"To get an idea of the birth of the paper one has to visualize Wipers (Ypres) in those early days of 1916. We lived in rat-infested, water-logged cellars by day and Hooge by night. As an existence it had little to recommend it.
"The editorial den was in a casemate under the old ramparts built by Vaubin - heaven knows when! Though why the dear old bird built a wall fifty feet thick to keep out grape-shot - or whatever the Hun of the day threw around - is hard to say.
"However, God rest his soul!
"He gave us the only moments of security we had for three long months, and often we drank to his shadow"
THE EDITOR; Lieut-Col F. J. Roberts, M.C.
Sub-Editor ; Major J. H. Pearson, D.S.O., M.C.
Lieut-Col. F.J. Roberts
Editor : The Wipers Times
The Editorial Sanctum
Rear view above, and front view below
The first issue was dated Saturday 12th February, 1916. Price 20 francs.
The following items appear here at random from the various issues printed.
If you're waking call me early, call me early sergeant dear
For I'm very, very weary, and my warrant's come, I hear;
Oh! it's "blightie" for a spell, and all my troubles are behind,
And I've seven days before me
(Hope the sea will not be stormy)
Keep the war a'going, sergeant,
Train's at six, just bear in mind!
WANTED, few WIRE-CUTTERS, good openings for sharp young men. - Apply Box 203, No Man's Land
WANTED at once, PLATOON COMMANDER. Applicant must be offensive, and preference will be given to originality of ideas in this direction - Apply c/o this paper
WANTED, CHAUFFERS for the Base. Must be young and active and able to endure all the hardships attendant on base life. Good sallaries given to the right man. - Apply "Adventure". Boulogne
WANTED, good strong man as DOORKEEPER, Neuve Eglise Hippodrome. Ex-pugilist preferred - Apply Stoss and Mohl, c/o this paper
IF YOU want ANYTHING, advertise in these columns. You're sure to get it.
Spring is coming, watch the whizz-bang
As it shrieks with mad delight,
All the how'zers howl the message
As they break the still of night.
Through the winter, long and weary,
Cold and dreary, we have passed,
Lived and slept in Hell's own muddle,
Fed and worked in filth and puddle.
But here's end to all our worries,
Spring and sun have come at last.
OUR NEW SERIAL
Herlock Shomes at it Again
SHOT IN THE CULVERT
BILL BANKS - A corpse
LIZZIE JONES - A Questionable Person Living at Hooge
HAROLD FITZ GIBBONS - Squire of White Chateau (in love with Honoria)
INTHA PINK - A Pioneer (in love with himself)
HONORIA CLARENCEAUX - The Heroine (in love with Pink)
DR. HOTSAM, R.A.M.C..
The wind was howling round the rugged spires of the Cloth Hall, and the moon shone down on the carriage bringing the elite to the old town to the festivities arranged to celebrate the 73rd term of office of Jacques Hallaert, the venerable mayor of Typers.
Also the same moon shone down on the stalwart form of Intha Pink, the pioneer. He sighed as he passed the 'brilliantly lighted scene of festivity', thinking of days gone by and all that he had lost.
As he plodded his way, clad in gum boots, thigh, pairs one, he soliloquised aloud thus ; "What a blooming Gime! They gives me a blooming 'ammer, and then they tells me to go and build a blooming dug-out."
At that moment Intha fell into a crump-hole, and then continued his soliloquies thus; (To be continued)
This Herlock Shomes serial was a regular feature in The Wipers Times
SECRET NO. 99
(To be eaten as soon as read)
(a) ARTILLERY - The enemy put 35 shells into N. 502, z. 10 1/2, 6 3/4 at 7.35 am this morning. Considerable damage done to the "Toughs" Rum Ration. A gas shell of the XYZ variety fell near the sentry at A.1.B.1.1. In common with many of his kind he had no helmet gas. His language was awful.
(b) SNIPING - Inactive - more expected when we get our new issue of silver plated tin hats.
(c) TRENCHES & WORKS - One man was seen shovelling at T. 10.9 5 1/2, 2 7/8 at 10.49 am. He wore a light green cap with a blue peak - he had no tunic on, and his trousers were torn by the left knee.
A new trench is being dug from X 2. b. 10.10. Sandbagging also is evident here - the enemy is probably using the same earth to fill them.
(d) GENERAL - At X. 2. C 9 1/2. 9 1/2 a man cliumbed a tree, put his left leg over a branch, pulled out a bright blue handkerchief with red spots on it. and waved it three tims. This was evidently a signal.
