Charley’s War: Stripography and Timeline – 1981


The 1st launch of a space shuttle (Columbia) Prince Charles and Diana Spencer marry on July 29 PacMan is introduced in the US and sparks a huge craze.

3rd January 1981 (March 1917)
Lacey’s sentence passed by Blue, who makes him run out of fort to throw back water bottles to men inside. Lacey cut down, and Blue takes water to wounded.

10th January 1981 (March 1917)
The men in the fort are halfcrazed with thirst, despite the heavens opening above ground. Germans taunt Krotowski through observation cupola slit. Colour Cover

17th January 1981 (March 1917)
A lieutenant, halfmad with thirst, tries to blow up the grenade store. The legionnaires are given permission to breakout as they will get no mercy from the Germans, Fort Vaux surrenders.

24th January 1981 (March 1917)
The French go to the relief of Fort Vaux, without realising it has been captured. One soldier survives from an entire regiment. Colour Cover.

31st January 1981 (March 1917)
Drag Man corners Blue and Charley at the house. Charley and Blue escape in fog after fighting MPs, but are caught between the Drag Man and Charley’s father who is a Special.

7th February 1981 (March 1917)
Charley and Blue avoid the Drag Man, head to Alf Shiner’s Pie and Mash Blue’s childhood of crime cornered in pie shop by Drag Man

14th February 1981 (March 1917)
The Line of Panic, Ratcatcher is killed

21st February 1981 (March 1917)
Attack driven off, but Blue is badly gassed

28th February 1981 (March 1917)
In hopsital, Blue tries to escape to avoid getting the Croix de Guerre (usually given to the dead or dying). Monkey Face angry at being made to look a fool.

7th March 1981 (March 1917)
Bleating soldiers go to the front. Arrival of the feared Senegalese

14th March 1981 (March 1917)
Senegalese sent into attack for first time on Western Front, but they risk annihilation as they have never come across machine guns before. Legionnaires leave trenches against orders to go to their aid.

21st March 1981 (March 1917)
Blue and Senegalese hold off Germans in trench with coupecoupe machetes. Monkey Face has Blue arrested and sent to a penal unit. Drag Man has coughing fit (he was badly gassed) and they escape

28th March 1981 (March 1917)
Charley runs out in front of tram, but is caught by cage underneath and is unharmed. Get Blue’s false papers off Oiley and go to music hall. Oiley shops them to MPs.

4th April 1981 (March 1917)
Cornered in music hall, Charley and Blue run to the Thames. Pursuing Drag Man collapses and dies. Blue decides to reinlist under new name and escapes back to France. End of Blue subplot

11th April 1981 (March 1917)
Charley goes in pursuit of Oiley after he and Snips cheat Ginger’s mother out of money, using a fake clairvoyant to talk to Ginger’s spirit.

18th April 1981 (March 1917)
Oiley and crooked pilot crash plane to siphon off petrol. Charley takes money and repays Ginger’s mum. Farewell to family and back to France. Colour Cover

25th April 1981 (April 1917)
Return to France. Old buses used to transport soldiers are a death trap, Old Bill blows them up with grenades after a fellow sergeant is killed.

2nd May 1981 (April 1917)
Old Bill blows up buses under cover of bombardment. Arrival of conscripts, much to bullying veteran Grogan’s annoyance. Return of Captain Snell. Colour Cover

9th May 1981 (April 1917)
Charley escorts POWs. An irate Snell orders Charley and POWs over the top so that he can walk down the trench. Most of the POWs die by their own machine gun fire.

16th May 1981 (April 1917)
Return of Weeper as officer’s batman. Charley enraged by Snell’s patronising attitude to OR mail as he censors letters home

23rd May 1981 (April 1917)
Grogan picks on the Scholar, a bookish conscript. Grogan knifes a downed German pilot. Colour centre pages

30th May 1981 (April 1917)
Down the Menin Road towards Hellfire Corner. Charley saves Warrior from one of Snell’s bullets.

6th June 1981 (April 1917)
Grogan throws Scholar’s poetry books into No Man’s Land and Scholar goes over the top. Charley rescues the Scholar.

13th June 1981 (April 1917)
Snell sends batman, Trotters to fetch bath water from rusty pump above parapet. Trotters is wounded, Curly is killed and Snell sends Charley out to use the pump

20th June 1981 (April 1917)
Charley pumps water, under cover of shellfire and becomes Snell’s batman

27th June 1981 (April 1917)
Officers shoot at German stretcher parties in No Man’s Land for sport. Brings inevitable retaliation from German side. Company punishments for Smith 70 and Grogan.

