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// BREAKING // Wipers Times. Eeeps! How would you pronounce Ypres?
The Wipers Times was offensive to some, but tolerated, and maybe encouraged by the flag officers. This salient image was the icon, and it links to the editor's origin story.
Wipers Times


How would you pronounce, "Ypres?"

"Wipers" is a common guess, favored by military men during the War to End All Wars. In fact, Wipers had its own newspaper.

Ypres may have had some newspapers before the war, and may well have today, but none are as famous as that of its wartime caconym, Wipers, which had an immortal example of extreme freedom of the Press. Therein, the tale.

Ypres, a modest town in Belgium before the war, was a center of attention during that bloody interlude, since the Allies had pushed an eastward bulge, or salient, in the German lines there. The Germans wanted straight lines; the Allies liked the hump. Artillery, bombs, gas, gunfire and knife fights attended.

The Ypres dilemma.

Before the war Ypres had a long history of being in the way of other people's wars. The Romans took some scalps in the last century BCE, but then Ypres took up textile making and flourished. Neighboring squabbles kept the Ypreians on their toes through the middle ages, and beyond, but the Great War found them squarely athwart the Kaiser's intended line of march. The town was reduced to rubble, and then the fighting started.

Recent creative efforts, a play, a movie, and considerable prose, have left two erroneous impressions about The Wipers Times: that it was a completely novel publication, and that it operated in the war-machine underground, beyond the swagger-stick reach of military command.

The Wipers Times page 2

In fact the Wipers Times was only one, but probably the best, example of hundreds of World War I trench publications, and it was tolerated, probably encouraged, by the flag officers.

Of course, you're wondering how the Ypres Salient developed. Click the picture for a contemporary explanation.

The Wipers editor, Captain F. J. Roberts, acknowledged the paper was sanctioned by military censors before publication (see editorial for first edition), and the eventual anthologizer of the paper's two post-war publications, Herbert Jenkins, is reported to have assured the printers that every word had passed the censors.

Happily, neither of those facts detracts from the value of trench newspaper narratives. One wonders why modern storytellers bother with either fiction. The rhapsodic qualities of their chronicle score higher neat, straight up, without a twist, and unadorned with soap-opera production values.

The above image, left, from the first of Jenkins' reprints, obviously influenced the PBS movie. It links to the 1918 book. Its introduction is editor Roberts' lengthier explanation of how the magazine started. The image on the right is from Jenkins' second, less-well-known collaboration with J. F. Roberts et al, and contains much more background information. The prose style of these publications will be familiar to those who've read college annuals from that era, a faux-stilted understatment, embedded in aggessive ridiculosity.

We have few real names for the Wipers Times creative crew. What we know, and then some, is summarized in pop-up pages nearby.

The BBC's "Wipers Times" was a video first, and then a play. Click for the story.

The editor was Captain (later Lieutenant-Colonel) Frederick John Roberts, MC, the sub-editor was Lieutenant (later Lieutenant-Colonel) John Hesketh ("Jack") Pearson, DSO, MC. A known contributor was Gunner Gilbert Frankau, and the engravings, woodcarvings by bomb burst, were often E. J. Couzens. His swagger-stick-clutching platoon commander wondering, "Am I as offensive as I might be?" has ascended to cultural icon.

Who scribbled out the stuff satirizing contemporary newspaper pundits such as William Beach Thomas (of the Daily Mail) and Hilaire Belloc, and who used such noms de guerre as P.B.I. (Poor Bloody Infantry), is a mystery obscured in entropy.

The Wipers Times page 3
Modern Ypres, looking north from Hill 62 (or 60), presents a pastoral scene unlatched from the wartime exigencies. The picture links to the story of the many battles of Ypres in WW I (or you can read about Hill 62 here).
A popular author of the time, George Goodchild, collected some trench-pub efforts to raise funds for a veteran's group in 1916. Picture links to his book, OR, you can read Carol Westron's take on Goodchild, here.

NORCO College, Norco, California, offers an online collection of WWI Trench publications with the following introduction.

"Trench newspapers were common in regiments across Europe. One hundred British papers and more than four hundred French ones are known to have been published. While some were simple penciled sheets reproduced with carbon paper, others were many-page publications made with printing presses, which soldiers sometimes came upon in the war-torn towns of France and Belgium."

