4th Division on their way to the Somme November 1916

Accession Number ART00140
Collection type Art
Measurement framed: 46.7 x 92.7 x 6 cm; unframed: 29 x 75.6 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on cardboard
Place made France: Picardie, Somme
Date made c 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

Depicts Australian soldiers and horses carrying ammunition carts through the snow, on their way to the Somme in late Autumn, 1916. On the right edge of the painting is the remains of a wood; inside the wood is a crucifix, with the figure of Christ. George Benson (1886- 1960) studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne, from 1903 to 1904 and worked with the poster designer, Harry J Weston. He was subsequently engaged in cartoon work and verse illustrations for various magazines including the 'Bulletin', Australian 'Punch' and 'Sporting and Dramatic News'. Benson enlisted in September 1914, with the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade, serving in Egypt and Gallipoli. He served in France in 1916 with the British Expeditionary Force, later undertaking a camouflage course in England and being appointed an official war artist working as Officer in Charge of Camouflage attached to the 4th Division AIF in France in 1918. Following the war he undertook work with the Australian War Records at St. John's Wood in London. Benson returned to Melbourne in 1919 and his commission was terminated in 1920. In 1940 he enlisted in the Australian Citizen Military Forces in Western Australia and was again employed in specialist duties as a camouflage officer, ceasing his duties in December 1943.