A puffing noise was heard at 9.30 pm coming from the direction of the railway at N.2.C. Probably an engine.
A train left O.3 a.2.0. at 7.35 pm, giving three short and two long whistles before it started.
Transport, loud cries, whistling and general movement was noticed at Crump Farm. Evidently a new dump. Our artillery have been advised of this fact.
Two green lights went up at 11.30am opposit Trench 132. They turn into three red and finally four green on coming down.
The world wasn't made in a day;
And Eve didn't ride on a 'bus
But most of the world's in a sandbag
The rest of it's plastered on us.
Oh Dear! Nearly a column to be written, and the Editor has detailed me for the job. He won't have anything about the War, as he says he's 'fed up' with the subject, so what on earth shall I yarn about? I wonder if he's heard the tale of the Transport Officer and the rum? Of course there are many tales of T.O.'s and rum. The oldest one of all is the one of the T.O. who didn't like rum.
But this tale I'm going to tell you is true.
There was once a T.O. who was coming up with the rations, The rations included 'rum for weary soldiers'. Also the cargo and consignment of tear-gas in a rum-jar for the M.O. to try a few experiments with. This is all the tale - but I may as well add that the T.O. recovered.
Did you ever hear the tale of the General, the Tommy and the letter? Oh! I mustn't tell that tale, what a pity! (I wonder how many tales it takes to fill a column?)
Did you ever hear the tale of the five officers in a dug out? One I am afraid had too great a fancy for alcoholic stimulant. A great big fat rat appeared. Silently they all looked at one another. 'I didn't see it!' blurted out our alcoholic friend. That ought to about do it, so, having obeyed orders, I'm off to bed. Adios!
A DAY FROM THE LIFE
OF A "SUB"
IN DIVISIONAL RESERVE.
12'40 a.m. - Sleeping peacefully
12'45 a.m. - Not sleeping peacefully
12'50 a.m. - Awakened by a noise like a fog-horn gone quite mad.
12'55 a.m. - Realise that someone has smelt gas, cannot find gas-helmet or shirt.
1 a.m. - Grope around for matches and candle - find out to my discomfort several extra articles of furniture in the hut - curse volubly.
1'5 a.a. - People rush in to remind me that I am orderly "bloke". Have heated altercation with "next for duty" as to when term of office ends. Matter settled by the entrance of C.O. - AM orderly officer.
1'15 a.m. - Stumble round camp - rumour of "Stand - to" - curse abominably.
1'30 a.m. - Rumour squashed - gas alarm false - somebody's clockwork motor-bike horn became unstuck - curse again - retire to bed.
3'30 a.m. - Sleeping peacefully.
3'55 a.m. - Alarming noise. Somebody with bigger feet than sense of decency, enters the hut, and knocks over a bully-beef box doing excellent work as a chair, collides with everybody's field-boots, mistakes my bed for his, and sits down on same - .....
3'59 a.m. Order restored by Company Commander.
6.0 a.m. - Reveille
6.30 a.m. - Get up, and wearily put on one or two garments, including somebody's else's tie. Spend pleasant moments searching for my wandering collar stud.
7 a.m. - Go out and wave my limbs about for 45 minutes to the tune of "Head backward be e-e-nd."
7'45 a.m. - Try to shave - we have one mirror amongst six.
8 a.m. - Breakfast. The cook has plentifully peppered the sausage, put salt in my tea by mistake.
9 a.m. - Take party to and from the baths - one man has no cap badge - collect a bird from Adjutant. Have a bath myself, when nicely soaped that water gives out, becoming mud - curse offensively.
10 a.m. - Orderly room - attend with Company conduct sheets, collect another bird. Make arrangements for a cage and a supply of seed for same.
11 a.m. - Retire to hut and quaff a stoop of ale.
11'5 a.m. - Two in command arrives inappropriately, speaks his mind and retires.
11'10 A.M. - Inspect my huts and men, their clothes, rifles, gas helmets, feet etc.
12 noon - Realise I am not being as offensive as I might be, and so go and annoy the next Company (who were working last night); by creeping in, starting their gramaphone with the loudest, longest and most loathed record, and creeping out again.
12'10 - p.n. - Angry "sub" in pyjamas enters, am busy writing letters. After a few choice remarks about people in general and myself in particular, he goes away.