The blog "Crusoe's Books" debunks some Wipers Times myths, thereby improving the story.

The Wipers Times rose above the rest of its genre in the public mind because of a publisher name Herbert Jenkins. He arranged for its facsimile publication, a new technology at the time, and it proved popular, and enduring.

A history blog, Crusoe's Books, link nearby, written by Bill Bell, has a concise, and authoritative sounding essay on how the Wipers Times came into the popular mind. He sees some shadowy doings by the always-sinister command staff, but who can say?

World War I is ever a lingering enigma, with its perplexing theories of origin, horrific execution, criminal aftermath, and long-term legacy in the careers of writers and rogues. Infamy and fame from the same root.

Several libraries have collections of trench newspapers.
John Frederick Roberts was the senior officer and editor of the Wipers Times.
John Hesketh ("Jack") Pearson was the sub-editor.
Gunner Gilbert Frankau was a frequent contributor.
E. J. Couzens handled the wood carvings used for art work.
The Wipers Times page 4
War artist Richard Jack's recollection of the Canadian stand at the Second Battle of Ypres, 22 April to 25 May, 1915. The link is to the Canadian War Museum's exhibits on this tiny sliver of a large, smelly cheese, not at all edible.

The horrors of World War I have long vanished from living memory. Over 25 million deaths, 34 million wounded, uncounted millions disabled. The numbers barely suggest the battlefield horror of mud, gas, rot, illness and terror; the constancy of unburied dead and untended dying. Death was ripe across Europe in those days, and falling from the vine in the Ypres salient.

Stories from the war are always sanitized, even the bitter and gritty ones. No one can stare directly into the burning bush. That wartime flame infused the souls of survivors, forever, and their odes to comic relief memorialized it without recalling the unthinkable. For everyone else the stories were as the epics of Homer.

The Wipers Times inhabits a traditional rhapsodic space, but if we squint toward the fringes of its brilliance, we can almost imagine that fleeting moment when the printing presses rattled to the bursting whiz bangs, and its authors viewed life as a short term terror.

Faux nonchalance was the standard pose of young men in those days, at least the English speaking ones, as can be seen in their college yearbooks, and the popular gambols of gristmill fiction. The Wipers Times underlined the custom, preserving it for us. What we can no longer capture is the terreur perpétuée of its contemporaneous readers. That we can scarcely imagine…but straining along that vector reveals a dimension of truth.

The Open University offers this low-jargon discussion on the origins of WW I. Not as anecdotal, and concise, as Amir Aczel's, but readable.

We mentioned the impenetrable origin mythos of The Great War in an earlier paragraph. One of the best synopses of its double-Dutch conundrum is in a book about Einstein's formulation of relativity, "God's Equation," by Amir D. Aczel. He's an excellent writer and we should all read his book if we've so far missed getting the most revolutionary concept in the human experiment.

For those predisposed to eschew good advice, and those worried the sight of a few Greek letters around an equal sign might spark signals from the amygdala, shutting down non-essential bodily functions, you might just flip to pages 84-87. Otherwise, we've included a nearby link to one of the many potted discussions on the origin stories, this one with less undefined gibberish about the popular –isms of academic obfuscation.

The Wipers Times page 5

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                 In Flanders Fields
    In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow
          Between the crosses, row on row,
       That mark our place; and in the sky
       The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

        We are the dead, short days ago
      We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
       Loved and were loved, and now we lie
             In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
       The torch; be yours to hold it high.
       If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
             In Flanders fields.

–John McCrae

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In Flanders Field

Let's recall that about a year before J. F. Roberts' Sherwood Foresters spotted their first printing press in 1916, the second battle of Ypres had already become the inspirational setting for Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae's allegorical War Poem, "In Flanders Field," commemorating McCrae's lost comrade, Lieutenant Alixis Helmer.

In our social memory, Ypres has become World War I.

                 In Flanders Fields
    In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow
          Between the crosses, row on row,
       That mark our place; and in the sky
       The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

        We are the dead, short days ago
      We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
       Loved and were loved, and now we lie
             In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
       The torch; be yours to hold it high.
       If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
             In Flanders fields.

