February 10th 2022
The cartoonist, Carl Giles, once said that he loved his creation, Grandma Giles – that fearsome, black-clad, gambling, drinking battleaxe – because she allowed him to say things through his cartoons that he was too polite to say in person. She helped him to poke fun at authority in all its forms, from Hitler to traffic wardens and even his employers at the Daily Express, who didn’t trust him and had sub-editors scouring his cartoons for subversive background details. His admirers included Prince Charles, Sir Malcolm Sargent and Tommy Cooper, and it was no surprise when he was voted Britain’s best-loved cartoonist in 2000. Few people realise, however, that this likeable and humane satirist was also a war correspondent who witnessed the horrors of Belsen, where he found that the camp commandant, Josef Kramer, was also a great fan of his work. Giles gave us a remarkable picture of a half-century of British life.