1 p.m. - Lunch
2 p.m. - Sleeping peacefully.
4'30 p.m. Tea.
5'30 p.m. - Fall in working party, astonishin number in my platoon suffer from bad feet at this hour. Discuss their ailment with them, and inspect members affected.
6'30 p.m. - Reach lorries and pack men in. No. 9999 Pte Jones X falls off and sprains his ankle and proceeds to camp.
7'30 p.m. - Arrive aqt rendez-vous and await R.E.
8 p.m. - Await R.E.
9 p.m. - Await R.E.
9'15 p.m. - R.E. arrive in the shape of one most intelligent sapper.
9'30 p.m. - Loaded with material, proceed to job.
9'45 p.m. - My sergeant rushes up. Pte McNoodle, a sheet of corrugated iron, a duckboard, and a crump-hole full of water have got rather mixed. Leave a lance-corporal to straighten matters.
10 p.m. German machine-gun annoying. Gratetful for tin-hat.
1 a.m. - Return to lorries.
2 a.m. - Reach camp and retire to bed..
SEMI - DETACHED
At a lofty elevation
Floating lazy in the sun,
What an ideal occupation
Keeping watch on brother Hun!
Though a "sausage" is my villa
Far from angry whizz-bangs' scream,
I can watch the caterpillar,
And all things are what they seem
In a contemplative Manner
When the "big push" is begun
'Tis from here I'd love to see it
From my place up in the sun..
OUR SHORT STORY
It was Christmas morning in the trenches!
TO MY CHUM
No more we'll share the same old barn
The same old dug-out, same old yarn,
No more a tin of bully share
Nor split our rum by a star-shell's glare
So long old lad.
What times we've had, both good and bad,
We've shared what shelter could be had,
The same crump-hole when the whizz-bangs shrieked,
The same old billet that always leaked,
And now - you've "stopped one".
We'd weathered the storms two winters long
We'd managed to grin when all went wrong,
Because together we fought and fed,
Our hearts were light; but now - you're dead
And I am mateless.
Well, old lad, here's peace to you,
And for me, well, there's my job to do,
For you and the others who are at rest
Assured may be that we'll do our best
Just one more cross by a strafed roadside,
With it's G.R.C., and a name for guide,
But it's only myself who has lost a friend,
And though I may fight through to the end,
No dug-out ot billet will be the same,
All pals can only be pals in name,
But we'll all carry on till the end of the game
Because you lie there.
OUR NEW INSURANCE SCHEME
IS YOUR DUG-OUT IN A DANGEROUS POSITION?
WE WILL INSURE IT FOR YOU AT A VERY SMALL CHARGE
Send for our Booklet
OR DROP US A CARD WHEN OUR AGENT WILL CALL ON YOU.
If you dug-out's insecure,
Against the crump we will insure.
COOKER INSURANCE CO.
A FEW NUSERY RHYMES
Little Tom Buffet,
Thought he would snuff it
When hit on the chest with a shell,
The shell was a dud-un
So all of a sudden
He rose and is now doing well.
Ride a crocked horse
To Mobile, of course,
And see the old vet. standing there at a loss;
It may have big side bones,
A splint or a sprain,
I'ts a ten to one shot, if you see him again.
Tommy found a little Hun,
With whom he had a tussle;
He fixed his bayonet on his gun,
And stuck it in his bussle.
Bah, bah, Quarter, have you any rum?
Yes sir, yes sir, come! come! come!
A jar for the transport,
A jar for the Coy's
The rest is for the Q.M.
And all his merry boys.
Dickory, dickory, dock,
I've had a terrible shock;
For a bit of a spree
Fourteen days - F.P.,
Dickory, dickory, dock.
DO NOT READ THIS!!!
UNLESS YOU HAVE A GIRL AT HOME.
If you have of course you want to send her a souvenir.
WE can supply just the tasty little thing you want.
Thousands to choose from;
GERMAN SHOULDER STRAPS; 1/- each 10/- a dozen
DITTO, BLOODSTAINED; 1/6 each 15/- a dozen
SHELL HOLES, COMPLETE; 50/- each
DUCKBOARDS - ENGLISH; 5/- each
DUCKBOARDS - GERMAN; 10/- each
IRON CROSS; 6d. a gross
|Bullets carefully fixed in
Bibles (for maiden aunts)
Photographs (for fiancees)
"To please your best girl, it is clear,
You must procure a souvenir."
