BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Radio
TodayBBC Radio 4

Listen Again
Latest Reports
Interview of the Week
About Today
Today at 50
Message Board
Contact Today

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

Weekdays 6-9am and Saturdays 7-9am How to listen to Today
Latest Reports

Cartoons of Bruce Bairnsfather


war cartoonThe famous cartoon in Bystander - Christmas 1915.

A plaque is to be unveiled on a cottage in a Belgian village, commemorating the cartoonist, Bruce Bairnsfather a soldier in World War I.

Valmai Holt on Bruce Bairnsfather - the prolific war cartoonist whose work will be celebrated this weekend in Belgium.
cartoon - up a chimney

Bairnsfather up a chimney - attracting enemy fire

Imperial War Museum Cartoons

War Cartoons

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

farm buildings

Farm buildings on front lines were used as billets.
shell through a wall

The Germans even used this cartoon..
Xmas Truce - 1914

Xmas truce 1914 - cutting a German's hair.
The Plaque

This plaque will be unveiled on Sat at 1100
Bruce Bairnsfather served as a soldier during the First World War. The shocking events he witnessed on the front lines drove him to draw cartoons to cheer him up. It wasn't too long before he was drawing cartoons for other officers. These were spotted by his commanding officer, who suggested he submit them to magazines.

Although Bairnsfather is not well known as the poet Wilfred Owen, his depictions of the horrors of war touched the hearts of thousands of soldiers. As well as images of grim reality, he reflected the unbelievable humour and strong morale that existed between the men. In fact, war general, Sir Ian Hamilton, described Bairnsfather as "the man who won the war" for his unique ability to lift the troops spirits.

The Cartoons

"If yer knows a better 'ole, go to it" is probably one of the most famous wartime cartoons ever published. It shows two soliders arguing while surrounded by exploding bombs. Bairnsfather went on to create the archetypal British solider Old Bill and his work has been much copied during many conflicts - the most recent being the Iraq war.

The Plaque

Bruce Bairnsfather spent much of his time in the trenches of Belgium. It is here on the side of a small cottage in St Yvon, that a plaque will be unveiled at 11am on Saturday 13th December. Some of his supporters hope that despite the fact he was not recognised at the time, he may still receive a posthumous award.


Back to Reports Homepage

Latest Reports

Back to Latest Reports Homepage

Audio Archive
Missed a programme? Or would you like to listen again?
Try last 7 days below or visit the Audio Archive page:


Today | Listen Again | Latest Reports | Interview of the Week | About Today | Today at 50 | Have Your Say | Contact Today

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy