illustration: Entanglements.

"Come on, Bert, it's safer in the trenches."]

[Illustration: "How long have you got Fred?"


[Illustration: There are times when Private Lightfoot feels absolutely
convinced that it's going to be a War of Exhaustion.]

[Illustration: Chat on 'Change.

"You owes me two francs and I owes you one that's got into the lining of
me coat; that makes it right, don't it?"]

[Illustration: General Sir Frampton Prendergasp R.S.V.P. P.T.O. SOS a
rising and successful general, who is plotting an offensive

The General . . . Cyrus Moffat

Nancy Prendergasp, his daughter, who has gone in for nursing, unknown to
her father. She is in love with ----

Featuring Miss Sybil Fane

DICK MANVERS a lance Corporal in the pay department, who, after
extensive & painful researches, has invented a new bomb


Steven Fairbrother

Dick shows his new bomb to the General who decides to use it in the

But is overheard and seen by Captain ADRIAN BLACK an unscrupulous
adventurer in the pay of a powerful Government

That night he is seen by Nancy substituting PLUM & APPLE for The new




Flanders Film Mfg Co--Milwaukee, Wisconsin. U.S.A.]

[Illustration: The Offensive begins. The new bomb is found to be equally
explosive in spite of Captain Black's dark deed

Nancy, who fears disaster, steals her Father's private Howitzer and
races to the Offensive

Black throws every obstacle in her way

"Dont you know me Dick?"

The General, who has been doing a bit on his own, becomes the unwilling
witness of a touching scene

The General having heard their story, orders the arrest of Captain Black

How Dick Manvers Got His Star.

Every familiar feature of the Film is happily caricatured by Captain
Bairnsfather in his amusing page of pictures. The hero, the heroine
(with smile), the villain, the heavy father, all of the most approved
pattern--everything down to the meticulous inaccuracy characteristic of
the American film in matters of detail, is shown with the good-natured
sarcasm befitting a master of satire as well as of humour, while the
story tells itself with breathless enthusiasm.]

[Illustration: The Whip Hand.

Private Mulligatawny (the Australian Stock-whip wonder) frequently
causes a lot of bother in the enemy's trenches.]

[Illustration: Christmas Day: How it dawned for many.]

[Illustration: "Under the spreading chestnut tree the village smithy

[Illustration: Veni 1914

Vidi 1915

Vici! 1916

Augusts Three.

To each year its type.]

[Illustration: Overheard in an Orchard.

Said the Apple to the Plum: "Well, anyway, old man, they can never ask
us what we did in the great war!"]

[Illustration: LEARN To FIGHT

Anyone with a taste for Fishing, or Moth Collecting can learn to fight.

Anyone can put a hook in a worm, or a pin in a moth. WE DEVELOP THAT
INSTINCT, and by our Postal Course of Instruction, will help you to earn
big money by fighting

Subjects Taught:--

Bayonet work, bombing, & asphyxiation.

This sketch shows the work of a former pupil. Try this exercise yourself
on a friend, and tell us the result. We will at once tell you your
chances of success.

A lieutenant writes:--

Unfortunately I had not got as far as your chapter on Upper Cuts or I
feel sure I should not be where I am now

yrs truly

Clearing Station GezainCourt.

Bruce Bairnsfather

The demand for fighters exceeds the supply

Write today

The Asphyxobomb School of Instruction

[Advt] Hooge.

Tips for Tommies.

Now that the war has become a world business, we must at any moment
expect the appearance of this sort of thing in our papers.]

[Illustration: Whilst the preliminary bombardment is on, one gets the
idea that this is what's happening to the enemy machine guns.

Yet somehow or other, when one starts for that 220 yards handicap across
the turnip field, it feels something like this.

Bruce Bairnsfather

The Offensive.

What it looks like--and what it feels like.]

[Illustration: "The Imminent, Deadly Breach."

"Mind you don't fall through the seat of yer trousers, 'Arry!"]

[Illustration: Two minds with but a single thought, two hearts that beat
as one.


"Two minds with but a single thought."]

[Illustration: Trouville-sur-Somme.

"Tell 'er to 'op it, Bert. I'm sittin' on a bit o' shell or

[Illustration: Omar the Optimist.

          "Here with a loaf of bread beneath the row,
          A muttered curse, but ne'er a whine, and thou--
          Beside me, singing in the wilderness,
          The wilderness is Paradise enow."]

[Illustration: "Where do yer want this put, Sargint?"]

[Illustration: Coming to the Point.

