Biography

Also Known as: George Benson
Birth date: 04 February 1886
Birth place: Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Death date: 12 December 1960
Death place: Australia: Western Australia, Perth
Final rank: Lieutenant
Service number: 2180 - First World War, 1914-1918
W237689 - Second World War, 1939-1945
Units:
  • Camouflage units
  • 3 Artillery Brigade Headquarters
  • 4th Australian Division
  • 4th Australian Divisional Ammunition Column

George Courtney Benson began documenting the First World War well before he was commissioned as an official artist in April 1918. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in September 1914 with the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade. Soon after, Benson embarked for service with the advance guard; he was one of the first enlisted Australian artists to reach the Dardanelles. Prior to the Allied landing at Gallipoli, Benson made sketches from the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth. His panoramic drawings included Turkish trenches and strategic features of the terrain.

Benson's artistic pursuits began in Melbourne at the National Gallery School in 1903, studying under such luminaries as Bernard Hall and Fredrick McCubbin. He subsequently found work under the well known poster designer Harry J Weston, accompanying him to Sydney to work on the Bulletin for a year. Upon returning to Melbourne, Benson further established himself as a deft illustrator and cartoonist by working on publications Sporting and Dramatic News and Punch.

Benson made topographical sketches of the salient landmarks of the Gallipoli Peninsula prior to the Allied landing and later served with the British Expeditionary Forces in France, before taking up his commission as Officer in Charge of Camouflage with the 4th Division in London. Following war's end, Benson worked for the Australian War Records Section in London, sharing space at the St John's Wood studio with other official artists Frank Crozier, Will Longstaff and James F. Scott. Benson returned to Australia in 1919 to complete a number of commissioned paintings for the Memorial.

During the First World War, Benson avidly documented his travels and experiences; from his military training at Broadmeadows, Victoria, to the 'Egyptian types' he encountered in Cairo; his time at sea and at Gallipoli, in France and Belgium. After the war, he collated a selection of sketches into a comprehensive scrapbook comprising of over 140 drawings, now held in the Memorial's collection (ART03605).

In 1931, Benson was commissioned by the University of Western Australia to paint the ceiling beams of Winthrop Hall. He went on to carry out further mural commissions in Perth, while also working as a critic and cartoonist for the West Australian newspaper.

Benson vied for a second commission with the Australian War Memorial at the beginning of the Second World War, by then in his mid-50s, but his age was seen by the Memorial as a 'handicap'. Despite not being appointed, he enlisted in the Citizen Military Forces and worked as a camouflage officer until 1943. He undertook a number of further commissions in Western Australia and worked as an art critic for the 'West Australian ' newspaper before his death in 1960.

Rolls and Awards

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Gunner
  • Date of embarkation: 17 September 1914
  • Place of embarkation: Melbourne

Honours and Awards (Recommendation)

  • Unit: 3 Artillery Brigade Headquarters
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Art

ANZAC

Depicts a panoramic view of the landscape at Anzac, Gallipoli, during the First World War, with two soldiers and a donkey in the foreground. George Courtney Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and muralist. He studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne from 1903 and later worked for the...

ART03598

Not titled [Dustcover for scrapbook]

Dust cover for scrapbook, depicting a war artist (likely to be Benson himself) in uniform sitting in what looks like a bomb crater, sketching a wounded or dead soldier on a drawing pad. The nonchalance of the artist pictured is amplified by the cigarette in his mouth, as one hand draws while the...

ART03605.001

recto: blank; verso: Fatigue Dress, Broadmeadows Camp

verso: Depicts a man dressed in 'fatigue dress' with dark cuffed trousers, a jacket with sleeves too short and a wide-brimmed hat pulled down over his eyes. He wears a grim expression, his arms are held firmly by his side and his left hand appears to be clenched as if in defiance against his...

ART03605.002

Scrapbook leaf with four sketches and inscriptions

Scrapbook leaf with four sketches and inscriptions.

ART03605.003

Enthusiastic Melbourne send-off September 21st 1914

Depicts the troopship 'Geelong' loaded with troops departing from the pier at Williamstown,Victoria, being pulled away from the pier by a tug boat. An old man leans on a walking cane and holds his top hat aloft another cane to bid his farewell while his canine companion sits patiently on the pier...

ART03605.003.001

The Heads

Roughly drawn sketch entitled 'The Heads'. Depicts a bay, likely to be Hobsons Bay, with a small sailing boat on the right of the image.

ART03605.003.002

Off Tasmanian coast

Depicts the ocean off the Tasmanian coast, with a mountainous coastline and cloud-filled sky. The inscription below the sketch describes the weather as being "awful round the West Coast". The artist also indicates that due to the inclement weather, the troopship didn't arrive in Hobart until...

ART03605.003.003

Near Brighton Military Camp

Depicts the coastline and beach at Brighton Military Camp, Victoria, including windswept ti-trees, grassy foreshore and cloud filled sky. Pontville was the site of a military training camp. The Brighton Military Camp was established in 1914 and is now the major military training facility in...

ART03605.003.004

Scrapbook leaf with four sketches attached and inscriptions

Scrapbook leaf with four sketches attached, three recto and one verso, together with inscriptions describing time spent on the troopship.

ART03605.004

HMAS Melbourne coming into Albany, WA

Depicts the HMAS 'Melbourne' coming into the harbour at Albany, Western Australia. A number of smaller ships are also entering the harbour behind HMAS 'Melbourne'. Inscription to the right side of the sketch: "Left Albany with the fleet of 42 Transports on 1st November, beside the 'Melbourne'....

ART03605.004.001

Waiting for cook 'ouse

Depicts a queue of mess orderlies in uniform lining up with tin buckets for their meat rations at the 'No. 1 Troopdeck Cookhouse', while another cook, wearing a cap, drags two large tubs of vegetables along the deck of the ship. Inscription to the left of the sketch reads: 'The Cook House was a...

ART03605.004.002

Not titled [French lessons on board ship]

Depicts Sergeant Barrett conducting French lessons with six soldiers on top of the ship's deck. Another soldier's silhouette can bee seen behind the main group holding papers or a book. He is not likely to be participating in the lessons as he's out of the Sergeant's eyeline. The ship's funnel is...

ART03605.004.003

The Fleet sailing from Albany Harbour

Depicts a flotilla of eight vessels in the harbour at Albany, Western Australia. Depicts the harbour, rocky coastline and cloud-filled sky.

ART03605.004.004

Scrapbook leaf with three sketches of the journey between Yemen and Egypt

Scrapbook leaf with three sketches of vessels in the Suez Canal. Extended text reads: "Arrived at Aden on 25th November and left on 26th and not a cigarette aboard the ship. Strong men cried like children and despairingly offered 10- for a box [of] "Capstans". Eventually fresh stores were...

ART03605.005

Not titled [Egyptian dhow and troopship]

Depicts an Egyptian sailing vessel (dhow) being towed towards one of the Australian troopships in the Suez Canal, Egypt. Caption reads: "Egyptian Dhow being towed over to one of the troopers. Suez".

ART03605.005.001

Aden

Depicts a vessel in set against a mountainous landscape and blue sky at Aden, in the Suez Canal.

ART03605.005.002

Transports, Seuz

Sketch depicts several small ships in the Seuz Canal, with the coastline and landscape in the background.

ART03605.005.003

Some Egyptian Types

Scrapbook leaf with six studies of "Some Egyptian types".

ART03605.006

Lemonade Seller

Depicts a young Egyptian man holding a large jug under his right arm, selling lemonade in the streets. This is one of a series of drawings Benson did entitled 'Some Egyptian Types'.

ART03605.006.001

Poultry seller

Depicts an Egyptian man walking in profile, balancing a wire cage of poultry on his head with a turkey perched atop the cage. This is one of a series of drawings Benson did entitled 'Some Egyptian Types'.

ART03605.006.002

One of the faithful, a pilgrim from Mecca

Depicts an Egyptian man, wearing a long robe, with a cloth draped over his right shoulder, wearing a cap on his head and carrying a stick or staff. This is one of a series of drawings Benson did entitled 'Some Egyptian Types'.

ART03605.006.003

A Sudanese/Egyptian Infantry

Depicts a Sudanese soldier in uniform, wearing calf-length boots and a fez hat, a member of the Egyptian infantry. This is one of a series of drawings Benson did entitled 'Some Egyptian Types'.

ART03605.006.004

An unmarried woman - Ezbekiah Gardens

Depicts an unmarried woman wearing a tunic, head dress and veil covering her head and face, leaving only her eyes exposed. This is one of a series of drawings Benson did entitled 'Some Egyptian Types'.

ART03605.006.005

Some of 'em runs to fat

Depicts a very large Egyptian man wearing a tunic, a coat and a turban. This is one of a series of drawings Benson did entitled 'Some Egyptian Types'.

ART03605.006.006

Scrapbook leaf with sketches attached recto and verso

Scrapbook leaf with sketches attached recto and verso.

ART03605.007

A Coptic priest

Depicts a head and shoulders portrait of a Coptic priest, wearing a flat cap, dressed in a cloak, with a full beard and moustache. This is one of a series of drawings Benson did entitled 'Some Egyptian Types'.

ART03605.007.001

Mena village

Depicts a landscape with pathway leading to a small square adobe brick house in the village of Mena, near the military training camp. A figure in a long cloak walks along the roadway. A number of trees fill the background of the scene.

ART03605.007.002

[Landscape with pyramids]

Depicts a panoramic sketch of a landscape with two pyramids in the background; trees and fields in the foreground.

ART03605.007.003

3-minute Reconnaissance sketch; verso: Cairo from the pyramids

Recto: depicts a panoramic landscape. A note at the bottom refers to it as a 3-minute reconnaissance sketch of Egypt, indicating plantation and geographical formations; verso: panoramic map of Cairo from the pyramids across a double leaf from another sketchbook, complete with geographical and...

ART03605.007.004

Not titled [Landscape with Pyramid]

Depicts a pencil sketch of a landscape with a single pyramid on the right, buildings and fields on the left.

ART03605.007.005

Not titled [Landscape]

Depicts a panoramic landscape of open fields, a river and trees with a mountain range in the distance.

ART03605.007.006

Scrapbook leaf with two pencil sketches recto and an ink sketch verso

Scrapbook leaf with two pencil sketches attached recto and an ink sketch attached verso.

ART03605.008

A Gyppo village January 12, 1915

Depicts a landscape and an Egyptian village, including adobe brick houses and palm trees in the middle distance, and a figure riding a donkey in the foreground. While the word 'gyppos' has been used as an abbreviation of 'gypsies' and 'Egyptians', the reference in the title is likely to be to an...

ART03605.008.001

The village blacksmith, Mena

Depicts two men seated under a canopy-like tent structure, sections being made from bags torn in half. The man on the left of the image has a small anvil in front of him. To the right of the image is a standing donkey, facing away from the scene. A plume of smoke rises up through a hole in the...

ART03605.008.002

A Porter

Depicts an elderly bearded man dressed in rags, barefoot, carrying an enormous crate on his back. The crate is supported by a rope wrapped around his forehead and his right arm, with his left arm hung by his side.

ART03605.008.003

Scrapbook leaf with three sketches and inscriptions; verso: ink sketch

Scrapbook leaf with three sketches and inscriptions; verso: ink sketch of an orange seller running.

ART03605.009

A Cairo Street

Sketch of a Cairo street. Birds fly overhead as groups of people mill in the street below. A figure in the foreground carries a large sack on the shoulder.

ART03605.009.001

Cairo - a Belle

Watercolour on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting an Egyptian woman wearing full black chador. Interestingly, she wears a bangle on her left foot and no shoes. She holds a small child aloft on her left shoulder, supported only by her left hand. The child wears a red cloth and reaches out...

ART03605.009.002

The Law!

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting an Egyptian policeman standing with one arm by his side, fist clenched, and the other crossed behind his back. He leans to his right, his left leg half bent. The artist has titled the sketch 'The Law!'. Underneath, inscribed on the scrapbook...

ART03605.009.003

"Oringers: very good!"

Depicts an Egyptian market seller wearing rags, running in full stride holding out oranges in his left hand, his mouth agape and yelling: "Oringers: very good!".

ART03605.009.004

Scrapbook leaf with three sketches and inscriptions; verso: ink sketch

Scrapbook leaf with three sketches and inscriptions; verso: ink sketch of a waiter.

ART03605.010

A cabbie

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting an Egyptian 'cabbie', Alexandria, standing alongside his transport - a horse. To the right is another sketch of a figure depicted from behind. It could possibly be the cabbie from a different perspective.

ART03605.010.001

Waterfront policeman

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting a waterfront policeman, his arms folded behind his back.

ART03605.010.002

Mena village

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting a scene in Mena Village. In the foreground are figures, one with a basket balanced on their head, together with some seated figures to the left. Right of centre is an alley, down which other figures are depicted.

ART03605.010.003

A waiter

Sketch of an Egyptian waiter. Barefoot with a wide smile, the waiter supports a large round platter on one hip, with the right arm extended to hold up the other end.

ART03605.010.004

Scrapbook leaf with four sketches and inscriptions; verso: Suvla Bay

Scrapbook leaf with four sketches on separate sketchpad leaves and inscriptions, depicting some of the people aboard the SS Minnewaska while travelling from Alexandria to Lemnos Island; verso: Suvla Bay. The third Minnewaska was launched in 1908 and sailed the London to New York route until 1915...

ART03605.011

Not titled [Soldier with a rifle]

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting a naval officer sitting atop a bollard, his legs bent up towards his hips and his rifle poised as if on guard. This is one of a series of sketches Benson made while aboard the SS Minnewaska, travelling from Alexandria, Egypt, to Lemnos Island.

ART03605.011.001

SS Minnewaska, Alexandria

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting a naval officer aboard the SS Minnewaska travelling from Alexandria, Egypt, and Lemnos Island. Benson recounts that they left Alexandria on Easter Saturday, 10th April, and arrived at Lemnos Island the following morning. Verso: rough sketch of...

