The Simple Soul strip cartoon, 1939

In March 1939 The Passing Show magazine, to which Bruce Bairnsfather had been contributing for the past four and a half years, was amalgamated with its sister publication, Illustrated. The first issue of the 'new' weekly Illustrated was published on 4 March 1939, and included a new strip cartoon by Bairnsfather, titled The Simple Soul. The central character was a quiet, unassuming and timid man - the 'simple soul' of the title - and was based solely on visual humour - there was never any speech or caption in any of the strips. It was a clever and ambitious idea which Bairnsfather carried off well.

The Simple Soul ran for six months - just 28 strips - until 9 September 1939. With the outbreak of the Second World War just days earlier, it was replaced from the next issue (16 September 1939) by another new Bairnsfather strip,  the more topical Young Bill.

Below are some examples of The Simple Soul.