The Wipers Times complete set realises $13,000 in first world war auction

A rare complete set of the Wipers Times was among the highlights of Bonhams' First World War Centenary sale in London on October 1, achieving £8,125 ($13,161).

The lot belonged to editor Lieutenant Jack Pearson of the 12th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.

wipers times
The Wipers Times pre-dates the British satire boom of the late 1950s

The satirical newspaper features cartoons and in jokes dealing with trench life.

It originated in the trenches of the western front following the discovery of a printing press at Ypres in 1916 (the name refers to the British slang name for the town).

Unsurprisingly the humour is pitch black - one weather report gives odds of "5 to 1 Mist, 11 to 2 East Wind or Frost, 8 to 1 Chlorine".

It was issued on and off between 1916 and 1918 under a number of titles, including the Somme Times and the Better Times.

The paper also accepted submissions from regular soldiers, which tended towards poetry of varying quality.

One editorial states: "We regret to announce that an insidious disease is affecting the Division, and the result is a hurricane of poetry.

"Subalterns have been seen with a notebook in one hand, and bombs in the other absently walking near the wire in deep communication with their muse.

"Even Quartermasters with 'books, note, one' and 'pencil, copying' break into song while arguing the point re 'boots. gum, thigh'.

"The Editor would be obliged if a few of the poets would break into prose as the paper cannot live by poems alone."

Other lots in the sale included a collection of 750 photographs by Edward VIII, who visited the front in 1915. It sold for £7,500 ($12,123).

Click here to take a look at our fascinating selection of books and manuscripts.

Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about books and manuscripts auctions.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock