In February 1916, Captain F. J. Roberts of the British Expeditionary Force produced the first edition of The Wipers Times. Usually produced in hazardous conditions—at one point production was only 700 yards from the front line—it acted as the voice of the average soldier as it relayed his experiences, grief, and anger. Articles were written by soldiers during their limited free time while in dugouts, reserve lines, or on rest, and were paired with poetry and jokes as well as comical advertisements and music hall parodies. Recreated here in facsimile are every volume of The Times up through its last issue, released after the end of the war in December 1918. Sometimes irreverent and often hysterical, the humor and satire of these papers provide an excellent insight into life in the trenches during World War I.
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Malcolm Brown is the author of Lawrence of Arabia: The Selected Letters, the Pan Ground Strategy series, and Suffering from Cheerfulness. Ian Hislop is the editor of Private Eye magazine.
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