British Cartoon Archive


Born in Barking, Essex, on 8 December 1915, George Smith left school at sixteen to work as a clerk in the Russian Oil Company. He then trained as an architect at Exeter University and in 1939 began to draw cartoons. At first he signed them with his initials GWS, but this eventually developed into the pen-name "Gus".

During the Second World War Smith served with the Royal Army Service Corps, achieving the rank of captain, and on demobilisation he worked as a surveyor for Shell-Mex while still freelancing as a cartoonist for such publications as Punch, Radio Times, Everybody's, Sketch, Bystander, John Bull, Lilliput and Men Only.

In 1946 Smith joined the BBC's Overseas Service, but in 1953 he became staff pocket cartoonist on the Evening News, to which he had been a freelance contributor. On the Evening News he was also inventor of the "Spot the Difference" cartoon. In addition he designed posters for the Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents and illustrated more than 200 textbooks for English as a foreign language for publishers in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Smith worked with a fine nib pen. He left the Evening News in 1972, and died at Fleet in Hampshire on 19 June 1999.

  • Denis Gifford "Obituary: George Smith", Independent, 28 June 1999, p.6.
  • Mark Bryant Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Cartoonists and Caricaturists (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2000), p.210.
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