"Let's 'ave this pin of yours a minute. I'll soon 'ave these winkles out
of 'ere."]

[Illustration: A Castle in the Air.

"A few more, Bert, and that there château won't be worth livin' in."]

[Illustration: The Freedom of the Seas.

"I wish they'd 'old this war in England--don't you, Bill?" (No

[Illustration: In Dixie-Land.

"Well, Friday--'ow's Crusoe?"]

[Illustration: Alas! Poor Herr Von Yorick!

Fricourt--July, 1916.]

[Illustration: Those Signals.

THE VIGILANT ONE: "I say, old chap, what does two green lights and one
red one mean?"

RECUMBENT GLADIATOR (just back from leave): "Two crêmes de menthe and a
cherry brandy!"]

[Illustration: His Christmas Goose.

"You wait till I comes off dooty!"]

[Illustration: Urgent.

"Quick, afore this comes down!"]

[Illustration: That tin hat feels something like this on the way to the

And about like this when you get there

My Hat!

Helmets, Shrapnel, One.]

[Illustration: The Candid Friend.

"Well, yer know, I like the photo of you in your gas mask best."]

[Illustration: The Long and the Short of It.

UP LAST DRAFT: "I suppose you 'as to be careful 'ow you looks over the
parapet about 'ere."

OUT SINCE MONS: "You needn't worry, me lad; the rats are going to be
your only trouble."]

[Illustration: "Old Moore" at the Front.

"As far as I can make out from this 'ere prophecy-book, Bill, the
seventh year is going to be the worst, and after that every

[Illustration: Supra-Normal.

Captain Mills-Bomme's temperature cracks the thermometer on seeing his
recent daring exploits described as "On our right there is nothing to

(_He and his battalion had merely occupied three lines of German
trenches, and held them through a storm of heavy Lyddite for forty-eight

[Illustration: 'old these ---- biscuits a minute while I 'as a go at
this ---- stuff

"Where the ---- 'ell are ye comin to!"

"---- your ---- eyes you can ---- well carry these ---- things yerself"

"yer ---- well wants elephants for this job"

Tactical Developments.

Private 9998 Blobs has always thought a machine for imitating the sound
of ration parties (and thus drawing fire) an excellent idea, but simply
hates his evening for working it.]

[Illustration: Bang Bang




That "Out Wiring" Sensation.]

[Illustration: Natural History of the War

The Flanders Sea Lion (Leo Maritimus).

"An almost extinct amphibian, first discovered in Flanders during the
Winter of 1914-15. Feeds almost exclusively on Plum and Apple Jam and
Rum. Only savage when the latter is knocked off."]

[Illustration: Things that Irritate.

Private Wm. Jones is not half so annoyed at accidentally falling down
the mine crater as he is at hearing two friends murmuring the first
verse of "Don't go down the mine, Daddy."]

[Illustration: Still Keeping His Hand In.

Private Smith (late Shinio, the popular juggler) appreciably lowers the
protective value of his section's shrapnel helmets by practising his
celebrated plate and basin spinning act.]

[Illustration: Those ---- Mouth-Organs.

"Keep away from the 'ive, Bert; 'e's goin' to sting yer!"]

[Illustration: Garcong! the bill, tres vite!

That Provost-Marshal Feeling.

A sensation only to be had at a Base--in other words, a base

[Illustration: Blighty!]

[Illustration: Those Raiders at the Seat of War.

"I wish the 'ell you'd put a cork on that blinkin' pin of yours,

[Illustration: Romance, 1917.

"Darling, every potato that I have is yours" (engaged).]

[Illustration: Modern Topography.

"Well, you see, here's the church and there's the post-office."]

[Illustration: "There Was a Young Man of Cologne."

(I've forgotten the rest of the poem, but it's something about "a bomb"
and "If only he'd known.")]

[Illustration: In the Support Trench.

Old Bill has practically decided to get Private Shinio (the
ex-comedy-juggler and hand-balancer) transferred to another platoon.]

[Illustration: It's the Little Things that Worry.

What is so particularly annoying to Private Lovebird is, that he would
not have had this bother with his dug-out if his leave had not been

[Illustration: That Periscope Sensation.

"I wonder if I oughtn't to tell the captain about that thing sticking up
in the sea over there."]

[Illustration: At the Brewery Baths.

"You chuck another sardine at me, my lad, and you'll hear from my

[Illustration: A Miner Success.

"They must 'ave 'ad some good news or somethin', Alf; you can 'ear 'em
cheerin' quite plain."]

