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In 1939, three years after those first London Transport commissions, the 25-year-old Games joined the army as an infantry private. There was little scope for artistic expression beyond painting backcloths for army concerts.

In its early days, the War Office struggled with the tone of its propaganda machine. Black-and-white information sheets pinned to barracks noticeboards were ignored by the men, and the public was angered by the patrician tone of the posters. "Your courage, your cheerfulness, your resolution will bring US victory," read one. Passers-by would correct the words to: "Our courage, our cheerfulness, our resolution, will bring US victory."

On his first leave in 1940, Games began agitating to design for the Ministry of Information. He was certain he could design posters which the public would not want to deface. It took a year of petitioning before he was ordered to report to the War Office.

The Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) was desperate for energetic young women to work as clerks, cooks, telephonists, orderlies, drivers and ammunition inspectors, and Games was asked to design a suitable poster.

The story has it that Games, sitting in his studio at the War Office and wondering how to approach the design, was interrupted by a 19-year-old staff member, Doreen Murphy. Irritated at having been disturbed, he sent her out but taking a second look, called her back. "As she was leaving I noticed she was rather a corker," he later explained in an interview. She was asked to sit for him as the model ATS girl and the resulting poster of Miss Murphy with her neat ATS hat and victory-rolled hair was nicknamed "The Blonde Bombshell". Ten thousand posters were printed, but after a parliamentary debate led by the puritanical Thelma Cazalet-Keir MP, they were withdrawn. "It is not the kind of poster," she said, "that would encourage mothers to send their girls into the Auxiliary Territorial Service. It's more like a beauty product advertisement."

Games was unrepentant. "Women joined the Wrens [Women's Royal Naval Service] because they looked so much better in the Navy blue than in Army khaki," he insisted. "It was supposed to be a remedy to the ATS's dowdy image and it worked." 

You cannot help but wonder, though, if the poster would have been thought quite so dangerously sexy, if the public had known that the "corking" Blonde Bombshell was really a Doreen. 

Still, it didn't put the War Office off and Games went on to produce more than 100 posters on everything from the importance of not wasting a scrap of food to the need to knit socks for men fighting in jungles abroad. 

The artist David Gentleman, whose latest book In the Country (Full Circle Editions, £25) is published this month, was taught by Games at the Royal College of Art after the war. Gentleman recalls seeing Games's posters pasted up around his boyhood home town of Hertford, which suffered its share of doodlebug flying bombs. When Gentleman served his military service between school and the RCA, Games's posters were still up on the walls.

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