Keep Calm and Candid On

03 November 2017

War and Conflict



Oliver N.5 Printype, accessed via Wikipedia. National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci, Milan.

This week I’d like to bring you some good news. Well, as ‘good’ as news could get for the British Army in Italy during the spring/summer of 1944. While working on the Service Newspapers of World War II: Module 1 collection I had access to a variety of high-profile publications like “Union Jack”, “Stars and Stripes”, and “Blighty”; each a heady mix of pin-ups, atrocities, and shoe polish advertisements. Important publications that shone a light on political developments and the progress of the war - things the armed forces needed to know. But may not have been what they wanted to read.

Enter: the gem known as “Ordpot”. The humble little gazette didn’t look like much but once I started to read it, I fell under the charms of its writers. Published on the cheap with as little ink as they could get hold of, the publication focused on the day-to-day lives of the British Army stationed in Italy from 26 April – 7 August 1944. It gave the soldiers a rare chance to express themselves in an otherwise stringent environment of drills and orders. Within the pages of the "Ordpot", they could make fun of their superiors, cheer on their friends, express their longing for home, and ultimately relieve the strain put on their mental health.

I’ve thus compiled a list of the Top 6 Reasons To Love "Ordpot":

1. ALL the shade

Ordpot, 1944. Copyright Imperial War Museum.


2. The unwavering patriotism

Ordpot, 1944. Copyright Imperial War Museum.

 

3. The level of sportsmanship

Ordpot, 1944. Copyright Imperial War Museum.

 

4. Their Day-To-Day Washing Saga

Ordpot, 1944. Copyright Imperial War Museum.

 

Ordpot, 1944. Copyright Imperial War Museum.

 

5. The use of poetry as therapy

Ordpot, 1944. Copyright Imperial War Museum.


6. Showing that it was OK to hate your job in this classic tale of Man vs Machine

Ordpot, 1944. Copyright Imperial War Museum.

 

Ordpot, 1944. Copyright Imperial War Museum.


The Service Newspapers of World War II
 collection comprises c.130,000 and c.15,000 documents from The British Library, Imperial War Museum, and the US Army War College among other archives. Service Newspapers of World War II: Module 1 is published in Spring 2018.

For more information, including free trial access and price enquiries, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About the Author

Julia Kovnat

Julia Kovnat

Since joining the AMD team as an Editorial Assistant in August 2016, I've had the opportunity to research many different time periods. My days can jump from 17th-century documents of the East India Company to 20th-century newsreels from the Soviet Union. A time traveller's dream!

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