ART03605.011.002

SS Minnewaska

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting a profile portrait of a soldier with glasses wearing his slouch hat, holding up his rifle. This is one of a series of sketches Benson made while aboard the SS Minnewaska, travelling from Alexandria to Lemnos Island on Easter Saturday, 1915.

ART03605.011.003

A Turkish prisoner

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting a head study of a Turkish prisoner. The inscription reads: 'A Turkish prisoner who was being examined on the HQ's troopship'. Benson has also indicated that the prisoner's fez hat was green. An additional inscription suggests conflicting...

ART03605.011.004

Suvla Bay

A rough pencil sketch on a piece of graph paper, depicting Suvla Bay. Inscription on scrapbook leaf below image: 'First section of a reconnaissance drawing made from the deck of the HMS Queen on Thursday 22 April, 1915, showing Cape Nibrunesi and Suvla Bay. The whole panorama extended from...

ART03605.011.005

Scrapbook leaf with five sketches and inscriptions

Scrapbook leaf with five sketches and inscriptions.

ART03605.012

A Turkish deserter

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting a Turkish deserter sitting cross-legged in profile. The artist indicates that he was cross-examined on board the SS Minnewaska. There are notations indicating that his coat is dark blue and the collar made of goat's hair.

ART03605.012.001

Hill 600 and Achi Baba with transports

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting vessels in the Aegean Sea on April 25, 1915, the day of the Gallipoli landings. Benson indicates points of reference, Hill 600 and Achi Baba, with transport vessels. He also notes that this is one of two sketches on this leaf that were made...

ART03605.012.002

Queen Elizabeth

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting the Queen Elizabeth and other vessels just before the artist landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April 1915. The artist notes that this is one of two sketches on this leaf that were made just before he landed. The HMS Queen Elizabeth was...

ART03605.012.003

recto: Not titled [Reconnaissance sketch]; verso: Not titled [Head study]

recto: double sketchbook leaf, depicting a reconnaissance sketch of Anzac Cove. Points of reference include Monash Valley, Pope's Hill [indicated in sketch as Pope's Nose] and Quinn's Post; verso: small smiling head study in pencil.

ART03605.012.004

Not titled [A member of the Zion Mule Corps]

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting a member of the Zion Mule Corps in full uniform standing in front of two donkeys, one of which is loaded up with transport crates. Benson indicates that "700 Jews joined early in the affair and are carrying munitions and water per 'donk' "....

ART03605.012.005

Scrapbook leaf with four sketches; verso: extended inscription with drawing

Scrapbook leaf with four sketches attached and extended inscription verso.

ART03605.013

"Army shells about?"

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting a soldier peeping around from behind a stone building structure, or it could perhaps be sandbags, as if to see if it's safe to come out. An alternative title could be 'Little [illeg.] 'ome in the west.'

ART03605.013.001

recto: "Water Fatigue"; verso: Fatigue

recto: Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting a soldier bent over carrying buckets of water hanging off a pole across his shoulders. His slouch hat is pulled down over his eyes and left foot is turned slightly inward, suggesting unstable footing either from the weight of his burden...

ART03605.013.002

Bobby Williams - Hot weather wear

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting Bobby Williams standing with one hand on his hip staring at the viewer. To the right in the middle distance is what appears to be his figure from behind. This likens the sketch to fashion illustrations that feature the front and back 'look' of...

ART03605.013.003

Not titled [The Mule Corps]

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting a member of the Mule Corps trudging through dense landscape, a mule in front and one to his rear, each laden with supplies and/or ammunition.

ART03605.013.004

Scrapbook leaf with four sketches and inscription

Scrapbook leaf with four sketches and inscription.

ART03605.014

Not titled [Water well guard]; verso: Towards Suvla Bay

recto: Water well guard at Victoria Gully, Gallipoli. Inscription on scrapbook leaf reads: "At the foot of Victoria Gully was a Turkish well which only yielded a small supply of water. A guard was placed over it so that the diggers should not get more than one issue"; verso: Suvla Bay. Inscription...

ART03605.014.001

Not titled [A Turkish prisoner]

Depicts a Turkish prisoner with an Australian soldier standing guard behind him to his right. The artist has indicated colours of the Turk's clothing: his green Turkish fez, brownish pants, and a red sash around his waist.

ART03605.014.002

A Bombardier

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad of a head study of a bombardier from the 2nd Indian Mountain Battery.

ART03605.014.003

Scrapbook leaf with a sketch from the Naval Observing Station

Scrapbook leaf with a reconnaissance sketch on graph paper and extended inscription, which reads: "A Reconnaissance sketch showing the Southern portion of the Peninsular - This was done for the purpose of showing the zone of fire of The Beach Gun, an eighteen pounder in position near Brighton...

ART03605.015

The Brigoos

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting a head study of a member of the 5th Scottish Howitzer Battery, who arrived at Anzac Cove June 26th. Benson's account reads: "The 5th Scottish Howitzer Battery [illeg.] arrived June 26 and the guns were placed in position on a gentle slope...

ART03605.016.001

Telephone dugout

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting a figure in a telephone dugout at the rear of the 9th Battery Observation Post. Benson indicates in his inscription that "it was built just above the fire trench held by [the] 3rd Infantry Brigade. This O.P. gave fine opportunities for...

ART03605.016.002

Service rifle

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad depicting a rough study of an SMLE (Short Magazine Lee Enfield), which was carried by Australian soldiers during the First World War.

ART03605.016.003

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches; one a reconnaissance sketch and the other a sketch overlooking the Aegean Sea to Imbros Island from Shell Green. Shell Green was a sloping cotton field on the seaward side of Bolton's Ridge at the southern end of the Anzac area.

ART03605.017

Not titled [Reconnaissance sketch]

Reconnaissance sketch on folded graph paper delineated into 8 sections. Points of reference include: Chessboard trenches and Imbros (Sec. 1); Pope's Hill and The Razor Back, together with indications of a sunken road and tunnel (Sec. 2); Deadman's Ridge, Pope's Ridge, Quinn's Post, the hills of...

ART03605.017.001

Imbos from above Shell Green

Sketch on a leaf torn from a small sketchpad, depicting a sketch overlooking the Aegean Sea to Imbros Island from Shell Green. Shell Green was a sloping cottonfield on the seaward side of Bolton's Ridge at the southern end of the Anzac area.

ART03605.017.002

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches and inscription

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches and inscription.

ART03605.018

Not titled [Ammunition transportation]

Depicts Turkish men and donkeys, their saddle bags loaded with ammunition supplies. An accompanying drawing shows the biscuit coloured turbans they wore, which had a square of purple silk on the side (see ART03605.018.002).

ART03605.018.001

Pathans

Depicts head studies of the Turkish men who transported ammunition supplies on mules. Benson indicates that they wore biscuit coloured turbans, which had a square of purple silk on the side. The title refers to the Muslim Pashto-speaking Pashtuns (also known as Pathans) who are predominantly an...

