Saturday, September 21, 2013

Scout Camp at Seasalter August 1912

Little did this group of Scouts and their leaders realise that within 2 years of this carefree camp at Seasalter, that the Country would be entering the First World War.

The camp is taken place on the reclaimed marshland at Seasalter in August, 1912. 

The Scouts and Leaders are from Number 3, Lady Harris' Own, Faversham.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

WW1 Postcard - Kent the Doorway to England

Postcard produced by Voile and Roberson's of Faversham. The card appears to be a recruitment advertisement for an early form of 'Home Guard' - "Kent The Doorway of England - I had rather be a doorkeeper in the County of Kent than dwell in the Tents of the Huns."

The card was posted by Billy High to his mother in February 1917, as a means of letting her know where he was posted, without upsetting the censor.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Boy Scouts in WW1 - Wilmot Lunt

Superb Wilmot Lunt cartoon published in 'Punch' on October 21st 1914. Lunt was a regular contributor to Punch and other periodicals throughout WW1.

Born as Samuel Wilmot Lunt in Warrington, Cheshire. Lunt attended the Académie Julian in Paris and showed at Paris Salon in 1901

This scene depicts Boy Scouts who have been deployed in duties such as guarding the Country's coastlines and railway network. This particular pair of Scouts are shown hunting Germans: 
Boy Scout "Xcuse me Mum, 'ave yer seen any Germans about 'ere?"

A clearer image of the Cartoon 

Boy Scouts in WW1 - Cartoonist Bert Thomas (1883-1966)

Bert Thomas joined 'Punch' the British weekly magazine of humour and satire in 1905 and contributed until 1935. During the First World War he was in the Artist Rifles

Thomas' political cartoons started to be included in gallery exhibitions as artistic caricatures as early as 1913, in an exhibition on the Strand by the Society of Humorous Art.  

Thomas became famous for drawing also drew the cartoon of a grinning soldier lighting a pipe with the caption “’Arf a mo’ Kaiser!”. The cartoon appeared in the Weekly Dispatch in aid of the paper’s 'Tobacco-for-Troops Fund' which raised around £250,000. In 1936 his illustrations for a series of readers’ letters in the Evening News were labeled “Half a mo’ stories” and in the Second World War the cartoon reappeared with the caption “Half a mo’ Hitler”.


On October 2nd 1918, 'Punch' published a Bert Thomas cartoon depicting a boy speaking to his father, an Army officer. The boy is alluding that his Scoutmaster knows more about military tactics than his father:  

Boy: "Here's my Scout-Master coming Dad. I'll introduce you. If you talk about military subjects be careful won't you? Because he's awfully clever."

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

WW2 - 'The Ironside Plan'

 The Ironside Plan

In 1940 General William Ironside, Chief of the Imperial General Staff proposed plans to defend and fortify the country to counter the threat of German invasion. Ironside pronounced his plan would - "Prevent the enemy from running riot and tearing the guts out of the Country."

‘Coastal Crust'

Troops constructing Z1 invasion barrier

Lieutenant-General Thorne was appointed to oversee the defence of Kent and the South East of England and Kent. Thorne considered the enemy would make landings between Graveney and Dover and he ordered the construction of obstacles and fortifications laid down a line across the marshes incorporating the railway and where possible natural features. The defences became known as the – ‘Coastal Crust’.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Emilio Coia - Wartime Cartoonist

Emilio Coia 

Emilio Coia was born in Glasgow on 13 April 1911, the son of Giovanni Coia, an Italian immigrant who owned ice-cream shops and cafes in the city. Educated at St Mungo's Academy, Glasgow, Coia began studying at the Glasgow School of Art in 1927, at the age of sixteen, under Maurice Greiffenhagen who quickly recognised his talents as a caricaturist
While still a student Coia drew for GUM - the Glasgow University Magazine, and was the first artist to cover the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, for the Scots Observer. After five years at art school, and in the face of parental opposition to his marrying a protestant, Coia eloped to London with a fellow student.

