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Cyril Kenneth Bird
Dates: British, 1887 - 1965
Biographical Account:

Cyril Kenneth Bird, also known as ‘Fougasse’ was a British cartoonist and illustrator. He was born in London in 1887.

In 1902 he went to study at Cheltenham College, he then studied engineering at King's College and took art classes at Regent Street Polytechnic and the Bolt Court School of Photo-Engraving.

 

During the First World War Bird was an officer in the Royal Engineers. Shortly after becoming a lieutenant he was seriously wounded by a shell at Gallipoli in 1915. His injuries were so severe he was not expected to survive. Whilst recovering he turned to drawing cartoons, sending them in to Punch, The Graphic and Tatler magazines.

 

Bird illustrated books and contributed to newspapers and magazines, using his alias name ‘Fougasse’, which is a type of French anti-personnel mine, which was not always reliable. He became know as one of the best cartoonists of the time.

 

He later became the art editor of Punch from 1937 to 1949 and then editor until 1953. He was the only cartoonist ever to be offered the post of editor and stayed there until his retirement in 1953.

 

He worked for the Ministry of Information during the war producing a series of 8 posters called ‘Careless Talk Costs Lives’. The ministry of Information produced millions of posters to be displayed across the country. Bird was awarded the honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1946 for this work.

 

He died in 1965 in London.
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