ART03605.018.002

Taking mail to Anzac

Scrapbook leaf with a watercolour sketch depicting mail being transported across to Anzac.

ART03605.019

Some sketches in Malta

Scrapbook leaf with 8 sketches entitled 'Some sketches in Malta'; verso: blank.

ART03605.020

A Gurkha

Small head study in profile of a Gurkha. A Gurkha was a person from the northern parts of India who served in the British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas.

ART03605.020.001

Kitchener's Army

A figure study of a soldier from Kitchener's Army wearing an ill-fitting oversized uniform and a topee hat several sizes too big. Kitchener's Army, or the New Army, revolutionised the British military. For the first time, the nation and its people was committed to a massive land force fighting...

ART03605.020.002

A Priest

A study of a priest, wearing religious vestments.

ART03605.020.003

Monk

A study of a monk wearing a cross around his neck.

ART03605.020.004

The national women's headgear: a hood of shame

A study of a woman pulling her headdress over her. Benson describes the national women's headgear as "a hood of shame".

ART03605.020.005

A washerwoman, Malta

A study of a Maltese washerwoman. Her laundry load on a wagon being carried by a donkey.

ART03605.020.006

Ploughing

A study of a woman and a mule in the field, ploughing. Up on the hills in the distance can be some building structures, perhaps the woman's farmhouse.

ART03605.020.007

A Maltese - cross

A study of a Maltese man with a moustache and wide-brimmed hat, smoking a pipe. Below is a small caricature study of a grimacing face. The title seems to refer more to the small facial study than the sketch of the Maltese man smoking the pipe.

ART03605.020.008

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches; verso: blank.

ART03605.021

Gibraltar

A double leaf sketch from another sketchpad with a perforated line running vertically down the centre, depicting the coast of Gibraltar.

ART03605.021.001

Cape St Vincent

Watercolour sketch on artist's paper, depicting the lighthouse on the Cape St Vincent, Algarve, in southern Portugal.

ART03605.021.002

Scrapbook leaf with three sketches and inscriptions

Scrapbook leaf with three sketches and inscriptions; verso: blank.

ART03605.022

Chalk boats on the Suez Canal

Sketchbook leaf attached to scrapbook page, depicting boats on the Suez Canal. The sails are down and much of the sketch is dominated by rigging and masts.

ART03605.022.001

More chalk boats, same canal

Sketchbook leaf attached to scrapbook page, depicting chalk boats in the middle distance on the Suez Canal.

ART03605.022.002

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches and inscriptions

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches and inscriptions; verso: blank.

ART03605.023

Le Chateau Blanc, Headquarters of the 4th Division

Watercolour on artist's paper attached to scrapbook leaf, depicting a large white house in Sailly-sur-la-Lys, Northern France, that was used during the war as the 4th Division Headquarters. Benson has pictured the house surrounded by trees and dense foliage in the foreground, which is in stark...

ART03605.023.001

Ruins of Bois-Grenier church

Watercolour on artist's paper attached to scrapbook leaf, depicting the ruins of the Bois-Grenier church with a bomb damaged building to left. The foreground is a carpet of rubble, contrasted with the blue sky above. The village of Bois-Grenier remained in British hands, though close to the front...

ART03605.023.002

Church, Armentieres

Watercolour on artist's paper attached to scrapbook leaf, depicting the bomb-damaged Notre Dame in Armentieres. The town lies on the Belgian border, northwest of the city of Lille. Apart from the shell-damaged spire and evidence of rubble around the entrance, the front is relatively unscathed....

ART03605.024

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto and verso

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto with inscription.

ART03605.028

Army Headquarters, Cassel

Depicts the small town of Cassel in northern France; southeast of Dunkurque. Cassel is a hilltop village that was much fought over during the First World War because of its position and observation opportunities of the high ground. It served the British Army Headquarters, which oversaw the northern...

ART03605.028.001

Hop picking

Depicts Belgium women sitting on stools beside large baskets as they are engaged in the laborious task of picking the hop cones from the bines (climbing stem) by hand. Hops are climbing plants and Benson has depicted the large poles that support the hops towering above the women. Behind them is the...

ART03605.028.002

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches

Scrapbook leaf with two pencil sketches, one a reconnaissance sketch of Vierstraat, Belgium, dated 9 October, 1916.

ART03605.029

Stacking B[illeg.], Belgium

Depicts Belgium women engaged in stacking a crop of some sort, with tall poles as supports. One stands on a step ladder, the stack too high for her to reach, while another stands nearby with a basket. Other figures are depicted in the background engaged in the same activity.

ART03605.029.002

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches; verso: extended inscription

Scrapbook leaf with two pencil sketches, one depicting a peasant and another depicting two women gossiping in the street.

ART03605.030

A peasant

Depicts a peasant standing in the middle of a field, his hands behind his back propping himself up on a long stick. He looks deep in thought as he surveys the ground. A low horizon gives way to a cloud-filled sky with trees in the distant landscape.

ART03605.030.001

Gossips, Belgium

Depicts a Belgian street scene with a woman standing in a doorway carrying a large stack of hay, talking with another woman sitting in a cart drawn by a medium-sized dog. Despite obviously being a working dog its tail hasn't been docked, but it wears a muzzle. The two women are obviously engaged in...

ART03605.030.002

Scrapbook leaf with three sketches

Recto: scrapbook leaf with two pencil sketches, one a reconnaissance sketch entitled 'Sketch from Stormy Trench, Le Barque', dated 1 March, 1917; verso: 'Our Little Bud'.

ART03605.031

Scrapbook leaf with two figure studies; verso: left side of a double leaf landscape sketch

recto: scrapbook leaf with two figure studies; verso: left side of a double leaf landscape sketch (see also ART03605.035.001)

ART03605.034

South African Labour Corps

Depicts a member of the South African Labour Corps, holding a pitchfork. He wears an oversized Army coat and wide-brimmed hat, with large shoes at the end of skinny legs. The South African Labour force were employed in France early 1917, a base being established in the northern region of...

ART03605.034.001

17 Below

Depicts a serviceman dressed in cold weather gear. A blue, black and white background is suggestive of inclement weather. His lined vest, head scarf underneath his tin helmet and big gloves seem insufficient for "17 below" as he grimaces from the extreme cold.

ART03605.034.002

The destruction of the 43rd Battery at Lagnicourt; verso: [Rough reconnaissance sketch]

Depicts the destruction of the 43rd Battery on the morning of the German attack at Lagnicourt. Gun carriages are visible in the foreground, behind one is a soldier on all fours, perhaps wounded from battle. Scatterd on the ground are empty shell casings. The horizon and direction of the guns' aim...

ART03605.035.002

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches and inscriptions

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches and inscriptions. Attached recto is a fold-out reconnaissance map showing the Hindenburg Line, dated April 12, 1917. Verso: is a rough pencil sketch of transport trucks.