–John McCrae


Frederick John Roberts (1892-1964)


He was a larger than life adventurer and prospector who became a mining engineer in South Africa. On the outbreak of the First World War he returned to England to enlist in the army, meeting his wife Kate on the boat home. He joined the 12th battalion of the Sherwood Foresters and fought in the Battle of Loos. In 1916 Captain Roberts and his friend Lieutenant Jack Pearson discovered a printing press in the ruins of Ypres. This inspired them to create a satirical trench newspaper entitled The Wipers Times, named after the British soldiers’ inability to pronounce “Ypres”. The newspaper became a great success with its unique combination of subversive black humour, knockabout music-hall jokes, and poetry. The Wipers Times survived until the end of the war, as did Roberts and Pearson, who came through the Battle of the Somme and were both subsequently decorated for gallantry. After the war Roberts returned to prospecting and died in Canada in 1964.

A link to the Find-a-Grave entry for John Roberts, with bio.

December 1882 - 1900

In Queen's Park, London, Frederick John Roberts was born in 1882 into a commercial middle-class family. His parents originally came from Wales. He was the second of 4 children. Probably by 1895 he went to the Grocer's Company School in Hackney, a grammar school that had been founded in mid 19th century by the Grocer's Company for the education of "sons of the middle-class". By 1900 he would have been finished there. According to the the school's Old Boys website, the school had a long association with the Army through the Battalion formed under the stewardship of the Reverend Gull (the Second Headmaster) and many a boy served his ‘apprenticeship’ with the Battalion which paraded on the School Field at the Annual Sports Day and was inspected by a senior officer from the War Office. So young Frederick would have spent some time as a cadet, undergoing an early version of Officer Training - a fact that came in useful later on in his life.

1901 - 1914

His inclination after the Grocers’ Company School was not to follow his namesake into the Army but in the footsteps of other great Victorian adventurers to seek his fortune in South Africa’s glittering diamond mines. So, for a number of years he pursued a varied and adventurous career as a diamond prospector in South Africa, a power station manager in Malaya, and at the age of 23 he became the first European to trek across the head-hunting country of North Borneo.

September 1914 - January 1915

As war broke out in 1914, Roberts took passage home in order to enlist. On arrival in England he found his distant military training in the school’s cadet battalion and his experience as a mining engineer in Kimberley’s diamond fields were enough to qualify him for a commission in one of the “General Service” battalions being hastily raised by Lord Kitchener. He joined the 12th (pioneering) battalion of the 'Sherwood Foresters’ (the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment), as 2nd Lieutenant.

July 1915 - September 1915

It was into the 12th Battalion Sherwood Foresters that Roberts was commissioned as a second-lieutenant in January 1915. A Pioneer battalion, its men were trained as infantry but employed on semi-skilled engineer work, and therefore, as far as possible, experienced with picks and shovels. Recruited predominantly from the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire coalfields, the 12th Sherwood Foresters were ideally suited to the role, and Roberts especially so. By July he was a captain in command of about 200 men. That summer the battalion sailed to France to take part in the Battle of Loos, the largest British offensive of the year, with the 24th Division, which suffered over 4,000 casualties on its first day.

February 1916 - December 1918

A link to the Tonbridge School's study of the Great War, and their take on Roberts et al.

In February 1916, whilst foraging for props to shore up the British trenches, Captain Roberts and his men came across an old printing press in the basement of a convent near the main square in Ypres. One of the battalion's sergeants, George Turner, was a printer by trade: he salvaged the press and printed a sample page. With Fred Roberts as Editor, Lieutenant Jack Pearson as Sub-Editor, the first February 12th edition of ‘The Wipers Times’ was born in one of Vauban’s rampart casemates. A name which this paper thought more original than any Fleet Street ever thought of, it was taken from army slang for Ypres, the scene of bitter fighting since 1914. The paper — with print runs of a hundred or so copies — changed its title as the battalion moved around, called variously The New Church Times (a reference to Neuve Chapelle, one of the bitterest battles of 1915), The Kemmel Times, Somme Times, and after the Armistice, Better Times. So popular was it that copies reached all parts of the front, including home, where it came to the notice of the wider press. The first edition on February 12, of which Roberts remained most fond, was produced with a shortage of the ¬letter “y” and “e” and interrupted by fierce shell fire. “Any little shortcomings in production,” he wrote, “must be excused on the grounds of inexperience and the fact that pieces of metal of ¬various sizes had punctured our press.” The paper’s humour was soldier’s-gallows rather than seditious, its targets often as not the mindless optimists at home — Hilaire Belloc was a favourite — as well as those in uniform of a ¬poetic tendency: “The Editor would be obliged if a few of the poets would break into prose as the paper cannot live by poems alone.”

