By Maev Kennedy
Carl Giles’s work in the Daily Express did much for morale in the second world war and his spirit of fantasy extended to the stories he told about his own life
In September 1943, when the readers of the leftwing Sunday newspaper Reynolds News badly needed cheering up – with a long, cold, dark winter ahead and years of war and rationing to come – the paper lost its star cartoonist, Carl Giles. The shock was greater because the lifelong socialist had decamped to the Tory peer Lord Beaverbrook’s Express.
More than 100 of the cartoons that had kept the Reynolds News readers laughing, including many of heroic Russians such as an amiable Joseph Stalin propping up a bar, or a doughty little peasant woman bringing in a clump of roped-up captured German soldiers – have been collected for the first time in Giles’s War, edited by Tim Benson, an expert on the history of the British political cartoon.