ART03605.036

Sketch from O.P. showing Hindenburg Line

This fold-out reconnaissance sketch showing the Hindenburg Line. Inscription below image reads: "Went up to O.P. on road between Ecoust. Made sketch of Bullecourt. The Hindenburg Line is visible for miles and looks a nasty proposition. Started snowing so had to finish hurriedly. Went back to...

ART03605.036.001

Not titled [Transport trucks]

Depicts two transport trucks and a serviceman.

ART03605.036.002

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto and verso

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches. Recto: depicts a pencil sketch of a 6 inch MK 7 gun; verso: depicts troops resting along the Albert-Amiens Road.

ART03605.038

[6 inch MK 7 gun]

Depicts a pencil sketch of a 6 inch MK 7 gun.

ART03605.038.001

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto and verso

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches. Recto: depicts two rifles with the bayonets driven into the ground, one with a tin helmet atop, in memoriam for fallen soldiers; verso: depicts a lone grave in a landscape, indicated by a single cross and the tin helmet of the fallen soldier.

ART03605.039

The last of two diggers

Depicts the bodies of two soldiers, their rifles with the bayonets driven into the ground, one with a tin helmet atop, in memoriam for fallen soldiers.

ART03605.039.001

Scrapbook leaf with one sketch recto and two sketches verso

Scrapbook leaf with one sketch recto and two sketches verso.

ART03605.040

Not titled [Four-poster bed]

Sketch of a single four-poster bed.

ART03605.040.003

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto and verso

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto and verso.

ART03605.041

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches and inscription recto, and one verso

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches recto and one verso.

ART03605.042

Not titled [Soldier on a bicycle]

A rear view of a soldier riding a bicylce, carrying a cross on his back.

ART03605.042.002

Shell-shocked trees

Depicts a war-ravaged landscape on the Warfusee Abancourt Road near Villers-Bretonneux, an area which during April and the several months following was the scene of much bloodshed and fighting.

ART03605.042.003

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto and verso

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto and verso.

ART03605.043

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches recto, and one verso with inscription

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches recto, and one verso with inscription.

ART03605.044

M Clemenceau

Portrait study in profile of M. Clemenceau.

ART03605.044.001

An anti-aircraft Lewis gun and a runner; verso: Ladies Day on the Somme

recto: An anti-aircraft Lewis gun and a runner; verso: Ladies Day on the Somme

ART03605.044.002

Loading up supply tanks

Depicts soldiers loading supply tanks. Inscription associated with this sketch: "Loading up supply tanks for attack of 8 August. These carried ammunition, wire, supplies etc and were in position in the Bois l'Abbe; and on the evening of 7 August were all destroyed by evening shellfire. All the...

ART03605.044.003

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches recto, and one verso with inscription

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches recto and verso.

ART03605.045

Canvas town, near Blangy Tronville

Depicts a camp of rough building structures made mostly of canvas, as indicated in the artist's title 'Canvas Town'

ART03605.045.001

Amiens cathedral; verso: Not titled [Landscape]

recto: View of Amiens cathedral from across fields, with a row of haystacks in the foreground; verso: Not titled [Landscape]

ART03605.045.002

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches recto and verso

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches recto and verso.

ART03605.046

Bomb banks

Depicts bomb banks that were built up to protect the horses from aeroplane bombs. Situated in Blangy Tronville, a town on the banks of the Somme, east of Amiens.

ART03605.046.001

Road mined at La Neiville

Depicts a stately entrance, its gates open and a soldier standing guard to one side. A sign on the stone column reads: "Road Mined. Interference strictly forbidden".

ART03605.046.002

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches recto and verso

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches recto and verso.

ART03605.047

Sketch from 6th Battery O.P.

Reconnaissance sketch from the 6th Battery Observation Post.

ART03605.047.001

Welcome Wood

Depicts a wood on a hilltop with a bomb-damaged building structure in front.

ART03605.047.002

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches recto and verso

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches recto and verso (fold-out).

ART03605.048

An anti-tank gun

Sketch of an anti-tank gun. Benson sketch depicts "A six pdr Hotchkiss salvaged from a British Tank mounted on a [illeg.] sleeper and French farm waggon[sic] wheel, so that it could be hooked on to a timber waggon[sic] and travelled - mountings designed and manufactured by the 7 & 8th French Mortar...

ART03605.048.001

S. of Cherisy

Expansive landscape sketch depicting troops marching through the fields. Four anti-tanks guns can be seen in the valley below as the soldiers make their way up the hillside.

ART03605.048.002

Scrapbook leaf with three sketches

Scrapbook leaf with three sketches, two recto and one verso. Recto: depicts tanks about to be sent into action on 18 September (year not indicated) with another small sketch of wagon wheels beside which a soldier stands indicating their scale; verso: 'The Somme Valley'.

ART03605.050

Not titled [Wagon wheels]

Small sketch of wagon wheels beside which a soldier stands indicating their scale.

ART03605.050.002

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto and verso

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto and verso. Recto: depicts a house bearing no scars of the war, entitled 'Dolls House'; verso: a war-damaged house.

ART03605.051

Doll's House, Villers Bretonneux

Depicts a French farmhouse, near Villers Betonneux. Its quaint roof and window seem to have been the inspiration for the title 'Doll's House'. There is some sign of war damage.

ART03605.051.001

not titled [bomb-damaged building]

Depicts a war-damaged house, its roof almost completely collapsed.

ART03605.051.002

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto and verso

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto and verso. Recto: depicts a Regimental Aid Post; verso: a deserted gun fit.

ART03605.052

Scrapbook leaf with three sketches recto, and one verso

Scrapbook leaf with three sketches recto and one verso.

ART03605.053

Wounded Boche

Depicts a wounded German soldier, sitting beside a fallen comrade, lying on his side, possibly dead.

ART03605.053.001

Plane down

Depicts a grounded plane with some figures standing a little distance away from it. While only a sketchy outline, the plane seems intact and does not exhibit any indication of a crash landing.

ART03605.053.002

The Roisel Road

Depicts troops walking along the Roisel Road. A horse lays dead on the side of the road. Bomb blasts can seen in the not too distant sky. A tank and anti-tank gun can also be deciphered in the war-ravaged landscape.

ART03605.053.003

In the Hindenberg - out past line

Depicts troops at a anti-gun post, a Lewis gun un-maned, in a moment of inaction as bomb blasts can be seen in the distance.

ART03605.053.004

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto and verso

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto and verso.

ART03605.054

Stretcher bearers

Depicts a team of four stretcher bearers carrying a wounded soldier at shoulder height, returning from the the Hindenberg outpost line of attack.

ART03605.054.001

Not titled [Transport truck on a village road]

Depicts a transport truck on the side of a village road.

ART03605.054.002

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto and verso

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches, recto and verso. Recto depicts French peasantry with with an extended inscription; verso: a watercolour scene of parked wagons.

ART03605.055

Busigny

Benson describes the scene in this sketch: "These old French peasantry had been living under German rule all through the war and had prctically starved towards the end. This sketch show some of our diggers who had gone to the fields ... They were just in the process of going into the cellar."

