Charley’s War: Stripography and Timeline – 1979

Charley's War: German Soldier

Colour by Steve Beeny

The Charley’s War stripography was originally compiled by Neil Emery, who founded this site.

We would like to thank Richard Sheaf for the idea for this section. Most of the work that went into this was done by Phil Patterson who at times has been overlooked, but his contribution to the site is immense. Thanks, Phil!

This Stripography also features a year by year breakdown of the Annuals and Summer Specials, with information on the strip creators and content.


The Shah flees Iran, The Soviets invade Afghanistan, Margaret Thatcher becomes British PM, The Sony Walkman is introduced Iranian students storm the US embassy

Cover Date: 6th January 1979
Story Date: 2nd June 1916

Charley Bourne joins up after being sacked trains and arrives in trenches all in the first episode. We also meet Old Bill.

Production Notes: The start of Charley’s War Volume 1 published by Titan Books.

Western Front Notes: June 2 marked the start of the Battle of Mount Sorel between three divisions of the British Second Army and three divisions of the German Fourth Army in the Ypres Salient, near Ypres, Belgium, from 2 June 1916 to 14 June 1916.

Cover Date: 13th January 1979
Story Date: 15th June 1916

The start of sniper story. We first meet Ginger Jones and Kitchener the Cat.

Western Front Notes: The Battle of Verdun , which started in February and continued until December, continues. The French take a trench on Mort Homme and repulse heavy counter-attacks at Caillette Wood.

Cover Date: 20th January 1979
Story Date: 15th June 1916

Charley saves runner Len, but he dies, Charley vows to avenge him.

Cover Date: 17th January 1979
Story Date: 15th June 1916

Charley meets Mad Mick Lietenant Thomas, who decides to raid the German trenches to see if the Barrage has smashed the German lines

Cover Date: 3rd February 1979
Story Date: 15th June 1916

The start of the raid on German trenches.

Production Notes: The first ever colour cover Joe Coquhoun draws for Charley’s War (the first cover was drawn by another artist).

Cover Date: 10th February 1979
Story Date: 15th June 1916

Night raid: Charley first kills a man when he comes face to face with the sniper in the German trench. Thomas notices the German dugouts are intact but keeps quiet about it.

Cover Date: 17th February 1979
Story Date: 16h June 1916

We meet Lucky, who Charley stops from shooting himself in the foot to escape the battle that morning. We also meet Pop, whose sons have been killed at the first battle of Ypres and has joined up to avenge them.

Cover Date: 24th February 1979
Story Date: 16h June 1916

Pop and Charley stop Lucky from wounding himself and Charley mistakenly rings the Gas alarm.

Production Notes: Colour Cover (not by Joe). All the episodes of Charley’s War are four pages long at this early stage and packed with detail. Pat’s use of the letter narrative is at its most ironic here.

Cover Date: 3rd March1979
Story Date: 16th June 1916

Lucky’s ‘blighty’. The dugout Lucky is in is hit by a shell, and after digging him out he loses a leg and is sent home. The episode ends with Charley realising that War ‘aint a game’ for the first time in the strip.

Cover Date: 10th March
Story Dates: 24th June – 1st July 1st 1916

Snell‘s hamper goes missing and Thomas turns a blind eye to the thief (Charley).

Western Front Notes: The night before the Battle of the Somme begins (1st July – 18th November).

Cover Date: 17th March
Story Date: 1st July 1916

First day of the Battle of the Somme. The platoon is told the attack has been postponed and it will be 7.30am when they attack, instead of dawn.

Cover Date: 24th March 1979
Story Date: 1st July 1916

Sad scenes as the platoon get caught on the wire and mown down by the machine gun fire.

Production Notes: ‘Over the top’ – colour cover. A great tragic issue (see Pat Mills comments on the Joe Colquhoun page) Dense detail.

Cover Date: 31st March 1979
Story Date: 1st July 1916

The platoon make it to the German trenches and finds a German chained to his machine gun. Pop, who is traumatised by the advance tries to bayonet him until Charley stops him telling him that he is only a boy, the same as him.