With just twelve pounds to his name, Coia touted his drawings around Fleet Street, selling his first caricatures to the
Sunday Chronicle. He also contributed to Everybody's, Bookman, the Daily Express, Tatler, Sketch, Passing Show, Sunday Referee, Week-end Review, News Chronicle and others. Coia was hailed as "the first Cubist caricaturist", but in 1932 his association with the Sunday Chronicle came to a sudden end when the paper's most influential columnist, Beverley Nichols, objected strongly to Coia's drawing of his friend the novelist Ethel Mannin. He demanded that it be removed from the artist's first one-man show at the Reid & Lefebre Gallery, London, and when Coia refused he was sacked by the Chronicle's editor James Drawbell.

Soon his abilities came to be recognised and he drew and became
friends with Bernard Shaw, G K Chesterton, W H Auden,  Rebecca West, T S Elliott, Evelyn Waugh, the Sitwells, Max Beerbohm, D H Lawrence, Henry Moore, Augustus John, Stephen Spender, George Braque, W H Auden, Alfred Hitchcock, Hugh McDiarmid, Cary Grant, Henry Moore and Stravinsky, among many other personalities from the realms of art, literature and the theatre.  

Many of the caricatures featured in his first one-man exhibition in 1932 at the Reid and Lefebre Gallery in London.  But high prices were not paid for caricatures; and he also lost his newspaper job at the insistence of the well-known and influential Chronicle columnist, Beverly Nichols, who objected to Coia’s caricature of his friend, the novelist, Ethel Mannin.  Emilio later remarked that her surname was appropriate.   

Coia got a job as assistant advertising manager and later personnel manager at a heavy engineering firm in Rochester in Kent - Winget Concrete and Machinery which during the war years produced anti-aircraft shells and winches for the Admiralty.  "The war divided me," he later recalled: "I felt a Britisher, but my blood is Italian. I actually tried to join the British Army at Chatham Labour Exchange but I was told I was doing too important a job at the factory." 

Winget Factory in Strood, Kent
Coia created Miss Swinger for Winget Life - Winget's  in-house magazine. Miss Swinget's adventures appeared in the early editions of the magazine in 1939. She had escapades in the and encounters with amorous admirers. Her exploits however were short lived and once the Phoney War was over she was abandoned in favour of news relating to the company's war work.  
Miss Swinget circa 1939
Coia turned his talent to producing cartoons about wartime events and began his series of staff caricatures. He also produced a series of cartoons entitled "Winget Concrete is Great Concrete".

Coia Cartoon " Winget Concrete is Great Concrete" 

                                          Joseph Stalin   George Bernard Shaw
                      Samuel Hoare Maurice Hankey  Neville Chamberlain  Lord Halifax  Sir Kingsley Wood Leslie Hore-Belisha John Simon
                                      Lord Chatfield                                                                                                      Winston Churchill

Coia Cartoon "Great Concrete" Number 3
                      Mussolini                   Hitler

More Characters from the 'Tankerton Tapestry'


Turnstones on the beach

Seagull flying above beach

Seagull on a breakwater

Seagull at The Street

Crab in a beach minefield

Crab and Seagull on the beach

Kent and Whitstable Council Flags

Osbert the Observer

Dave Chisholm - Characters from the 'Tankerton Tapestry

Canterbury & Whitstable Railway
Police Constable and Air Raid Precautions Warden
Fisherman in Whitstable Harbour
Camouflaging a pillbox
Boy using his Dad's wire cutters to get to the beach
Army Nurse and member of Women's Army Auxiliary Corps
Auxiliary Fireman
Constructing tank traps and barbed wire entanglement
Army Nurse
Member of the Women’s Voluntary Services
Soldier and camouflaged pillbox

Sunday, September 01, 2013

WW2 - Special Constables in War Time Kent

A nice find on eBay - 'Kent Special Constabulary: Special Constables in War Time'. 

The manual provides guidance to the volunteer police officers who played such an important role during WW2. 

I will scan and post the contents.