AIF aerodrome near Bertangles
ID numberART02477
Collection typeArt
TitleAIF aerodrome near Bertangles
Measurementsheet: 40 x 57.2 cm
Object typeDrawing
MakerFullwood, A Henry
Place madeFrance: Picardie, Somme, Bertangles
Date made1918
Physical descriptionwatercolour and gouache with pencil and charcoal on paper
CopyrightCopyright expired - public domain
DescriptionDepicts the AIF aerodrome near Bertangles, with field observation binoculars (tripod legs) in right foreground, several soldiers and pilots of the No 3 Squadron, aircraft in the aerodrome and sky ( the aircraft are RE8 (Reconnaissance Experimental)), and several petrol cans can be seen ready to refuel aircraft. The Bertangles aerodrome and airfield were part of No 3 Squadrons AFC site at Poulainville, where they were in support of Australian Corps headquarters. The Australian Flying Corps (AFC) was established in 1913 and the No. 3 Squadron arrived in France in September 1917. No. 3 Squadron (RE8s) was supporting the last phase of the Passchendale campaign in Flanders. Their main duty was spotting for the artillery but the bad weather during the winter months severely limited their opportunities. Australian airmen played a limited role in the great advance from Amiens on 8 August 1918. No. 3 squadron assisted the attack with reconnaissance work and by flying patrols to help identify the position of the advancing infantry.
Albert Henry Fullwood was born in Birmingham, England in March 1863. In 1883 he sailed to Australia and began work as a lithographic draughtsman , working on the staff of illustrated journals such as 'Australian Town and Country Journal' and the 'Bulletin'. In 1900 he went to the United States, then to London, as an expatriate artist where he worked as a freelance illustrator, receiving commissions from newspapers and journals, including the London 'Graphic' and designing postcards. From April 1915 until November 1917 Fullwood served with the Royal Army Medical Corps as an orderly at the 3rd London General Hospital at Wandsworth in the company of fellow artists Coates, Roberts and Streeton. He was subsequently appointed an official war artist , attached to the 5th Division AIF, working in France between May and August 1918 and from December 1918 to January 1919. His major contribution as a war artist was to record aspects of the war which others may not have noticed or taken for granted. His works have a narrative element and captured Australian soldiers in 'straightforwardly picturesque views of their environment'. Fullwood returned to Australia in 1920 after his commission had been terminated and became a foundation member of the Australian Painter Etcher's Society in 1920 and the Australian Watercolour Institute in 1924. He died from pneumonia in October 1930.