ART03605.055.001

Wagons parked at Busigny after Armistice

Depicts wagons parked at Busigny after Armistice.

ART03605.055.002

Scrapbook leaf with a sketch of a dead soldier entitled 'Finis'

Scrapbook leaf with a sketch of a dead soldier entitled 'Finis', dated August 1918.

ART03605.056

Training in the desert, Mena

After the men of the 1st Division, AIF, landed in Egypt in December 1914 they were given a period of training around Mena to prepare them for active service. The desert training was exceptionally intense and occupied at least eight hours each day except Sundays. In every depression around the...

ART03607

Horse Picquet, Mena 1914

Depicts a soldier with a group of horses, standing in a line, feeding from nose bags, in Egypt during the First World War. George Benson (1886- 1960) studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne, from 1903 to 1904 and worked with the poster designer, Harry J Weston. He was subsequently engaged...

ART03608

Shell green, Gallipoli

Depicts a landscape, with the beach and sea with a number of soldiers standing and walking along the cliffs, carrying provisions and water containers, near Gallipoli in Turkey. George Courtney Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and muralist. He studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne from...

ART00136

Samothrace from Anzac, 1915

Depicts a view of the landscape and sea looking towards Samothrace from Anzac in Turkey, 1915, with several naval ships sailing through the water. George Courtney Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and muralist. He studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne from 1903 and later worked for the...

ART00139

The man with the donkey, Anzac 1915

Arguably Australia's most famous soldier, 'Simpson' was neither a general nor a Victoria Cross recipient, but a stretcher bearer who served briefly in the nation's first major campaign. The painting depicts this essential ANZAC story of Simpson assisting a wounded man, who is being carried on a...

ART00143

Anzac looking south

Depicts a panoramic view of the battlefield and general view of Anzac area at Gallipoli , looking north. Benson did reconnaissance sketches for the First Division on the Gallipoli Peninsula from April to September 1915 and this work may have been based on these sketches. It was one of a number of...

ART00144

HMS Albion aground off Gaba Tepe, May 1915

Depicts the ship, HMS Albion, viewed from the coastline, aground off Gaba Tepe, Turkey, in May 1915. George Courtney Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and muralist. He studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne from 1903 and later worked for the 'Bulletin' in Sydney, then as an illustrator...

ART00145

Sketchbook containing 56 pages of drawings from his service during the First World War

Artist's scrapbook comprising 56 pages with 143 drawings and watercolours from sketchbooks attached to leaves of the scrapbook with notes. The works describe the artist's travels from Australia to Egypt, Turkey, the Mediterranean, Belgium and France as a soldier and official war artist. The book...

ART03605

Sugar mill, Carthigny

Depicts the war damaged remains of a sugar mill at Cartigny, in France, during the First World War. George Courtney Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and muralist. He studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne from 1903 and later worked for the 'Bulletin' in Sydney, then as an illustrator and...

ART00141

Sketch for Walking wounded

Depicts the ' walking wounded'; two pairs of soldiers, one assisting the other, walking out of mist or smoke haze in the background during the First World War. The soldier in foreground, wearing a tin helmet, has a bandaged arm and lower face. George Courtney Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and...

ART03593

Guns going forward

Depicts Australian Artillery units on the battlefield, with two teams of six horses, drawing half limber and 18 pounder guns across the landscape , passing by shell holes while more shells explode in the background. George Courtney Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and muralist. He studied at the...

ART03595

Mont Kemmel from near Hill 60

Depicts a landscape, with two soldiers in the foreground, at Hill 60, one seated, one standing, trees in a field in the middle ground and Mount Kemmel, Ypres Area, Western Front, during the First World War. Kemmel Ridge was a key feature on the French-Belgium border that came under attack during...

ART03597

Australian Corps Headquarters

Depicts a detailed sketch of a series of buildings , in the French countryside, which served as the Australian Corps Headquarters, during the First World War. George Benson (1886- 1960) studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne, from 1903 to 1904 and worked with the poster designer, Harry J...

ART03601

The Cloth Hall at Ypres

Sketchbook leaf attached to scrapbook depicting a black ink and sepia watercolour sketch of the shell damaged Cloth Hall and St Martin's Cathedral. The surrounding landscape is barren, evidence to the fierce fighting in which Ypres was involved. Ypres was the scene of almost constant fighting...

ART03605.026

Not titled [Landscape, near Vierstraat]

Double leaf landscape sketch torn from another sketchbook. Depicts the Ypres Sector at 4pm. Benson indicates that the view is from the right of the village Vierstraat. Benson notes that "A [sketch of] the Ypres Sector. At 4pm oll the guns concentrated their fire on Bois Garante and kept the...

ART03605.029.001

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches and inscriptions

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches and inscriptions, one being a fold-out reconnaissance sketch entitled 'Panorama from Mt Kemmel, June 1-3rd'.

ART03605.037

The village of Kemmel

View of the village of Kemmel from a hillside. Kemmel Ridge was a key feature on the French-Belgium border that came under attack during the German Army's Lys offensive of April 1918. British and dominion forces held the ridge against a series of German assaults between 17 and 19 April 1918. The...

ART03605.037.001

Panorama of Mt Kemmel

Panorama of Mt Kemmel, mapping out geographical reference points such as Dickiebush Lake, Ypres, Kemmel Road, Wytschaete Ridge, the road to Messines, Messines Ridge and Lille. Kemmel Ridge was a key feature on the French-Belgium border that came under attack during the German Army's Lys offensive...

ART03605.037.002

Scrapbook leaf with a watercolour sketch of a sugar mill

Scrapbook leaf with a watercolour sketch of the bomb damaged sugar mill in Cartigny, France.

ART03605.049

Messines 1917

Depicts a group of Australian soldiers moving across a war damaged battlefield, while aeroplanes fly overhead, shell bursts and explosions occur on the horizon and tanks move across the landscape. The scene relates to the battle of Messines in France during the First World War. George Benson (1886-...

ART03611

Infantryman

Depicts an Australian Infantryman in uniform, smoking a pipe and holding a rifle with bayonet, leaning against a wooden wall in a trench during the First World War. Further along the trench, in the background, is another Infantryman, in shadow. George Benson (1886- 1960) studied at the National...

ART19990

Lewis gunner

Depicts a gunner in profile taking aim as he prepares to fire a Lewis gun positioned on an anti-aircraft mount, whilst another soldier watches from the side of the gun pit. The soldiers are surrounded by the debris of destroyed buildings and a thick haze of smoke rising from the ruins. George...

ART19991

[Gunner]

Depicts a member of the 1st Australian Imperial Force, an unidentified gunner, wearing a slouch hat, trousers and leggings with a bare torso. He stands near the trail of an 18 pounder gun and holds a shell, wtih another 18 pounder and crew in the background of the scene. George Benson (1886- 1960)...

ART19992

Stretcher bearers

Depicts several soldiers in uniform, some wearing tin helmets, and stretcher bearers carrying an injured soldier through a war damaged landscape with trenches in a First World War battlefield. George Benson (1886- 1960) studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne, from 1903 to 1904 and worked...

