Troops bathing, Gaza Beach
ID numberART30049
Collection typeArt
TitleTroops bathing, Gaza Beach
MeasurementOverall: 34.2 x 53 cm
Object typeDrawing
MakerHerbert, Harold
Date made1941
Physical descriptionwatercolour and pencil on paper
CopyrightAWM copyright
DescriptionDepicts a beach scene at Gaza in Israeal during the Second World War. The guard looks longingly at his friends who are surfing or lazing on the beach. The refreshment tents, where voluntary workers serve tea, cake and cigarettes free to the troops, and the shelter tents are provided by the Australian Comforts Fund. The signal station in the background is on the outskirts of an Arab village, Palestine. The Australian Comforts Fund (ACF) was first formed in August 1916 from a number of individual state based organisations that had been created at the beginning of World War I to send comfort to the troops. Many local women's groups formed early in the war to provide various 'luxury items' to supplement the Australian soldier's army rations and personal kit. The Australian Comforts Fund quickly grew into a fundraising, collecting, sorting and distributing machine which rivalled the scope of the Red Cross. At the conclusion of World War I, the ACF officially dissolved. However it was revived in 1939 with the outbreak of World War II to provide comforts to a new generation of soldiers. Harold Harold Brocklebank Herbert (1892-1945) was a painter, illustrator, art teacher, art critic and war correspondent . A friendship with Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Blamey resulted in Herbert's appointment as an official war artist in 1941. Through a memorandum to the War Cabinet, Blamey urged for the appointment of two official war artists, indicating: "Palestine is a land of wonderful colour which lends itself particularly to the water-colourist. May I suggest that you send out Herbert on a six months' engagement of to paint the A.I.F. life as it is at present". As a result, Herbet became one of the first war artists appointed during the Second World War. He travelled through Palestine and Egypt, drawing the vast empty deserts and the Mediterranean coast line, village scenes and military encampments, transport columns and anti-aircraft defences. After completing his 6-month appointment, Herbert returned to Australia at the start of September 1941.