Messines 1917

Accession Number ART03611
Collection type Art
Measurement sheet: 53.2 x 70.8 cm; image: 53.2 x 70.8 cm
Object type Drawing
Physical description charcoal on paper mounted on cardboard
Place made France
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 a group of Australian soldiers moving across a war damaged battlefield, while aeroplanes fly overhead, shell bursts and explosions occur on the horizon and tanks move across the landscape. The scene relates to the battle of Messines in France during the First World War. 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.