Officialdom was at first concerned, but General Sir Herbert Plumer, perhaps the most widely admired senior officer in France, said that The Wipers Times was invaluable to sustaining morale.

1st January 1917

In January 1917, Roberts, by now a major, was awarded the Military Cross for “Gallantry and Devotion to Duty”.

1920 - 1964

At the end of the War, Fred caught the flu epidemic which was sweeping the world and spent a month in hospital in France. He attempted to continue editorship by joining the Daily Mail, but was repeatedly turned down in spite of his success on the Western Front and publication of the collected Wipers Times in 1918 and again in 1930. As the only job available to him was to create the crossword, he felt that a return to the diamond business would be more fruitful. Fred lived his later life in the United States and Canada. Married three times, the family remember him as a brave, funny, generous man, always with a twinkle in his eye. He died in Toronto in September 1964 and his ashes were scattered at Brookwood Cemetery in England.


John Hesketh ("Jack") Pearson())

John Hesketh Pearson was born Feburary 20 1886, in Hawford, Claines, Worcestershire. His brother, Kenneth, known as "Hesketh Pearson," became a well-known actor and author, but John went into civil engineering. Artifacts along his trail suggest a lively, seat-of-the-pants dash through life.

In 1908 as he drove his Daimler 42-hp touring car around a line of horse omnibuses, he skidded into an 84-year-old pedestrian named James Talbot. Pearson told the police constable, "My car has knocked this old man down. You put him in the car and direct me to the nearest hospital. I was driving." The man died and Pearson was charged with manslaughter. Testimony about the 84-year-old victim inspired sympathy from the jury. He'd been employed in the Education Office until 18 months before, and was active and vigorous with good eyesight, and good hearing.

Pearson's explanation to the jury is vintage engineer-speak. "Within about 20 yards of Charles Street I saw the old gentleman crossing the road. I did not see any necessity at the time for pulling up, as there was plenty of room to pass in front of him without any trouble at all, only when I got close to him he started hurrying. He was looking straight in front of him and did not seem to take any notice of me at all. His hurrying rather necessitated my changing the direction of my car to pass him in front, which I estimate I would have done by a couple of yards to spare if the car had not skidded. I put my brakes on to prevent me going into the traffic on the other side of the street, and there was a refuge there as well. The studded tyres skid very easily on the hard London streets. There did not seem to be any necessity for me to ease my car. I could have stopped my car in the distance, or I could have eased, by throttling her down to 10 or 12 miles an hour.

"Ten yards before I got to the deceased I let my clutch out, the effect of which is to take the engine power off the wheels without stopping the engine. I turned the car to the right, that produced the skid, and the car in swinging round hit the old gentleman. I think the part of the car which struck him was somewhere in the neigbourhood of the back wheel; I know it was behind me. The car skidded round about three-quarters of a circle and finished up with its hind wheels against the kerb in Charles Street. I have often had skids in London streets on a dry day. I cannot say that this skid was due to the pace at which she was going. She would skid at ten miles an hour with these tyres if the brakes were suddenly applied."

An expert witness ("I am an expert in motoring matters and have a show room in Great Marlborough Street. I have driven motor cars for about 12 years, and I wrote the chapter in the Badminton Book, How to Drive, and a book on motor racing.") agreed the skid was not due to Pearson's driving, and the jury returned a not-guilty verdict, "To give the prisoner the benefit of the doubt."

Had the verdict gone against him, Jack Pearson may have spent the war in Wormwood Scrubs, instead of the ghastly horror of wartime Flanders. He's been described as an, "Independent-minded engineer who led his men bravely and took up his pen under fire as sub-editor for The Wipers Times."

With Roberts he fought in both battles of the Somme, and was decorated with the DSO (Distinguished Service Order) and the MC (Military Cross). The MC citation reads, "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an enemy attack. At a critical period he led a successful counter-attack, driving back the enemy and capturing four machine guns and some prisoners. By his prompt action and gallant leadership he restored the situation."

