NYT 26.03.16

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NYT 26.03.16 - 3 . lfc Ho. YA Tdo Uuw MaiA 21 HI6 77e Soldier...
3 . lfc Ho. YA Tdo Uuw MaiA 21 HI6 77e Soldier Who Has Made All England Laugh Captain Bruce -Bairnsfather Not Only Dodges Shells but Finds ! Time to Picture the Adventures of Tommy 'Atkins Under Fire J NGLAND, young and old, HI jooks lorwara every wee: to the Bairnsfather cartoon, I 'which comes straight from A the trenches in Flanders. - done in black and white. " Bairnsfather is not a Raemaekers; he makes you laugh, not weep, and because lie mates you laugh and forget the sorry side of war. The London Bystander, which discovered him, has made - the worthy Captain a widely advertised feature. He is one of the " hits " (not in an artillery sense) of the war-Professional war artists and photographers are familiar; but a trench : cartoonist, who is also a soldier, is something of a novelty. " Bairnsfather Captain Bruce Bairnsfather, to give his full same is an of ficer of the Royal Warwickshire Begi-snent and an incorrigible optimist. The publisher of The Bystander has recently issued a book of his drawings, under the title " Fragments from France," and asserts in' a foreword that the soldier-artist became a soldier first and an artist afterward. With out the war he might never have put pencil to paper. But the war insisted. If humor is a de-feet " there would seem to- be no hope for Bairnsfather. He sketches perturbed and un poised soldiers in the trenches in a way that shows with excruciating' detail their - mental and physical gymnastics immediately preceding the arrival of a 18-inch shell usually after the shell has made its appearance ver the horizon. Throughout the series the approach f a whose flock of shells seems momentarily imminent, except in those pictures where it is manifest ' at sight that the shells have come and gone. , The most upstanding humor pervades them all A soldier (Bairnsfather himself) about to incur a haircut under fire is warned: "Keep yer 'ead still, or IH ave yer blinkin' ear off." All are vigorously melodramatic In some the men show that they are flurried by agitations as to loss of time, and altogether inspired with but a wary confidence in their ability to get out of range of the shrieking demons only a few feet behind them. Captain ' Bairnsfather has re ceived from somewhere in France a letter which describes the result he attains ' in his sketches, as follows: r Twenty years after peace has been - 4 -T - , - , . .... . " Machine cons form a valuable bud port for infantry." : I I , ' a fann. Dear 'At present we are staying at r, V.- - CO". ) : f r: 1 1 - : - a , r . v ', . - "a to, the colors 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 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." The editor points out that Captain Bairnsfather went to the front in no mood of a Mchiel takin' notes." It was the notes that took him. Before the war, soma time a regular soldier, tome time an engineer, he had little other idea than to sketch for mischief on walls, and shirt cuffs, and tablecloths. To quote again: ' u It is not for this mere editor to fore-east his vogue in posterity. Naturally I . hope it will be a lasting one, but I am prejudiced. 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 wQI 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?" 'When the ardent jingo of the day after ' tomorrow rattles the .sabre, let there be somewhere handy a copy" of "Fragments from France," its . publisher suggests, . that . can ' be opened in ' front of him, at any page, just to remind him of . what war is really like in "civilized" times. Verses surrounding the picture of a disconsolate soldier .in a dugout prove that the Captain is as ready .with words for- the expression of- Ideas as. with those telling strokes of the pencil that result in wonderful . faces shown in the throes of every conceivable excitation. " V J Captain Bruce Bairnsfather. . (Illustrations Yrora "FracroenU from France v " Where did that one go? " published by Tb Bystander. London.) .? They've evidently ren sne!1 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 humor, your fidelity, your something-else not easily defined I mean your power of expressing, in black and white a condition of mind!? v : iWhen Tommy went out to the great war . he went smiling, and singing the latest ditty of the . halls, writes the publisher, of., this Bairnsfather hook of sketches. The enemy scowled. War,v said ' his professors of Kulture and "his hymns ters of hate, could .never, be waged in the Tipperary spirit, and r the -nation that sent to the front soldiers who sang and laughed must be the J very' decadent England they had all, along,, denounced as unworthy of world-power.' : ; " I fear," adds the writer," " the -enemy win ' be even 'more infuriated whep he turns over the pages of this book. In it the spirit of the British citizen soldier, who, "hating war' as be hated heU, flocked if- if- -'; V.'-; I: fj. Colonel Fitz-Shrapnel receives the following ' message - from ' ' headquarters: " Please let "us kaow, as noon as possible, the number of tins of raspberry jam issued to yoa last Friday."

Clipped from
  1. The New York Times,
  2. 26 Mar 1916, Sun,
  3. Page 66

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