September 2022
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  

Kennington: Colours and Line

Posted By on August 29, 2022

Eric Henri Kennington. Lives of the Great War, Imperial War Museum image.

Eric Henri Kennington.
Lives of the First World War, Imperial War Museum

Ever More Connected

Artist Eric Henri Kennington was a war artist and sculptor– creating well known works of both the Great War (The First World War) and the Second World War. Kennington’s work is housed in several public collections including the National Portrait Gallery (London), the Tate Gallery (London), the National Galleries of Scotland, and the Imperial War Museum. One Kennington sculpted memorial, The 24th East Surrey Division War Memorial, stands in Battersea Park, London.

Auda Abu Tayi Kennington portrait. Seven Pillars of Wisdom)

Auda Abu Tayi
Kennington portrait.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom

However, of particular interest this day is Kennington’s work associated with T.E. Lawrence C.B., D.S.O. “Lawrence of Arabia” having provided several portraits for Lawrence’s book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom completed in 1922 and first published in 1926. Kennington also produced a bust of Lawrence placed in the crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral (1936) and a recumbent effigy of Lawrence at St. Martin’s Church, Wareham, Dorset (1939). The story of Lawrence is well known and popular having achieved considerable modern standing with the release of David Lean’s 1962 film, Lawrence of Arabia.

Kennington plaster bust of T.E. Lawrence. (Seven Pillars of Wisdom image)

Kennington plaster bust of T.E. Lawrence.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Popular with film makers the Lean film has repeatedly provided considerable guidance to the craft for directors Steven Speilberg and Martin Scorsese. One cannot help but become engrossed in the creation of this work by David Lean and the insights provided by these accomplished directors. So too this humble writer, who has oft mentioned his own interest in the film. The Lawrence film is also of great interest to Paradigm’s (Motion Picture Company), President and Director Casey Williams. Having chatted with Casey about the Lawrence film I know how much respect Casey holds for the accomplishments of David Lean and this film. Having often discussed the creation of story and connection with Casey it is considerable fun now to bring connection to two of Casey’s favorite subjects…Lawrence (and David Lean)…and the 16th Battalion, C.E.F. (The Canadian Scottish).

Lawrence of Arabia theatre poster for David Lean's 1962 film. (Wiki image)

Lawrence of Arabia theatre poster for David Lean’s 1962 film.
(Wiki image)

I reintroduce now Eric Henri Kennington an accomplished Royal Academy artist, a specialist in the depiction of hardship faced by sailors, soldiers and airmen. Not only did Kennington have a close association to Lawrence but in 1920 he completed The Conquerors a painting depicting the 16th Battalion CEF (The Canadian Scottish) and housed in the collection of the Canadian War Museum. Previously entitled The Victims, Kennington renamed the painting following objections to the title by Canadian Scottish Lieutenant Colonel Cy Peck V.C., D.S.O. and Bar, who was instrumental in the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross to Piper James Cleland Richardson. The Conquerors depicts the 16th as a diverse group of soldiers – somewhat ghostly and representing a diverse gathering of recruits. The colours and lines in The Conquerors make me wish that the illustrations from the Seven Pillars of Wisdom could appear here in colour.

The Conquerors. Eric Henri Kennington artist, 1920. (Marching to Armageddon)

The Conquerors
Eric Henri Kennington artist, 1920.
Marching to Armageddon

So too I wonder of the artist Kennington, the soldier Lawrence, the Canadian Scottish…drawn together by the hands of one artist…one wonders what experience was shared in the preparation of the Seven Pillars illustrations. Did Kennington speak of his experience to Lawrence…did Lawrence know the Canadian Scottish? The colours and lines grow ever more connected (even if only hopeful), brought here this day…connection.

That Wait Upon the Clouds

Posted By on July 31, 2022

St. George's Memorial Church. (P. Ferguson image, September 2004)

St. George’s Memorial Church.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2004)

St. George’s Memorial Church

It is one of many places to commemorate the Great War. Filled with memorials to soldiers, regiments and associaitons. President Sir John French, Earl of Ypres and the president of The Ypres League led the appeal. The town of Ypres (Ieper) gifted the property and on 24 July 1927 Lord Herbert Plumer laid the foundation stone, the same day that Plumer inaugurated the Menin Gate Memorial.

Foundation Stone, St. George Memorial Church. (P. Ferguson image, April 2007)

Foundation Stone, St. George Memorial Church.
(P. Ferguson image, April 2007)

The church, part of the Church of England commemorates more than 500,000 soldiers from Britain and the Commonwealth who died during the Battles of Ypres. Completed in 1929 the church did not include bells until 2016 when the project became part of the many centenary projects 2014-2018. Having successfully raised funds by September 2017 a set of change-ringing bells were cast by John Taylor & Co., Loughborough and by January 2018 the Ypres Bell Ringing Guild actively began seeking individuals to peal the bells. Eight new bells were installed and they were first heard 10 January 2018 when eight bell-ringers from the United Kingdom played the first campanology.