ART92170

Scrapbook leaf with three sketches and inscriptions; verso: extended inscription

Scrapbook leaf with three sketches and inscriptions; verso: extended inscription.

ART03605.016

Burying the meat, Shell Green

A pencil sketch of two soldiers dragging a dead body by his feet across Shell Green, Gallipoli. Shell Green was the only flat ground within the Anzac enclave, but it was under direct observation from the Turkish higher positions. It became the site of two cemeteries during the campaign, which were...

ART03605.014.004

Not titled [Landscape]

A fold-out panoramic landscape sketch, depicting fields seemingly untouched by the war. Inscription associated with this sketch reads: "What the Germans [surrendered] - for just a little while in 1915 - This is a view from the spot where the Hun dug in on Hill 109 outside Villers-Bretonneux. From...

ART03605.042.001

The Albert-Amiens Road

Depicts troops of the 7th Medium Trench Mortar Battery, one mounted, on the side of the Albert-Amiens Road. Supply wagons line the opposite side of the road. A road sign warns "Drive slow to avoid raising dust".

ART03605.038.002

Not titled [Reconnaissance sketch]

Reconnaissance sketch delineating Le Barque, Ligny-Thilloy, Gueudecourt and Beaulencourt in relation to Lark Hill and Needle Trench.The villages of Le Barque and Thilloy were fortifications part of a German reserve line, and were used by the Germans as a delying position during the retreat to the...

ART03605.033.001

Dummy Tanks

Depicts troops preparing dummy tanks before going into action on 18 September 1918. Dummy tanks were used as a decoy by both sides to destract the other and divert fire away from held positions. A similar sketch describes the use of light timber and hessian, with old stovepipes for the guns.

ART03605.050.001

The drover

Depicts a group of German prisoners being escorted by an Australian soldier on horseback on the Somme battlefield, walking past a windmill on their way to prisoner of war camp in France. This painting was one of several large compositions commissioned by the Australian government after the First...

ART00142

Unloading 18-Pounder ammunition at night

Depicts soldiers from the 1st Battery, Australian Field Artillery, 41st battery AFA unloading shells for an 18 pounder gun from a limber, pulled by horses, at night, during the First World War. George Courtney Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and muralist. He studied at the National Gallery School,...

ART00132

Somme - March 1917

Watercolour sketch from artist's sketchbook attached to scrapbook leaf, depicting the Somme battlefields, near Delville Wood. In the foreground is a large shell casing. A cross in the centre of the sketch marks out a grave plot in the undulating, war-ravaged terrain. War damaged and shell blasted...

ART03605.032

[St Bertaire], Ypres; verso: Fricourt - Somme

Double leaf with watercolour drawings recto and verso attached to scrapbook leaf. Recto: depicts a bomb-damaged church in Ypres. Verso: Fricourt - Somme, depicting a landscape sketch of the Fricourt commune in the Somme region. Benson describes the scene: "An early morning sketch [of] Fricourt. The...

ART03605.025.001

4th Division on their way to the Somme November 1916

Depicts Australian soldiers and horses carrying ammunition carts through the snow, on their way to the Somme in late Autumn, 1916. On the right edge of the painting is the remains of a wood; inside the wood is a crucifix, with the figure of Christ. George Benson (1886- 1960) studied at the National...

ART00140

Noreuil Valley, morning of attack on Bullecourt, May 1917

Depicts the Noreuil Valley, Western Front, France, during the First World War with soldiers, war damage, horses and ambulance wagons. George Benson (1886- 1960) studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne, from 1903 to 1904 and worked with the poster designer, Harry J Weston. He was...

ART03600

A 'Stonkered' Barn, Somme

Depicts a ruined barn with a heavy gabled roof and a hay waggon in front of it, in a landscape in France during the First World War. George Benson (1886- 1960) studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne, from 1903 to 1904 and worked with the poster designer, Harry J Weston. He was...

ART03610

Gueudecourt from quarry

Depicts a bleak landscape around Gueudecourt from the quarry.

ART03605.033.002

Welcome Wood near Vaux-Somme

Depicts a barren landscape at Welcome Wood, near Vaux-Somme, in France during the First World War. Vaux is near Suzanne in the Corbie Albert Area on the Somme.

ART03594

Regimental Aid Post, Villers Bretonneux

Depicts three Australian soldiers in a trench, carrying boxes and supplies, heading towards a Regimental Aid Post near Villers Bretonneux in France, during the First World War. George Benson (1886- 1960) studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne, from 1903 to 1904 and worked with the...

ART03609

4th Division Engineers making Dummy Tanks, Le Catelet

Depicts a group of soldiers constructing a dummy tank , made of timber and hessian, under the shade of trees at Le Catelet in France during the First World War. George Benson (1886- 1960) studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne, from 1903 to 1904 and worked with the poster designer, Harry...

ART03603

Deserted gun fit, near Villers Bretonneux

Depicts a deserted gun fit, near Villers Bretonneux.

ART03605.052.002

Sketch from Stormy Trench

Panoramic, reconnaissance sketch of Bapaume on the Western Front from Stormy Trench, near Gueudecourt, Northern France. Clusters of trees appear on the hills in the background. Benson recounts the reconnaissance from which this drawing came: "Went with Major Pybus of the 43rd and Colonel Waite to...

ART03605.031.002

Distribution of rations at a 39th battery FA position, Vaire-sur-Somme

Depicts a standing soldier and other soldiers unloading supplies and rations from a wagon, pulled by a horse, on the Somme. A Nissen hut is visible in the background on a ridge. George Courtney Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and muralist. He studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne from...

ART00131

A whiz bang

Depicts an abandoned Whiz Bang, so called for its extremely high velocity. The spokes in the wheels of the carriage have been removed by Australian solders for firewood.

ART03605.033.003

Corbie church

Sketch of the bomb-damaged Corbie church. Corbie is situated near the Somme battlefield and was the stage for the third battle for the Somme.

ART03605.040.002

A Linesman

Depicts a linesman balancing precariously on the scaffolding structure atop a roof, erecting communication lines. On the wall of the building below him is a sign that reads 'Lorries'.

ART03605.043.002

The lonely soldier

Depicts a lone grave in a landscape near Harbonnieres, indicated only by a single cross and the tin helmet of the fallen soldier lain over the grave.

ART03605.039.002

Corbie from above, 12th Infantry Brigade HQ

Depicts a view of the landscape, river and buildings near Corbie, France, during the First World War. George Courtney Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and muralist. He studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne from 1903 and later worked for the 'Bulletin' in Sydney, then as an illustrator...

ART03596

Looking from the [illeg.] line to Corbie

Depicts a reconnaissance sketch of a line of defence to Corbie. Corbie is situated near the Somme battlefield and was the stage for the third battle for the Somme.

ART03605.041.001

The Somme Valley, near Corbie

Depicts the Somme Valley, the village of Corbie is visible in the middle distance and a small hut which is tucked behind the hillside above the village. Benson indicates that "[The] 12th Light Brigade Headquarters were in the small shooting box, June 1918".

