Bairnsfather Desk Ornament

Historical note: 

This ornament features "Old Bill", an incredibly popular cartoon that was developed by war cartoonist Bruce Bairnsfather.

Bairnsfather served as a British soldier with a Machine Gun Unit during the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915, from which he was hospitalised with shell shock and hearing damage. He was then posted to the 34th Division on Sailsbury Plain. It was around this time that Bairnsfather came up with the character "Old Bill", for a series about life in the trenches. "Old Bill" featured in a weekly cartoon called 'Fragments from France' which was published by The Bystander.

Materials: 
Wood
Category: 
Souvenirs and ephemera
Location: 
England

On this day

On this day
16 February

1942— BANKA ISLAND MASSACRE. Following the sinking of the SS Vyner Brook, many of the survivors, including 22 Australian nurses, reached the shore of Banka Island. Realising that their position was desperate, an officer from the ship set out with most of the women and children to surrender the group to the Japanese. The officer returned with 20 Japanese soldiers who ordered all the men capable of walking to move to hidden part of the beach and killed them. They then returned to the beach and ordered the 22 nurses and 1 British civilian woman to walk into the water. They were machine-gunned in the back. All the immobile survivors were then killed. Sister Vivian Bullwinkle pretended to be dead and was the only survivor