Embroidered blanket : Corporal C A Gatenby, 7 Division Provost Company
|Title||Embroidered blanket : Corporal C A Gatenby, 7 Division Provost Company|
|Maker||Gatenby, Clifford Alexander|
Standard grey wool Army issue blanket completely covered in stem stitch, satin stitch, chain stitch and Turkey work executed in a wide variety of colours and wool plys. The predominant colours are shades of khaki, brown, grey, grey-green and grey-blue. The design of the blanket is symmetrical so that each shape or scene has an opposing image. The patterned infills between the images also have identical opposing sections. In the centre is a large grey Maltese cross with lions and unicorns placed alternately between the arms. The cross fits into an octagon infilled with sections of maroon, and sections of blue, grey and green stripes. To the left and right of the cross are three triangular shapes filled with chequerboard patterns in black, green, red and yellow. Around the edge of the octagon are two scenes from North Africa within brown triangles; four landscape scenes within ovals showing a mosque and three images of the maker's prisoner of war camp and its surrounds in different seasons; and four evenly spaced red Turkey work maps of the Australian mainland. The outermost row of images shows a group of three flowers in each corner within an oval; four RAF/RAAF roundels; an Egyptian scene and a scene with the Sphinx and pyramids, each within a circle; two large scenes within rectangles showing Stalag 383 at Hohenfels by night and by day, with the daytime image showing the perimeter fence of the camp; two circles with multi-coloured 'rays emanating from a red cross; and the embroidered badges of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps and the Royal Corps of Signals, each within a circle. A band of Turkey work squares and rectangles runs across each corner of the blanket forming a triangle. Each triangle bears an Australian animal or bird within an oval. They are, clockwise from the top left corner, a kangaroo, a kookaburra, an emu and a koala. The top left corner also bears a small black and white representation of the colour patch for 7 Division Provost Company and '1562 OFLAG IIIC C A GATENBY CPL NX17797' in grey, brown and khaki satin stitch. The centre of each end of the blanket bears a stylised owl's head.
This standard army blanket was issued to Corporal Clifford Alexander Gatenby, of 7 Division Provost Company, when he enlisted for service in Sydney in May 1940. Gatenby served in North Africa and took part in the ill-fated campaign in Greece and Crete in 1941. On Crete, in late May or the beginning of June, while supervising the evacuation of troops, he became so tired after nearly 48 hours of continuous work, that he sat down behind a rock to rest, fell asleep, and woke to find himself surrounded by Germans.