ART03605.050.003

Chinese Labour Corps

Depicts a double row of Chinese laborers walking through a street in the French village of Coisy. A soldier stands in front of the Chinese men. George Courtney Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and muralist. He studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne from 1903 and later worked for the...

ART00135

The ration limber: a Somme winter sketch

Depicts a soldiers trudging through the mud on the Somme, during winter. George Benson (1886- 1960) studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne, from 1903 to 1904 and worked with the poster designer, Harry J Weston. He was subsequently engaged in cartoon work and verse illustrations for...

ART03599

Our little bud

Depicts a soldier standing in the snow wearing a mishmash of winter clothing, his rifle held up over his left shoulder. His cheeks and the tip of his nose are both rosy red from the cold. He looks out of the corners of his eyes with a half-smile.

ART03605.031.003

Bapaume from stormy trench, March 1917

Depicts a panoramic, topographical view of Bapaume, on the Western Front, from Stormy Trench. Clusters of trees appear on the hills in the background and a grave marker is visible in the foreground centre. George Courtney Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and muralist. He studied at the National...

ART00133

The Road to Flers

Depicts the war-ravaged landscape of the road to Flers in the Somme region. In the centre is a transport vehicle submerged in the muddy terrain. While off to the centre left are two abandoned wagon wheels. Barren, war damaged trees scattered across the horizon further emphasise this ravaged...

ART03605.031.001

Scrapbook leaf with one sketch recto and two verso

Scrapbook leaf with one sketch recto and two verso.

ART03605.033

Scrapbook leaf with three watercolour sketches

recto: Double page sketchbook leaf with watercolours recto and verso; verso: Sketch of Albert Church.

ART03605.025

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches and inscriptions

Scrapbook leaf with two sketches and inscriptions.

ART03605.035

Delville Wood

Left leaf of a double page sketch, depicting Delville Wood ravaged by the war. Barren, war damaged trees, muddy, undulating terrain littered with the refuse of war. In the foreground, the butt of a rifle sticks out of the ground and a wheel disengaged from a vehicle is wedged in the earth. Situated...

ART03605.034.003

Market square, Corbie

Depicts bomb-damaged buildings in the market square of the village of Corbie. In the centre is a scaffolding structure.

ART03605.043.001

[Prisoners marching]

Scrapbook leaf with a watercolour on artist's paper, depicting German prisoners marching from the Somme through the Reninghelst. Benson notes that Lieutenant W. Coleman of the 4th Light Horse is in charge. One soldier's Red Cross arm band is visible, as he walks alongside another soldier with a...

ART03605.027

A ten-minute sketch of Albert Church

Depicts a 10-minute sketch of Albert Church. Benson recounts: "This place cost 7,000,000 francs and was just complete when the war started. The design was awful - the war certainly did some good." Albert Basilica is situated in the centre of the town. The Golden Virgin holding aloft her child on...

ART03605.025.002

6 inch Howizer, La Neuville

Depicts a camouflage tent with a soldier standing guard outside, behind which is a small house surrounded by tall trees.

ART03605.041.002

Delville Wood

Right leaf of a double page sketch of Delville Wood, depicted here ravaged by the war. Situated in the Somme region, it is adjacent to the small village of Longueval and was the scene of intense fighting during the First World War, particularly during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Benson notes...

ART03605.035.001

43rd Battery position at Ecoust, St Mein, France, under shellfire, April 1917

Depicts the 43rd battery position at Ecoust, France, being shelled in April 1917. George Courtney Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and muralist. He studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne from 1903 and later worked for the 'Bulletin' in Sydney, then as an illustrator and cartoonist for...

ART00138

On the road to Flers, February 1917

Depicts a war damaged landscape with the remains of a tank on the left near Flers on the Western Front in 1917. George Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and muralist who studied at the National Gallery School in Melbourne in 1903. He worked as an illustrator for the 'Bulletin' in Sydney and then as...

ART00134

Red Chateau Villers Bretonneux

Depicts an 18th or 19th century chateau near Villers Bretonneux in France during the First World War. George Courtney Benson (1886-1960) was a painter and muralist. He studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne from 1903 and later worked for the 'Bulletin' in Sydney, then as an illustrator...

ART03602

Diggers bathing in the Somme

Depicts naked diggers on the edge of a river about to bath. One sits to the rear of the group, still wearing his helmet as though keeping watch for signs of the enemy.

ART03605.040.001

RAP, Villers Bretonneux

Depicts a Regimental Aid Post, Villers Bretonneux, constructed within a trench. The back of a soldier can be seen carrying the end of a stretcher, disappearing into an opening in the side of the trench. Another soldier sits up against the trench wall, while a third appears from around the bend. all...

ART03605.052.001

Photograph

P01705.001

HAWTHORN, VIC, C. 1941. STUDIO PORTRAIT OF LIEUTENANT (LT) GEORGE COURTNEY BENSON (1886-1960) IN MILITARY UNIFORM. AN OFFICIAL WAR ARTIST DURING WW1, LT BENSON JOINED THE CITIZEN MILITARY FORCES (CMF) IN 1940 AND WORKED FROM THEN UNTIL 1943 IN PAINTING CAMOUFLAGE. (DONOR: V. SPEEDY)

P01705.001

P10689.009.003

Informal portrait of Lieutenant George Benson, official artist with the 4th Division, working on a sketch at Bussy le Dours. Part of an album recording the wartime service of Lieutenant Harry Downes MC MM, 48th Battalion.

P10689.009.003

Private Record

Benson, George Courtney (Corporal : 2180 : b. 1886 d. 1960)

Illustrated letter written by war artist 2180 Cpl George Courtney Benson, to his nephew and nieces. The letter dispenses advice to his young relatives, accompanied by amusing illustrations. Maker: Benson, George Courtney

PR06111

Benson, George Courtney (Corporal, 3rd FAB AIF b: 1886 d: 1960)

Collection relating to the First World War service of 2180 Corporal George Courtney Benson, 3rd Field Artillery Brigade, Gallipoli. Collection consists of letters written to his friends describing daily life on the peninsula, including brief illustrations. Cpl Benson was later appointed an an... Maker:

PR88/177 (With records)

Published Collection

The Australians in Egypt - (no. 4) A Retreat from Cairo

Cartoon of an Australian soldier running from several Cairo locals trying to sell him products, such as cigarettes and papers and shine his shoes or rent him a donkey.

RC01895

Digitised Collection

Letter and envelope from George Courtney Benson, 6 July 1915

Letter and envelope relating to the First World War service of 2180 Corporal George Courtney Benson, 3rd Field Artillery Brigade. This letter was written at Gallipoli in July 1915. Benson writes of his hopes the war would soon be over, and laments the difficulty in obtaining suitable paper for...

RCDIG0000297

Timeline

Date of birth 1886-02-04
Date of embarkation 1914-09-17
Date of recommendation honour or award 1915-07-03
Date of death 1960-12-12