FOREWORD By the Editor of "The Bystander." 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. 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? CAPTAIN BRUCE BAIRNSFATHERThis 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. 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....
""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?"" This book is part of the World War One Centenary series; creating, collating and reprinting new and old works of poetry, fiction, autobiography and analysis. The series forms a commemorative tribute to mark the passing of one of the world's bloodiest wars, offering new perspectives on this tragic yet fascinating period of human history. Each publication also includes brand new introductory essays and a timeline to help the reader place the work in its historical context.
"Bruce Bairnsfather (BB) was the most famous cartoonist of the First World War and his soldier characters Old Bill, Bert and Alf, faced with sardonic good humor everything that the Germans, the mud and their officers could throw at them. However, Bruce (known by some as The Man Who Won the War) never received the acclaim that he deserved for the morale boost that his cartoons gave to the troops at the front and to the people back at home. The 50th Anniversary of Bairnsfathers death on 29 September 2009 offered an opportunity to redress the balance, and acknowledging it in combination with raising funds for Help for Heroes (H4H) seemed to be most appropriate.The cartoons reproduced in this collection were originally drawn for The Bystander, a popular weekly magazine, in which they appeared each Tuesday throughout most of the Great War. Their effect on the public was totally unexpected, and so dramatic that Bystander sales soared. The organization, with unerring good judgement, decided it had a winner in Bairnsfather, and published the first 43 of his cartoons in an anthology. It was produced in February 1916, given the name Fragments from France and sold for 1s. On the front cover was a colored print of The Better Ole which soon became, and was to remain, the most loved of all Bairnsfathers cartoons. The authors own the original. Sales quickly reached a quarter of a million and a second anthology was published, More Fragments from France. It was described on the title page as Vol II and the price was still 1s. The cartoon on the cover was 'What time do they feed the sea lions'?In this volume The Bystander launched the first of a series of imaginative marketing exercises, similar to modern promotional methods. The full extent of the proliferation of the cartoons on all manner of products, from playing cards to pottery, is described in our Bairnsfather biography. Soon Still More Fragments from France were clamored for, and, with an eye to the future, the booklet was labeled No. 3 on the cover, Vol III on the title page. The success of the Fragments magazines was such that edition followed edition in rapid succession and at least eleven editions were published. The covers retained the same cartoon but were reproduced in different colors, both of board and ink green, blue, red, grey, fawn and mauve. In America Putnams issued Nos. I-IV as one volume and parts V and VI separately. Various hard and leather-bound collections were offered for sale by The Bystander, and the drawings were sold separately as prints and Portfolios for framing. They were also printed in color as giveaways for Answers magazine. Leafing through these pages, the reader will soon understand their tremendous popularity and success which have withstood the test of time."
The Bystander s Fragments from France More Fragments from France Still More Fragments from France Fragments Away from France Cartoons