NOW RE-RELEASED TO TIE IN WITH THE BBC DRAMA, WRITTEN BY IAN HISLOP AND NICK NEWMAN. This edition features a foreword by Ian Hislop and a 5000 word introduction by military historian Malcolm Brown. In February 1916, Captain F. J. Roberts of the 12th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters produced the first edition of the trench newspaper The Wipers Times. Often produced in hazardous conditions, at one point only 700 yards from the front line, it acted as the voice of the average British soldier, relaying his experiences, grief and anger during the entire conflict. At times irreverent, at times hysterical, its humour and satire provide an excellent insight into life in the trenches in the First World War. Taking its name from the army slang for Ypres, where it was first produced, The Wipers Times was similar to Punch, but contained a more specific type of comedy relating exclusively to the soldiers on the Western Front. The satire and humour of the paper helped reinvent the situation in the trenches diffusing the conditions of war by ridiculing and exaggerating them. The paper's style was influenced by the difficulties of production. Articles had to be written in the limited free time the soldiers had; in dugouts, reserve lines or on rest. Apart from poetry and humorous articles, The Wipers Times also featured several comical advertisements and music hall parodies including a mock theatre or cinema programme from the Ypres Cloth Hall, long since destroyed by shellfire. The paper ran until December 1918, adopting such titles as The New Church Times, The Somme Times, The BEF (British Expeditionary Force) Times, and finally Better Times, produced when the war had ended.
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The Wipers Times' extraordinary mix of jokes, sarcasm, black humour and sentimental poetry make it a unique record of the period.... It is Blackadder for real and an obvious forerunner of magazines like Private Eye. --Ian Hislop
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