Speech Bubbles
Drawn by Barry Appleby

47 appearances (over 94 pages) from issue no. 1 (18/01/75) to no. 47 (06/12/75).
All were printed in black and white.

What does it say on the tin (or in that rhyming couplet at the top of the first page)?
“This junior army is really barmy!”

Curly may be the boss but Herbert is almost always the driving force behind the stories. Apart from issue nos. 1 and 16, the title frame has a caption over an absent Herbert’s ‘placeholder’ that says, “Where’s Herbert? He’s late for parade again!” The first frame of the story would have a caption of “Here he is..” , “Here’s Herbert”, or suchlike, and the next would have him arrive at the gang hut [In issue nos. 2, 3, 17 to 23, 25 to 28, 37 and 43 it’s “Where’s ‘Erbert ..” (simply Erbert in 24). Technically, the caption in issue no. 2 is wrong, as he hadn’t been late before that].

The stories would have vague military connections. Often the boys would try to be helpful, but usually ended up being chased or besieged in the gang hut by angry and disgruntled punters. Another common ending would be poor Herbert being chased by the rest of the gang. As in Big Head Branny the stories would have one frame much larger than the rest on the second page. In those frames Branny would receive his come-uppance, and he does so in his two appearances in this strip, too (issue nos. 14 and 16).

Towser the dog is introduced (and subsequently dismissed and reinstated) as the regimental mascot in issue no. 5. He made further appearances in issue nos. 13, 14, 16, 17, 20, 35, 45 and 47.

The gang’s enemies were Roger’s Rotters and appeared in issue nos. 1, 10, 13, 18, 22, 23, 24, 26, 40, and 45.

Comic aficionados will remember that there was usually a rhyming couplet at the bottom of a comic strip’s page, as well as at the top, to give readers a brief summary of the following week’s story. When the Editor couldn’t come up with a suitable rhyme (I imagine) a generic phrase was used. In this case it was “More fun with this barmy junior army – NEXT WEEK.” Used Twenty-four times. Some sort of record?

There was no “Next Week” summary in issue nos. 5, 6 and 7 as they were replaced by a Sammy joke. Sammy made thirteen (one-frame) appearances in the strip between issue nos. 15 and 46, at or towards the end of story, to make observations

Curly's Commandos v. Roger's Rotters, as Towser looks on.


Poor Herbert finds himself chased by the rest of the gang (issue nos. 20 and 35)