Late in the war, Pearson (now a Captain) set up The Foresters’ Arms – a contraband pub behind the front line which provided (often free) refreshment to wounded soldiers waiting for ambulances. While staff officers objected, the pub stayed open thanks to a petition organized by Divisional Chaplains.

Jack's brother, Hesketh Pearson, can perhaps be gauged by his most popular quotes.

After the war, Pearson travelled to Argentina to work as an engineer on the railways, later managing a hotel in Reydon, Cruz Chica, La Cumbre until at least 1940. The 1935 "Who's Who" cited his war record, placed him in Argentina, and had him as a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club.

Jack's better known little brother, Hesketh Pearson, died in 1964 to some fanfare, having had a more prolific and better connected literary career. He was invalided out of the service for tuberculosis, but still managed to earn a medal for bravery and being wounded by enemy gunfire when he was in Mesopotamia as a volunteer in the Army Service Corps. He seems, all in all, to have been an irreverent sort; a suitable sibling to the daredevil Jack.

Jack Pearson died in Argentina in 1966, two years after his brother. He was four years younger than Mr. Talbot had been in 1908 when he surprised the youthful Pearson by bouncing off the fender of his skidding Daimler.


Gunner Gilbert Frankau ())

Gilbert Frankau (1884-1952), writer and war poet. Frankau served in the British Army from the outbreak of war in 1914, first in the 9th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment, and then (with the rank of Captain) as a gunner in the 107th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery experiences that he later used in novels. He fought in major battles of the British Expeditionary Force in France and wrote for the Wipers Times before being invalided out and given a posting in Italy. The family business not having survived the war, he became a writer.

The above introduction to Mr. Frankau is cribbed from the Mary Evans picture library, on line, and below we've cribbed his bio from "mypoeticside dot com," on the theory it's more efficient than recomposing it ourselves. Mr. Frankau has plenty of other attention on the Internet, which you can easily find.

Born in 1884 in London, writer Gilbert Frankau was mostly known for his prose work but was also an important contributor to the poetry of the First World War. Although he was born into a Jewish household, Frankau was actually baptized into the Anglican Church when he was thirteen years old. His father was a merchant who had been born in Bavaria but died in 1904 when Frankau was just 20.

The young writer was educated at Eton public school and on leaving immediately joined the family cigar business, taking it over when his father died. Frankau was a prolific writer, publishing his first volume of poetry in 1901 under the title Eton Echoes. His reason for taking up the pen may well have come from his mother who was a successful writer under the pseudonym Frank Danby, noted for her portrayal of Jewish life in London at the turn of the century.

Running the family business was put on hold when war broke out in 1914 and Frankau joined the army, fighting with the British Expeditionary Force and writing at the same time for the trench magazine The Wipers Times. Back home his mother died in 1916 and, without his direction, the family business folded before he returned in 1918.

With no business to run, Frankau turned his attention to writing and produced a number of works including the novelette in verse titled One of Them. He continued to write poetry up until the end of 1918, much of which had been composed during his time with the army, before turning to the prose fiction that would bring him greater success.


Frankau wrote about romantic subjects but was also deeply political. His ambition to head into parliament was delivered a blow because he was married and divorced no less than three times. He was also critical of many in modern politics including the then influential Tory Stanley Baldwin. He wanted to be a political journalist but found that writing fiction brought in more money and, with no other means of earning a living, he devoted the time to his novels.

Frankau helped to launch the right wing paper Britannia which was backed by the owner of the Tatler and Illustrated London News. Although Frankau put all his energy into the venture, he made few friends and when it failed was roundly pilloried for his anti-British sentiments. These right wing views often got him into trouble particularly when he wrote an article in a national newspaper under the title As a Jew I am Not Against Hitler, although he later distanced himself from that position.


Failed in his attempts to get into politics, Frankau devoted the rest of his life to producing a prolific selection of novels including the Peter Jackson stories. He wrote little in the way of poetry during this time and we are left with just his early work including the poems that he wrote about the war. His two most memorable works from this period include The Guns published in 1916 and The City of Fear that came out a year later.

Shortly before his death from lung cancer in 1952, Frankau converted to the Catholic faith. He was 70 at the time.


