Lewis gunner

Unit Australian Imperial Force
Accession Number ART19991
Collection type Art
Measurement framed: 152 x 126 x 10 cm; unframed: 126.5 x 99.7 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on canvas
Place made Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made 1919-1920
Conflict Period 1910-1919
First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

Depicts a gunner in profile taking aim as he prepares to fire a Lewis gun positioned on an anti-aircraft mount, whilst another soldier watches from the side of the gun pit. The soldiers are surrounded by the debris of destroyed buildings and a thick haze of smoke rising from the ruins. George Courtney Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and muralist. He studied at the National Gallery School in Melbourne from 1903 and later worked for the 'Bulletin' in Sydney, then as an illustrator and cartoonist for Melbourne 'Punch'. As a result of his drawings at Gallipoli and in France during the First World War, he was appointed official war artist in 1918. He served with the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade and from June 1916 was with the British Expeditionary Forces in France. After the war, he continued to work for the War Records Section and returned to Melbourne in 1919 to complete works for the Memorial. He spent the next decade painting watercolour landscapes and working as a book illustrator. In 1931 he moved to Western Australia to undertake work on murals. Benson enlisted in the Australian Citizens Military Forces from 1940 to 1943, working in camouflage.