A magazine-style book created in 1916 and composed entirely of articles and sketches contributed by British soldiers fighting on the front lines - a light-hearted and eclectic mix of stories, poems, cartoons and, littered at regular intervals throughout, a comic series of encyclopaedic entries for military terms. Although the editor George Goodchild states in his Editorial Note that his aim was "to give a really representative idea of the life and thought of the Army as a whole", there is nothing on the pain and horrors the soldiers faced on a daily basis. This is perhaps not that surprising, given the timing of the book. With the war still raging and spirits in need of lifting, you get the sense that it's been carefully edited to exclude anything too macabre and demoralising, though it still provides a fascinating glimpse into a special kind of humour that no doubt prevailed in and amongst the terrors experienced.
July 31, 2014