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13 November 2014

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You are in: Wiltshire > History > Local History > Front line fun

Front line fun

WWI may have been a grim experience, but soldiers still maintained a sense of humour to offset the hardship, as a man from Swindon's old heirloom demonstrated.

Brian Heeley's WWI notebook full of soldiers jokes and illustrations

a WWI notebook full of soldiers jokes

Brian Heeley from Swindon visited our Wartime Discovery Day at the STEAM Museum on Saturday 8th November. The event was held in recognition of the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day.

Like many attendees on the day, he brought along a family heirloom pertaining to World War One. It was a notebook handed down by his mother who had been a nurse in the war caring for injured soldiers.

The book reveals that although the soldiers had suffered hardship and injury, trauma and pain they still maintained a sense of humour to help get them through their grim experiences.

Throughout the gilt-edged, beautifully preserved book are humorous illustrations and jokes drawn and written by the soldiers themselves.

Another page from the notebook

Another page from the notebook

One page shows a hand-drawn cartoon of a boy and his grandparent and is captioned:

Tommy: "I know why people laugh in their sleeves Grandpa."
Grandpa: "Why Tommy?"
Tommy: "Because that's where the funny bone is."

Talking of the book, Brian said: "It's been in the family for years - from my mother - and everyone admires it when they see it. 

"A lot of the people who wrote in it were wounded soldiers in the first world war in the hospital where she worked.

"She loved looking at it and showing it to everybody."

last updated: 10/11/2008 at 17:17
created: 10/11/2008

You are in: Wiltshire > History > Local History > Front line fun

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