SOUVENIR MANUFACTURING COMPANY, CAMBRAI
Sing a song of Christmas!
Pockets full of slush,
Four and twenty P.B.I.
A dixey full of "mush",
When that dixey's opened
The Tommies said " Oh my!
It's beef to-day by way of change"
And then began to cry.
Can You Wait?
IF NOT, WHAT IS THE GOOD OF
YOUR JOINING UP IN A QUEUE?
We Give Instructions
5 GUINEA COURSE OF 6 LESSONS
AFTER WHICH WE GUARANTEE
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO WAIT ANYWHERE.
ALSO THERE'S A CHANCE OF
"WAITING" TILL THE WAR'S OVER, THUS
AVOIDING INQUISITIVE TRIBUNALS
"If you're single and A 1,
Come and learn to wait, my son."
WRITE; Cuthbert & Slacker, ENGLAND.
Things We Want to Know
.The name of the subaltern who told the Major that to take his wife to Nottingham Goose Fair was like taking a sandwich to the Lord Mayor's Banquet.
Whether the London papers are aware there are a few BRITISH troops on the western front.
What Fritz said when he hurriedly left his sausages the other day.
Whether Tina's knowledge of troop movements is more profitable than her canteen.
The number of bones that have been sent to the soup kitchens up-to-date, and what is being done with them?
The name of the Camp Commandant who bought up all the whiskey in Bethune owing to early advice of the coming drought.
Whether a certain officer is shortly publishing a little song entitles "Why was I so careless with the boots?"
Whether a Camp Commandant we know can give us a return of the number of dogs in his disrtict, size, colour and pedigree.
The name of the M.O. who is not a doctor.
OUR SHORT STORY
There once was a teetotal Q.M.
LOVER OF NATURE - Nothing doing, that bird's dead.
PRO BONO - Noise you complain of is our new metre gun. Certainly, will have it removed if it disturbs your peace.
SUBALTERN - No, the death penalty is not enforced in the case of murdering an adjutant, as you can always be able to prove extenuating circumstances.
999 - Your little effort, though both terse and amusing, is hardly of the 'timbre' to appeal to the staid and pious readers of this journal. Why not try the 'Winning Post'?
B.G.M. - Above paragraph for your attention and future guidance please.
MURIEL - No, up to the present officers on the Staff do NOT wear red gas helmets; but your suggestion is a good one, and will be forwarded to the right quarter.
SADIE - He did not really marry his platoon, so there is still hope for you.
No.1 Vol 1 Saturday, 12th February, 1916, Price 20 Francs
No2. Vol 1 Saturday, 26th February, 1916, Price 100 Francs
No.3 Vol 1 Monday, 6th March, 1916, Price 200 Francs
No.4 Monday, 20th March 1916, Price 50 Centimes
No.1 Vol 1 Monday, 17th April, 1916 Price 5 Francs
No.2 Vol 1 Monday, 8th May, 1916 Price 10 Francs
No.3 Vol 1 Monday, 22nd May, 1916 Price 1 Franc
No.4 Vol 1 Monday, 29th May, 1916 Price 1 Franc
No.1 Vol 1 Monday, 3rd July, 1916, Price 1 Franc
No.1 Vol 1 Monday, 31st July, 1916 Price 1 Franc
No.1 Vol 1 Friday, 1st December, 1916 Price 1 Franc
No.2 Vol 1 Monday 25th December, 1916 Price 1 Franc
No.3 Vol 1 Saturday, January 20th, 1917 Price 1 Franc
No.4 Vol 1 Monday, March 5th, 1917 Price 1 Franc
No 5. Vol 1 Tuesday, April 10th, 1917 Price 1 Franc
No 1. Vol 2 Wednesday, August 15th, 1917 Price 1 Franc
No.2 Vol 2 Saturday, September 8th, 1917 Price 1 Franc
No.3 Vol 2 Thursday, November 1st, 1917 Price 1 Franc
No.4 Vol 2 Tuesday, December 25th, 1917 Price 1 Franc
No.5 Vol 2 Tuesday, January 22nd, 1918 Price 1 Franc
No.6. Vol 2 Tuesday, February 26th, 1918 Price 1 Franc
No.1 Vol 1 November, 1918 Price 1 Franc
No.2 Vol 1 December, 1918 Price 1 Franc
"When this blooming War is over
Oh! How happy we shall be
When we get our civvy clothes on
No more soldiering for we."
(Expurgated Soldier's Song)