Cover Date: 7th April 1979
Story Date: 1st July 1916

Charley and Ginger talk to the German and decide that the two sides are not much different at all. While doing so, Snell shoots the boy dead. Mad Mick gets drunk and tells the platoon he wants a Picklehaube (a German spiked helmet much sought as collectables by British Soldiers).

Cover Date: 14th April 1979
Story Date: 1st July 1916

The platoon takes the village of Flers. Mick finds his Picklehaube but is wounded when it is boobytrapped.

Cover Date: 21st April 1979
Story Date: 1st July 1916

Mick is killed when he saves the wounded by holding up the roof of a collapsing house until they escape. He is bayoneted as the Germans re-take the building and is killed. End of the first day of the Somme.

Production Notes: End of Charley’s War Volume 1 published by Titan Books

Charley's War Volume 2Cover Date: 28th April 1979
Story Date: 14th July 1916

We meet Lonely, the traumatised soldier of Snell’s first command. The start of the ‘Lost Platoon’ saga. We also meet Warrior the horse.

Production Notes: Start of Charley’s War Volume 2 published by Titan Books

Cover Date: 5th May 1979
Story Date: 14th July 1916

Charley, Ginger and Lonely form a ration party and get lost in no-mans land. We meet Big Rudi and Wolfe, the two Germans who capture Charley and company while they are trying to find British lines and they stumble into the Germans trench.

Cover Date: 12th May 1979
Story Date: 14th July 1916

While prisoners in a German dugout, Lonely tells the story of the lost platoon concerning Snell’s treachery to Germans on Christmas Day and Lonely’s cowardice. Snell had ordered tinned food and beer to be sent over by trench catapult (early trench mortar), then on the fifth or sixth ordered Lonely to fire a real mortar. Wolfe and Rudi overhear (Rudi’s brother Ernst having been one of the Germans involved) Episode ends with the three about to be executed.

Cover Date: 19th May 1979
Story Date: 14th July 1916

Escape from execution after Charley wounds Wolfe with a wire picket…

Production Notes: Colour Cover by Joe Colquhoun.

Cover Date: 26th May 1979
Story Date: 14th July 1916

The three hide under duckboards until a British Gas attack.

Cover Date: 2nd June 1979
Story Date: 14th July 1916

To escape the gas attack the trio climb trees behind German lines.

Cover Date: 16th June 1979
Story Date: 14th July 1916

Charley is gassed, Lonely has a breakdown and sees the Lost Platoon. Unknowingly saves the British Cavalry from ambush by giving away their position.

Cover Date: 23rd June 1979
Story Date: 14th July 1916

Production Notes: Colour Cover by Cam Kennedy ‘the horsemen of death’

Cover Date: 30th June 1979
Story Date: 14th July 1916

Lonely dies, killed by Wolff who is hiding in ambush for the Cavalry with Big Rudi and their company.


Charley's War: Tally Ho



Cover Date: 7th July 1979
Story Date: 14th July 1916

The last cavalry charge of the War… Warrior runs to Charley, wounded. He is about to shoot him, but Warrior shakes the shrapnel free.

Production Notes: Tragic episode that shows the rest of the cavalry shooting their own horses in tears. Very moving.

Cover Date: 14th July  1979
Story Date: 14th July 1916

On the back of Warrior, Ginger and Charley escape from German lines and so ends the lost platoon story. Old Bill gives them an ‘Old Bill special’ – a punch on the jaw for going AWOL for so long.

Cover Date: 21st July 1979
Story Date: 1st August 1916

Charley’s 17th birthday and a famous scene where the platoon have a party in gas masks. Pop, unhinged by the battle, thinks Charley is his son Billy. They are shelled by their own side and Pop is promptly killed.

Cover Date: 28th July 1979
Story Date: 1st August 1916

13th runner story Thomas sends successive runners to tell the British guns to stop barrage. Charley offers and is the 13th.