St. George's Sunday Services plaque. (P. Ferguson image, April 2004)

St. George’s Sunday Services plaque.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2004)

At times I find myself thinking about my first visit to St. George’s. Having spent the previous evening visiting new found friends at the Ariane, where I first met Reverend Ray Jones, St. George’s then chaplain, the evening provided my initial insights into this town that has become friend to a visitor from Canada. The evening was filled with good chatter about his work, the on-goings of the communities of Belgium and the many others who take part in some way to remember the Great War.

This was the start to this knowledge journey that continues to this day. Now some time has passed…last there November 2018…where good fortune allowed myself and others the opportuniy to volunteer with the event oganizing committee. One day I will visit Ypres (Ieper) again, recline and relax at my Ieper (Ypres) boutique hotel and wander to the Ariane for the evening. But, during the in between, I will wander to those many places, the war graves, the memorial, Cloth Hall, Saint Martin’s Cathedral, Saint George’s and others to be with this place and to find those stories that wait upon the clouds for one visitor from Canada.

Interior St. George's Memorial Church. (P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

Interior St. George’s Memorial Church.
(P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

 

British Columbia: First Day of the Somme

Posted By on June 29, 2022

Thiepval Memorial, France. (P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

Thiepval Memorial, France.
(P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

The Darkest of Days

The Battle of the Somme lasted for 141 days ending 18 November 1916. During its time the British Army and associated units of the British Commonwealth, including Canada, suffered some 650,000 casualties…200,000 lost their lives.

It is, however, the first day…1 July 1916 that speaks with the loudest of voices…54,740 British Army casualties…19,240 killed. The Newfoundland Regiment was decimated at Beaumont-Hamel and though the Canadian Expeditionary Force did not take part in this the first day, there were those from British Columbia serving in British Army Regiments that lost their lives…1 July 1916.

Vancouver Island

Robert Alexander Rankine Campbell. (Canadian Virtual War Memorial image)

Robert Alexander Rankine Campbell.
(Canadian Virtual War Memorial image)

Second Lieutenant
Robert Alexander Rankine Campbell
B Company 2nd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own)
Thiepval Memorial
Son of Robert Lewis and Alice Elizabeth Campbell, Bromley, Kent, England
Joined 10 November 1914
30th Battalion CEF (2nd B.C. Regiment) and later 15th Battalion CEF
Wounded and Missing La Boiselle
Age 23
University student (Toronto) 1914
—————0—————-

Captain
William Francis Henry Pelly
9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Officer commanding No. 3 Company
Thiepval Memorial
Husband of Rosa Theodora Pelly
Joined 17 September 1914
7th Battalion CEF (1st B.C. Regiment)
Age Unknown
Banker 1914 employed by Dominion Trust Company, Victoria
—————0—————-

Souper Memorial Stained Glass Window. St. Andrew's Church, Cowichan Station, B.C. (Canadian Virtual War Memorial image)

Souper Memorial Stained Glass Window. St. Andrew’s Church, Cowichan Station, B.C.
(Canadian Virtual War Memorial image)

Second Lieutenant
Noel Beaumont Souper
6th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment
Thiepval Memorial
Memorial Stained Glass – St. Andrew’s Anglican, Cowichan Station, BC
Son of Reverend F.A. Souper, Grantchester Meadows, Cambridge, England
Husband of Rosalie Frances Souper nee Norie, London, England (married 1910)
Joined 23 September 1914
16th Battalion CEF (Canadian Scottish)
Age 40
Home at Cowichan Bay
Rancher 1914

St. Andrew's Anglican Church, Cowichan Station, B.C. (P. Ferguson image, September 2018)

St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Cowichan Station, B.C.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2018)

—————0—————-

Vancouver

Maurice Leslie Adamson. (Canadian Virtual War Memorial)

Maurice Leslie Adamson.
(Canadian Virtual War Memorial)

Second Lieutenant
Maurice Leslie Adamson
Royal Scots Fusiliers
Thiepval Memorial
Son of Sir Harvey Adamson KCSI and Lady Adamson of Kensington, London
Joined 23 September 1914
7th Battalion CEF (1st B.C. Regiment)
Age 23
Bank of Montreal Clerk 1914
—————0—————-

William Le Shana (Canadian Virtual War Memorial)

William Le Shana
(Canadian Virtual War Memorial)

