Sailor Fraser, HMAS Kanimbla

Units
Places
Accession Number ART91772
Collection type Art
Measurement overall: 45 x 35 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on hardboard
Location Main Bld: Peacekeeping & Recent Conflicts Gallery
Maker Churcher, Peter
Place made Persian Gulf
Date made 18 February 2002
Conflict Period 2000-2009
Afghanistan, 2001-
Copyright

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright

Description

Peter Churcher recalled, "Fraser caught my eye on the first morning that I was painting the end of the night watch shift that you have got. As I was finishing the work and cleaning up Fraser and his companions were coming up on deck to replace the shift that I had just been painting. His full innocent appearance struck me whilst a lot of the other sailors were a bit rough round the edges and had a slightly seaworn appearance. Fraser looked as fresh as a daisy. He was a good-looking guy and looked fresh and innocent. A couple of nights later I was having a cigarette out on the deck at night in total darkness. In this situation one cannot see anything except the glow of the cigarettes that people are smoking. One of these invisible people came up to me and started commenting favourably on the painting that he had seen me do the other morning (two days before) up on the observation deck. I started asking him about his history with the Navy. He told me that he was only eighteen and had only joined the Navy six months ago. I asked him why he joined the Navy and he said that he thought that it was a good way to see the world at a young age but never envisaged that he would be engaged in war. To his surprise six months later he was deployed in the Persian Gulf in the war against terrorism. I then asked him the important question, did he feel that he had made the right decision six months ago and he answered yes he absolutely loved it, but that he was missing his Mum. The next day I saw Fraser again, the young man who I had noticed on the observation deck on my first morning. I decided to approach him and introduced myself. I began to explain that I was the war artist, and then he mentioned that we had had that lengthy conversation the night before on the deck. I didn't know who I was talking to there last night. I couldn't see anything. Imagine that you are out in the ocean and the light is ambient. It is very very dark. They don't want to be seen at night".