KEEPSAKES

This is collection of ephemera, (no drawings)from my time as Official War Artist to the Falklands Islands Task Force back in 1982. It is inentionally light hearted, & in no order as I re-find them.

No camera, no mobile, pre-digital! Can you imagine that?

I was always minded to minimise painful aspects,

perhaps this was a mistake.

More pictures to follow as I find them.

 

 

 

21 cap badges (regiments) & 1 War Artist to travel 5,000miles. Astronomers were trying to board with us in order to see the hemisphere from the other side of the globe.
The band of the Royal Marines played ‘We are sailing’. A large soldier next to me waved an impromptu banner saying ‘MEG!’

Our Brigadier Tony Wilson & Major Brendon Lamb his Brigade Major as we pulled away from the crowds at Southampton docks. 1,000’s of us waving to each other. Almost a festive atmosphere, but with mixed feelings. Most of too inexperienced to do other than hope for success in our work ahead. No one having been part of such an immense scale of operation.

From the Royal College of Art

My essential map, the ship ibeing like a floating town. Frequently a unit of one, attempting to find the next contingent to draw with.

drawing the RN helicopters on the flight deck of the QE2 (formaly a swimming pool) one pencil shaving on deck & i would've been thrown overboard.
Try drawing helicopters ceaselessy taking off & landing a few feet away. No danger at this point, at least none that we, most of us knew of.

The exercise here was 'Heli-training' on the aft (rear ) deck & that's the ocean all about us. The 1/7th DEO Ghirka Rifles, & the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards learn to jump off an airborne helicopter, in battledress with full kit as for the arctic, & to land in an proper formation. A new experience for all of us, & It being a sweltering tropical climate at the time didn't help either.

Drawing 16 people jumping about, helicopters in flight (in their downdraft) is not easy. However if the same activity is repeated time & time again somehow one automatically starts to 'edit' & begins to capture the essence of it. Almost like 'memory' drawing. The drawings were to be exhibited immediately on arrival back, this being one of the reasons I was commissioned - very fast drawing. (Fast - yes, but 1 in 10 being useable)

Fast forward to the way the drawing was to be. This is Stanley beach, the capitol of the Falkland Islands, an unmarked mine field as it happened, & painfully freezing. The Royal Engineers were mine detecting so that (simultaneously) a runway could be constructed to bring us provisions.

Back to the luxury of the QE2 Bridge wing, with 20 x 16" sketchbook, a stool and full security clearance. The access to all regions was deemed to be an important part of the job, I took it for granted at the time, & had no idea of the personal 'screenings' that took place before my commission.

One of the many anomalies in this short sharp war. Our breakfast menu on the QE2
To be replaced by the choice below on land

wonderful letter from Ronald Searle. His drawings as a Japanese prisoner of war are at the War Museum too. Done on pain of death, & how he did them, with what he drew them, & how he managed to save them is extraordinary. After this letter II could have asked him. Why didn't I ?

Prince Charles & Johnnie Ricketts CO the !st Battalion Welsh Guards, at our return to Brize Norton. The Welsh Guards were given a 'compassionate landing' in view of the their heavy losses, which meant not having to go through a huge ceremonial welcome.
Brave is what they were.


Re: travelling with the Household Regiments. This note says “Oh Hello” & “Horseguards Parade”
A useful crib written for me by a Guardsman to aid communication with this Officers.