[Illustration: Birds of Ill Omen.

"There's evidently goin' to be an offensive around 'ere, Bert."]

[Illustration: If Only They'd Make "Old Bill" President of Those

"Well, what's your job, me lad?"

"Making spots for rocking-horses, sir."

"Three months."

"Exemption, sir?"

"Nao, exemption be ----d! Three months' hard!"]

[Illustration: "Stars is funny things aint they Bill"


The Stargazers.

--and their return to earth.]

[Illustration: Down at the Ration Dump.

"Call me a Tank again, my lad, and I'll knock yer ---- 'ead off!"]

[Illustration: The Glorious Fifth.

"'Ere, Guy Fawkes--buzz off!"]

[Illustration: "Yes, you are, one pound nineteen and elevenpence
overdrawn, and that includes next month's pay"


When one feels rather in favour of floating a War Loan of one's own.]

[Illustration: This Muddy War.

"These 'ere staff cars do splash a lot, don't they, Bill?" (No

[Illustration: Unappetising.

Moments when the Savoy, the Alhambra, and the Piccadilly Grill seem very
far away (the offensive starts in half an hour).]

[Illustration: Fred's got leave!

That Leave Train

Second lieutenant Enoch Arden arrives on leave


"The train was a bit late darling"

That "Leave" Train.]

[Illustration: One often hears the question:--

"What could Napoleon have done in the Great War?"

He could certainly not have gone in for this

It would have to be this, or nothing

Other Times----Other Manners.]

[Illustration: The Tourists, 19..?

"Remember this place, Bert?"

"Yes, it's where we used to chuck the fish to you, ain't it, Bill?"]

[Illustration: Alas! My poor Brother!

(_In this cartoon Captain Bairnsfather refers to the report that the
corpses of German soldiers fallen in battle were utilised in a
Corpse-Conversion Factory for the purpose of providing fats for the

[Illustration: Can-Tank-erous.

"'Ere! Where the 'ell are ye comin' with that Turkish bath o' yours?"]

[Illustration: Curfew.

What particularly annoys Lieutenant Jones, R.F.A. (who thought he could
get a better view from the belfry), is that irritating prediction which
keeps passing through his head, "The curfew shall not ring to-night."]


On the "Leave" Train.

You will never quite realise how closely we are bound to our French Ally
until you have had the good fortune to travel on one of those "leave"
trains--six a side, windows shut, fifty miles to go, and eighteen hours
to do it!]

[Illustration: Getting the Local Colour.

In that rare and elusive period known as "Leave" it is necessary to
reconstruct the "Atmosphere" of the front as far as possible in order to
produce the weekly "Fragment."]

[Illustration: The Ghost of Dead Pig Farm--19..?

At midnight, an indignant, husky voice is heard to say: "B---- these
blinkin' sandbags."]

[Illustration: George versus Germany.

Should Mr. Robey be at any time called upon to go to the Front, he must
be careful how he does this: "I'm surprised at you, Ludendorff!"]

[Illustration: A Puzzle for Paderewski.

"It's a pity Alf ain't 'ere, Bert; 'e can play the piana wonderful."]

[Illustration: "Substitutes" in the Field.

"I thought you said your uncle was a sending you an umbrella."]

[Illustration: Leave.

Dep.: Paddington 2.15. Arr. Home 4.]

[Illustration: ROLLS-DAIMLER, 1917.--Four-seated Coupé body (très
coupé). Hardly been used, beautifully finished (almost completely). One
dickey seat (_very_ dickey), detachable rims (two already detached).
Only driven 10 miles (Albert to Gommecourt). Excellent shock absorber
(has absorbed any amount). In exceptional condition. £650 (or good bath
chair). BARGAIN.--Captain Somepush, No. 2, Red Cross, Rouen.]

[Illustration: Merely a Warning.

You dirty dog

To those who may be contemplating picking up a Government car cheaply
after the war. Insist on seeing photograph. Don't be satisfied by just
reading the advertisements.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's notes:

With the three noted exceptions, punctuation anomalies were retained to
match the original drawings. The exceptions are in the books printed
explanations, not in any cartoon.

Page 5, period added to illustration caption ("Jack Johnson" shell.)

Page 112, single opening quote changed to double. ("You wait till I)

Page 125, period added to title of picture to match rest of format (That
Provost-Marshal Feeling.)

Pages 93 and 98 were halves of the same comic. They were reattached to
aid readability. The original text can be found in the html version.

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