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Bruce Bairnsfather

World War I has a tremendous impact on Europe and particularly Great Britain. From numerous casualties to new forms of combat that included trench warfard and the use of poisonous gas, WWI took a physical and emotional toll on all of Great Britain. At the outbreak of WWI, Bruce Bairnsfather rejoined the Royal Wickshire Regiment, seeing action at the Battle of Mons and eventually, as Lieutenant, put in charge of the Maxim Machine-Gun section on the Western Front, (Bruce, p. 1). It was during battles in the trenches during WWI that Bairnsfather was subjected to a poisonous chlorine gas attack and heavy shelling. It was also during life in the ôtrenches,ö during the 2nd Battle of Ypres, that Bairnsfather became ôappalled at the horrorsö experienced by common soldiers at the Front (Duff, p. 1).

Out of this horror and chaos, Bairnsfather would discover the inspiration for the cartoon character, Old Bill, who would come to ôbest illustrate the practical philosophy of the British private soldierö during WWI (Duff, p. 1). This biography of Bruce Bairnsfather will explore his life, military experiences, and his subsequent career as a cartoonist, political propagandist, playwright and author.

The life of Bruce Bairnsfather began in Murree, India, where he was born to a Lieutenant in the Bengal Infantry, Thomas Bairnsfather, and his mother, Amelia Every. Though most accounts of BairnsfatherÆs birth mark the year as 1888, two historians who are responsible for winning the illustrator newfound recognition and appreciation, Toni and Valmai Holt[2] (p. 1), cite his year of birth as ô1873.ö Despite the confusion surrounding his year of birth, most agree upon September 29, 1959, as the date of death for the individual who General Sir Ian Hamilton called, ôThe man who won the warö (Holt and Holt[2], p. 2).

As a young boy, Bairnsfather was educated in schools in both India and Britain. By all accounts, the young man who wo...

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Bruce Bairnsfather. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:10, July 01, 2022, from