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Monday, 5 July 2010


War-time humour is a difficult subject, and when the 'Great War' as it was known broke out in 1914 the cartoonists of the day obviously had a period of doubt as to where their exact duty lay. War, with its unspeakable horrors and always misery-making consequences, is very far from being a fun-productive subject. However, very soon into the conflict it became apparent that the serving men and women had not allowed their native sense of humour to be quenched. Very much to the contrary, there was never a time when the cartoonist was more needed to help lighten the darkness into which ultimately most of Europe was plunged. Illustrated below is one from this era, and over the weeks I will post up some more showing how the humour progressed as the War dragged on to it's final conclusion in 1918. Frederick H. Townsend (1868-1920) cartoon shows how the soldiers coped with the French language.

Transcript below:

TOMMY: (to Jock, on leave). "What about the lingo? Suppose you want an egg over there, what do you say?"
JOCK: "Ye juist say, 'Oof.' "
TOMMY: "But suppose you want two?"
JOCK: "Ye say 'Twa oofs,' and the silly auld fule wife gies ye three, and ye juist gie her back one. Man, it's an awfu' easy language."

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