Private
William Edward Le Shana
Royal Newfoundland Regiment
Beaumont-Hamel (Newfoundland) Memorial
Son of William and Mabel Le Shana
Husband of Jeannette Le Shana Vancouver, BC
Joined 23 December 1914
Age 24
Clerk 1914

Beaumont-Hamel (Newfoundland) Memorial, France. (P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

Beaumont-Hamel (Newfoundland) Memorial, France.
(P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

—————0—————-

Wounded Horse in Stone

Posted By on May 29, 2022

58th (London ) Division Memorial, Chipilly, France. (P. Ferguson image, September 2006)

58th (London ) Division Memorial, Chipilly, France.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2006)

A War Horse Story

In 2006 while on tour with an English friend across the landscapes of the Western Front, we happened upon the horse memorial at Chipilly. Time was of the essence, our host and driver wanted to show us as much as possible, I managed to ask for a quick stop to roll down the car window and take a few images of the fine stone sculpture. Then on to the next site. I look forward to a return to Chipilly. Perhaps a few more minutes more above the few minutes of 2006. The sculpture has stood here since dedicated in 1922. In my mind then…how to write the story of one community’s Great War and one that included a war horse.

The 58th (London) Division) Memorial at Chipilly, France. (P. Ferguson image, September 2006)

The 58th (London) Division) Memorial at Chipilly, France.
(P. Ferguson image, September 2006)

Created by French sculptor Henri Désire Gauquié the memorial depicts a British gunner comforting a wounded horse. Millions of horses were brought into service and several thousands lost their lives. Horses served in many capacities as cavalry and officer mounts, but its role was far more varied than that of a charger. Horses were used to carry the wounded, transport rations, supplies, timber, artillery and ammunition and it is estimated that some 368,000 horses were in service on the Western Front in 1917.  Some 130,000 horses came from Canada.

French sculptor Henri Gauquie. (Wiki image)

French sculptor Henri Gauquie.
(Wiki image)

An army horse faced numerous obstacles and dangers. Apart from shell torn work areas and the constant possibility of shellfire and gunfire, gas took its toll and a horse gas mask was eventually developed. The hurt from barbwire led to many horses becoming caught in its spikes and as they struggled to free themselves their injuries only increased. If managing to successfully dislodge themselves many of these injuries became infected and did not heal and resulting in horses having to be put down.

War Horse at the In Flanders Fields Museum, Ieper, Belgium. (P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

War Horse at the In Flanders Fields Museum, Ieper, Belgium.
(P. Ferguson image, August 2018)

With peace the large corps of horses were no longer needed and 500,000 returned to their roles as work horses. More then 60,000 were butchered and sold for human consumption. Of those that returned to the farm, one wonders of their triggers on the fields of peace whilst gently grazing or drawing the plough. What might make them bolt…what may have brought them back to peace?

In Chilliwack, British Columbia a shrapnel scarred war horse came to Canada. The horse, a veteran of battles in France was destined for service in North Russia when acquired by Thomas Prentiss Wicks, a returned soldier whose 21-acre farm in Chilliwack  was located on MacDonald Road (Fairfield Island). Wicks was a Great War veteran having enlisted with the 1st Canadian Pioneer Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Subsequently Wicks served with the 60th Company, Canadian Forestry Corps. Wicks acquired his farm in 1919 through the Soldiers Settlement Board and his farm was a feature news story in the Chilliwack Progress, 28 October 1920, page 2.

War Horse puppet on exhibition at the National Army Museum, London. (P. Ferguson image, April 2012)

War Horse puppet on exhibition at the National Army Museum, London.
(P. Ferguson image, April 2012)

In 1982 Michael Morpurgo wrote the novel War Horse, that in 2007 premiered at the Royal National Theatre, London, England. I was fortunate in 2011 to experience this production that includes life-size horse puppets produced by the Handspring Puppet Company. As we sat in the theatre one patron, a lady who had been many times, brought forth a box of hankies…explaining it would be needed and as the production drew to a close…true to her word there were few dry eyes…we had been witness to a heartfelt remembrance one that all assembled related to. It is time to go again.

Some 8 million horses, donkeys and mules lost their lives during the Great War.

Only Remembered, John Tams, War Horse

If I had some words to share…

Posted By on May 28, 2022

Toys...

I would say…sadly once again

Take these spirits from within my soul
and pass them upwards into heaven.

Give; to those that have left us far too soon
and let their hearts shine back upon us.

For their smiles and warmth, the colour and glint of their eyes
warms us all in the spirit of a good life.

Let them continue to be celebrated for
the child and teacher within all of us.

And comfort us with the knowledge that
in our loss they can be our inspiration.

With each tear shed…
a new tomorrow might awaken.

 Previously Published Pipes of War
23-December-2012

I Remember Everything, John Prine