Period: The war years

A Sunderland crew comes ashore at Pembroke Dock
(F. Syme, Ron Warfield, Ron Tyson, Eric Genders, Charlie Martin, Spud Murphy, Bob Meade, Merv Pike, Jock Beattie, Curly Rowland and John Bishop) A Sunderland crew comes ashore at Pembroke Dock
(F. Syme, Ron Warfield, Ron Tyson, Eric Genders, Charlie Martin, Spud Murphy, Bob Meade, Merv Pike, Jock Beattie, Curly Rowland and John Bishop)

painted in London, 1945
oil on canvas 76.2 x 63.4 cm
signed l.r., oil “STELLA BOWEN”, not dated
Australian War Memorial
acquired under official war art scheme, 1945
ART26275

After the relative hardships of Binbrook station, Stella Bowen found life easier at the Sunderland base at Pembroke Dock in south Wales. She stayed with the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and could participate more freely in the social atmosphere of service life.

Bowen found the Sunderlands “beautiful – not sinister like the Lancasters”. She did quick portraits of Flying Officer Frederick Syme and Pilot Officer Ronald Warfield, who are the focus for the group portrait of a Sunderland crew. The nine men are shown coming ashore, framed by the hazy, tranquil bay in front of a picturesque Welsh landscape.