4th July 1981 (April 1917)
Snell’s cricket match comes under fire and he reluctantly calls it off, when the padre intervenes after a man is killed. Snell is more concerned about losing to the other ranks.

11th July 1981 (April 1917)
Smokey cons two soldiers into sharing his bunk to catch measles, for a fee. A mortar bomb hits the dugout and the pair shield Smokey from the blast. Smokey never had the measles.

18th July 1981 (April 1917)
Grogan turns on gas oojahs to put the wind up Scholar as he is on guard duty. Charley turns them off, but is accused of sabotage by Snell.

25th July 1981 (April 1917)
Lt Cooper vouches for Charley. Grogan’s green brass buttons give him away. Grogan and he have a vicious fight in the old front line. Grogan ups the ante when he picks up some unexploded munitions.

1st August 1981 (April 1917)
Grogan chucks unexploded munitions at Charley, but is killed when a `plum pudding’ fizzes back into life and goes off. Charley becomes a runner for Snell

8th August 1981 (April 1917)
Charley survives his run, but is castigated by Snell for not being turned out correctly.

15th August 1981 (May-June 1917)
March out of the line in the summer’s heat. The men cannot drink from a well because a corpse poisons the water.

22nd August 1981 (May-June 1917)
Old Bill drops out of the march, and Snell busts him to private. Charley serves Snell cooked rat for dinner

29th August 1981 (May- June 1917)
Trip to town with Weeper. Warrior is painted brown and Charley `accidentally’ spills dye on Snell’s saddle.

5th September 1981 (May- June 1917)
Snell’s breeches are covered in brown dye as is made to look a fool in the officer’s mess. Vents his fury on Charley

12th September 1981 (May- June 1917)
Cooper saves Charley from a thrashing. The stables are bombed

19th September 1981 (May – June 1917)
Charley saves Warrior and takes the horse to the Blue Cross. He is stolen.

26th September 1981 (May – June 1917) Harry `Happy’ Day, and his holes shellshocked, he digs holes to try and find his wounded mate buried alive on the Somme

3rd October 1981 (MayJune 1917) Messines Ridge. Charley and Old Bill play Crown and Anchor. Charley realises that Scholar is a twerp

10th October 1981 (May – June 1917)
Move back up to the line, Old Bill sozzled. Smokey killed by a minenwerfer canister. (Colour cover based on a photograph used for the 2004 collection).

17th October 1981 (May – June 1917)
Charley and co join the Claykickers the navvies and coalminers digging huge mines under the Messines Ridge for the last 18 months. Meet Ganger Green.

24th October 1981 (May – June 1917)
Scholar sucks up to Snell Snell refuses to let soldiers shelter in his mine, during a bombardment and they are killed. Colour twin centre pages

31st October 1981 (May – June 1917)
German observation balloon spots deposits of blue clay above ground, so they know there are British mines. A German sap blows up collapsing the mine head. Colour Cover

7th November 1981 (May – June 1917)
Charley, Earwig, Scholar and Budgie trapped by fall.

14th November 1981 (MayJune 1917)
Earwig cracks as waters rise. They tell stories to take minds off plight. Budgie tells how he was a conscientious objector, but his will not to fight was broken after months of harsh punishments by MPs.(Colour cover)

21st November 1981 (May – June 1917)
Digging is heard – they are rescued just in time, but the Germans break through simultaneously.

28th November 1981 (May – June 1917)
Fight with German miners. Ganger Green blows up the sap and himself. Charley about to be clobbered by German with pickaxe.

5th December 1981 (May – June 1917)
Budgie kills German, saves Charley but is racked with guilt. The perils of being an amanol (explosive) carrier. Colour cover

12th December 1981 (May -June 1917)
Zero hour and all the mines go up except Snell’s. Snell shoots Budgie, believing he is a saboteur. Goes down the mine to set it off, even though the delay means blowing up the advancing British troops.

19th December 1981 (May – June 1917)
Charley goes after Snell to kill him. Snell hit in the head by ricochet. Lt Cooper and Sapper Reeves had gone down the mine with the same intentions. Snell discovered to be still alive but invalided out. Colour Centre pages

26th December 1981 (May – June 1917)
The results of the mines explosions, with a colour cover of tanks attacking at Messines. Charley and co go over the top after
the assault waves, Earwig spots a badly wounded German and crushes his skull with the butt of his rifle, because “He looks like my old schoolteacher. I never liked him anyway”, much to Charley’s disgust. They descend into a crater where they examine a mammoth bones, surrounded by flint axe heads much to Cooper’s delight. Charley comments on how far war has progressed in a typical piece of Mills irony.

Charley’s War created by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun


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