Supply tank at Villers-Bretonneux

Accession Number ART03007
Collection type Art
Measurement sheet: 37.4 x 55.5 cm (irreg.); image: 37.4 x 55.5 cm
Object type Drawing
Physical description watercolour and ink over charcoal, heightened with white on paper
Maker Longstaff, Will
Date made 14 August 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Watercolour sketch depicting the wreckage of a destroyed Gun Carrier MK I supply tank, outside Villers-Bretonneux, in France during the First World War. The tank is fully loaded with mortar ammunition in preparation for the British Offensive which began the following morning. This tank was one of a number which fell victim to German shellfire on the evening of 7 August 1918. A fire caused by the shelling detonated the ammunition , and the resultant explosions tore the tank to pieces. Will Longstaff was born in Ballarat, Victoria in 1879. From 1900 to 1901, he served with the South African Light Horse in the Boer War. Following his return to Victoria, he taught art privately with Leslie Wilkie at Eltham. He enlisted with the Remounts in October 1915 and served in the Middle East and France before being invalided to England in October 1917. While serving in Egypt, he made pictorial records of the ANZAC Mounted Division and the Desert Column. He then served in England with the B Sub-Depot, Westham. In 1918, he was trained in camouflage work in London with Frank Crozier, J. S. MacDonald and James Scott, and he was subsequently appointed as an Official War Artist working as officer in charge of camouflage for the 2nd Division AIF in France.