Dusty Sees It Through Search of iMuseum

Dusty Sees It Through

Harold ‘Dusty’ Miller (1897-1964) was for many years a popular illustrator and cartoonist with the Isle of Man Times.

An exhibition of his works reflecting life during the Second World War, Dusty Sees It Through, was on at the House of Manannan, Peel, Isle of Man, during 2015, 2016.  As legacy to that exhibition, curator Matthew Richardson shares with us below some of his favourite ‘Dusty’ cartoons.  


© Manx National Heritage (2005-0069/104)

This House That Was My Brother’s

One of the saddest of Dusty’s cartoons, this shows a soldier saluting a gasmask and helmet on the doorstep of a house numbered 129.  The reference is to 129 Battery of the Manx Regiment, which was lost on Crete in 1941.  This cartoon was published in on 12 July 1941, and in the preceding week, Manx papers were full of photos of those men who were missing.



© Manx National Heritage (2005-0069/36)

Peel the Gloves Off

This cartoon was published on 27 September 1941, in the wake of a serious riot by Fascists interned at Peel.  It shows Peel Commissioners begging the Home Office for more powers.  The guards were powerless to intervene in the riot, due to Home Office regulations.  Dusty believes the gloves should come off in this situation, and the guards should be given powers to deal with the rioters.



© Manx National Heritage (2005-0069/52)

Buy a Poppy

One of the most poignant of Dusty’s works.  An allied soldier carries the wounded figure of Freedom in his arms, whilst a German soldier looks on.  This illustration appeared in the Isle of Man Times on 8 November 1941, in advance of Remembrance Sunday.  In the newspaper it was accompanied by a poem and the line, Buy a poppy, it means more today than ever.


© Manx National Heritage (2005-0069/57)

The Big Test – 606 Not Out

This cartoon shows an RAF airman batting a Nazi plane in a cricket match.  The title is a reference to 606 enemy aircraft destroyed.  This cartoon appeared on 17 August 1940 albeit with the caption The Big Test – 727 not out.  At the same time it was reported that 727 enemy aircraft had been shot down to date, clearly the official figure had changed between Dusty producing the cartoon, and its publication.


© Manx National Heritage (2005-0069/60)

This Is Your Cue

This cartoon shows Hitler pushing Emperor Hirohito of Japan on stage, as Mussolini is egged off.  One of the eggs reads ‘Genoa’ which had just been attacked by allied aircraft.  The cartoon appeared on 15 February 1941; Japan had signed alliances with Germany and Italy, but was not yet involved in the fighting, whereas Italy had already suffered defeats in North Africa.  The cartoon implies that Hitler will use Japan as he has Italy.


© Manx National Heritage (2005-0069/69)


This cartoon was published in the Isle of Man Times of 19 October 1940, and reflects the fact that members of the Auxiliary Fire Service were not initially entitled to insurance if killed or injured on duty.  The members of the AFS went on strike in October 1940 until the matter was resolved, and they were assured by Tynwald that they would be covered.  In Dusty’s view Tynwald had been slow to remedy this anomaly, as evidenced by the words ‘Traa de Looar’ on the hat.


© Manx National Heritage (2005-0069/7)

Mare Nostrum

Here Mussolini is seen crying, with a Royal Navy warship in the background.  This cartoon appeared in the Isle of Man Times of 11 January 1941 and refers to recent Italian naval defeats.  Mussolini’s ‘Mare Nostrum’ is reduced to a mere puddle around his feet.


© Manx National Heritage (2005-0069/61)

Well, We Did See The Sphinx

This cartoon shows two soldiers in Egypt, with an Anti-Aircraft gun.  This is a reference to the Manx Regiment (note the three legs on the vehicle).  Newspapers in the preceding week had carried reports that some Manx soldiers had seen the Sphinx for the first time, but also that others were now embarking on a further sea voyage (possibly to Crete).  The cartoon appeared on 1 February 1941.


© Manx National Heritage (2005-0069/95)

Ain’t It a Shame About Mame

This cartoon appeared on 8 March 1941, and shows a Manx woman walking out with wartime margarine. It takes its title from the name of a song which featured in the 1940 Hollywood film Rhythm on the River.  In Dusty’s cartoon, the Manx housewife is walking out with wartime margarine (represented as a serviceman in uniform), and shuns ‘Mame Butter’, who is arm in arm with a top hatted aristocrat, Sir Reginald Plenty.


© Manx National Heritage (2005-0069/41)

He Ain’t Very Robust

This cartoon appeared on 27 July 1940, and shows a decorated veteran of the Local Defence Volunteers (later known as the Home Guard) showing the small child (representing the Auxiliary Fire Service) to another veteran, this time of the Loyal Manx Association.  The Auxiliary Fire Service had been formed last, and got off to a somewhat shaky start.