Cover Date: 4th August 1979
Story Date: 1st August 1916

Snell, pinned down by a sniper in a sap uses Charley as a human shield. Snell refuses to read ‘Doubting Thomas’s’ message until he finishes his tea. Charley returns to the trench to find it filled with dead and under attack from the Germans.

Cover Date: 12th August 1979
Story Date: 1st August 1916

Charley finds that his mates aren’t dead and Thomas has disobeyed orders to hold the trench at whatever cost and pulled back to save his men’s lives. They are pulled out of the line to find Thomas is under arrest to be Courts Martialled.

Cover Date: 19th August 1979
Story Date: 1st August 1916

We meet Weeper Watkins for the first time. The platoon go to see the wounded and run into the sadistic Sergeant Bacon MP.

Cover Date: 26th August 1979
Story Date:
August 1916

Charley sees soldiers undergoing Field Punishment No.1 for the first time. The Company has a concert party and Charley and company are chorus girls.

Cover Date: 2nd September 1979
Story Date:
August 1916

After the Concert Party Charley, Ginger and Weeper are ambushed by Bacon and other MPs and beaten up. Charley gets the better of them and they strap Bacon in a gun wheel himself. Bacon vows to get revenge.

Cover Date: 8th September 1979
Story Date:
August 1916

Firing squad for Thomas. Charley and Weeper refuse to shoot him and walk away. Thomas is shot by the rest of the platoon. They are given 28 day field punishment Number One (See subjects page)

Cover Date: 15th September 1979
Story Date:
August 1916

Field punishment begins. Weeper is broken down by Bacon. Charley is almost broken as well, but his mates help him get over it.

Cover Date: 22nd September 1979
Story Date:
August 1916

German air raid begins

Cover Date: 29th September 1979
Story Date:
August 1916

German air raid starts while the two are on the wheel, Bacon leaves them to burn as the ammunition catches alight, they escape and the now wounded Bacon dies.

Cover Date: 6th October 1979
Story Date:
August 1916

Weeper wounded. Charley and Ginger see tanks for the first time

Cover Date: 13th October 1979
Story Date: September

“The Tanks are coming!” The platoon enters the line again. Ginger’s death by a stray shell (See subjects page)

Production Notes: Full Colour Joe Colquhoun Cover.

Cover Date: 20th October 1979
Story Date: September

Charley has to bury Ginger. Shell shock sets in.

Cover Date: 27th October 1979
Story Date: September

Ginger haunts Charley in nightmares. These issues are high art. (See subjects page)

Cover Date: 10th November 1979

Production Notes: Unexplained missing Charley’s War in this issue (nothing mentioned in Captain Hurricane’s page)

Cover Date: 17th November 1979

Here we meet Oliver (Oily) , Charley’s Brother-in-law, who turns out to be a money-obsessed coward. He sticks to Charley like a leech and refuses to go over the top. The strip is still running at four pages with unbelievable detail at this point.

Cover Date: 24th November 1979

Oily, with a sandbag strapped to his back crawls out into no-mans land and to what he thinks is safety (its not) in his attempt to desert. Charley has to save him when he crawls straight into a German trench.

Production Notes: Colour Cover (not by Joe Colquhoun).

Cover Date: 1st December 1979
Story Date: September 1916

We meet ‘Wild Eyes’ – the neurotic and brilliantly funny tank commander and his tank Donner and Blitzen which breaks down. Charley helps to get it started and becomes part of his crew along with the hapless Oiley as gunner, as it attacks the village of Flers. Anyone who has ever read the history of the Somme will recall the famous newspaper headline the next day – “British tank seen in the main road in Flers” – The ‘Donner and Blitzen’ is this tank.

8th December (September 1916)
The Tank attacks the German artillery. Metal chips from the Machine gun fire wounds Charley’s face.

15th December (September 1916)
Oliver accidentally machine guns British troops from the tank.

22nd December (September 1916)
Wild eye’s tank attacks the Village of Flers

29th December (September 1916)
The tank is damaged by a cluster grenade and is on fire as it slews out of control towards the church in Fleurs.

Further information on creators and characters and any other information we can add to this stripography always welcome

Charley’s War created by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun


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