Punch goes to war – ed by Helen Walasek

This is a gorgeous book to dip into. It was one of my last indulgences before I got back on the no book buying wagon after Christmas. So, on this soggy Sunday in Melbourne, I thought I’d share some of the cartoons & pictures from Punch goes to War, a selection of the funniest cartoons & articles published in Punch during WWII. I like the Home Front ones best, that’s my special interest.

There’s a whole series called Wartime Weaknesses. This one pokes fun at the English love of endless cups ot tea. It’s by Pont (Graham Laidler).

Fire watching was one of the most important jobs on the Home Front. Here’s the Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison, in full fire watching gear by Leslie Illingworth.

This lady may have taken camouflage a little too far. By Rowland Emett.

Punch was seen as essential reading for the troops as well as those at home. By Douglas England.

The Blitz spirit came to the fore after air raids like the one which devastated London on December 29, 1940. The survival of St Paul’s Cathedral became a symbol of resistance.This cartoon is by W A Sillince & the caption is “Actually this is very much as Wren INTENDED us to see St Paul’s.”

This picture by E H Shepard called The Lights O’London or Happy Dreams. I can only admire anyone able to sleep through that!

Punch goes to War is a lovely book that I’ll be dipping into often.

6 thoughts on “Punch goes to war – ed by Helen Walasek

  1. I can see that this will have to be added to my wishlist. The first picture with the tea cups made me laugh but the last picture is quite poignant. Glad to read Desperate Reader's recommendation as well!


  2. Darlene, it's the perfect book for you after Few Eggs & No Oranges. Hayley, it's the kind of book I'll pick up & browse through when I've just read a book about WWII or I'm just in that Home Front mood. I'm sure you know what I mean! Thank you for tempting me to buy it.


  3. This looks like an amazing book. Shepard – the name is so familiar. Is he the one who did the illustrations for Winnie the Pooh? I love the Christopher Wren one. I've recently been reading Connie Willis's two book time travel saga which takes us back to the Blitz on kind of an intimate level – with the people on the streets and in the underground tunnels having to endure the nightly barrage. My admiration for the Brits during this time knows no bounds.


  4. Yvette, yes, EHS did the Pooh illustrations. A A Milne was a deputy editor of Punch for a while as well. Simon from Stuck In A Book is the Milne expert. He has a Milne giveaway on his blog at the moment so just click on his link above if you want to know more. My favourite Blitz book is Vere Hodgson's diary, Few Eggs & No Oranges (Persephone).


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