E. J. Couzens-UIY

E. J. Couzens is a hard man to pin down.

Our man is probably not Edrick James Couzens, who was part of the Worcestershire Regiment, and was killed 8 July, 1916.

In 1906 an E. J. Couzens ran a retail outlet for furs in Cheltemham.

In 1919 an E. J. (Edward) Couzens presided as Grand Primo at a meeting of the R. A. O. B. (Royla Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes) at a welcome home dinner for "brethren who had served overseas during the war. It is unclear if Couzens was among the returnees. In 1963 this E. J. Couzens was a member of the Malmesbury Borough Council, overseeing building permits. He died 8 Nov 1969, age 88. His obituary says he was in the building contractor business, and an alderman of Wilshire County council and a member of the Malmesbury Rural Council. It doesn't mention any war service, or anything to do with engraving.

A private Couzens seems to have been part of the 1/1st South Midland Mobile Veterinary Section some time between 1915 and 1917. He went on leave in November, 1915.

A corporal Couzens, of the Essex, machine gunner, did heroic service in the first battle of Ypres. Sergeant Couzens scored highly in a civilian shooting match in 1923, Leicester. This was probably Walter George Couzens, 1896-1979.

Couzens, 7905, Sapper H. A. Royal Engineers, was wounded 16 Nov 1914.

There was a John Cousen, born 1887, married to Rose King in 1912, probably related to John Harold Cousen who was a sapper in WWII. They had a son late in life named Ronald: Ronald served with the 221 Field Company, Royal Engineers. The 221 Field Company landed in Salerno in September 1943 and fought in the Italian Campaign against the Germans alongside the American 5th Army as they advanced Northwards. Ronald died during bitter fighting for the town of Minturno which lay at the end of the Gustav Line - a German line of defence stretching from West to East across Italy.

A John Cousins, born 1887 from Southwick-on-Wear Sunderland, Yorkshire Northern, service number 322404, was a sapper in the Royal Engineers in WW I, pensioned out 12 Oct 1918 with an un-described disability. A sapper is a soldier who performs engineering duties. He seems to be the son of the above John and Rose, according to the 1911 census. He appears on the roster in 1939, full name John Frederick Cousins, living with John and Rose, and working as a Hotel Door Porter. A John F. Cousins died in 1962. These may not all be the same person. The one who died seems to have been born in 1892-4, while the sapper seems to have been 5 or 6 years older.

In 1953 an E. J. Cousins, 63 Somerton R. Newport, England, born 1887, Ironworker, went to Sydney, Australia in 1953, and returned in 1956. He seems to have immigrated in 1913 from Australia, and made several trips back and forth over the years.

An Ernest Couzens was born in Essendine, the youngest son of John and Mary Couzens who later moved a short distance away to Carlby in Lincolnshire. He joined the 7th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment and went to France on 29 July 1915. He was killed during the Battle of the Somme on 14 July 1916 in an attack on Bazentin Le Peitit Wood (before the Sherwood Foresters, not part of the Leicestershire Regiment) reached Ypres. Ernest is buried in Flatiron Copse Cemetery near Mametz, grave II.C.6.

There was an Edgar Couzens in the Northumberland Fusiliers Army Veterinary Corps, who later ran a butcher shop in New Castle.

Ernest James (E. J.) Cousins was a Canadian, 1883-1957, who went to war with the Canadian Forestry Corps in 1917, and was invalided out in 1918. He was married to Alice, and they are both buried in Canada, her in 1950, and him in 1957. He was a teamster before the war, and maybe ran retail businesses afterward. It's unlikely he's our E. J. Couzens, but it's possible. The CFC may have been around Ypres, and Cousins may have transferred to the Canadian Engineer Corps, which built roads and railways in the area. Probably far fetched.

Our most promising lead is a wartime record of E. J. Couzens, sapper in the Royal Engineers, who was nominated for decoration in 1919. This may be our man. Also we've got an E. J. Couzens appearing in a 1939 London directory with an occupation of "Wood Engraver." We don't know if they're the same people, and more instances of the wood engraver are not found, but it's easy to imagine he's our World War I illustrator of the Wipers Times, but….imagination is not proof.

By the way, should we think there is some similarity between the Couzens Coat of Arms, see nearby, and the banner symbol at the top of each Wipers Times issue? Hmmm.