Earlier this year I posted a set of images taken of the ISDT 1961 in Wales painted by Gordon Horner 1916 – 2006, one of the last great staff artists employed by the Motor Magazines. As a result of discovering more about him I was able to acquire 1 of the 500 privately published books he made to record the artwork he made during his time in the Second World War where he was sent to the North Africa campaign where he was taken Prisoner of War, to be transported across the Med into Italy then on to Germany where he was finally held in a Prisoner of War Camp deliberately sited within the complex of several German Armament Factories including the development of the V1 and V2 rockets and finally bombed as the war ended. Even in the supposed safety of PoW status death stalked him as he saw escaping prisoners executed, or the danger of being bombed by Allied Airpower.
Each year in following the tradition set by motorcycle sport in the UK we stop to remember those who fell defending this country, many were not only keen motorcyclists before the war but also served as dispatch riders in the forces which left them very exposed to the work of snipers. This post is my tribute to those who gave both in totality or came back lesser than they were before the experience.
This post features some of 182 the images Gordon drew, mostly with charcoal, of the scenes he saw in his time which should remind us, as part of the generations of children born after the war, of our good luck to not have to survive the indictment of a world war as we think about Armistice Day. I think in particular about those who never returned and plans made that blew away like dust in the wind.
image – “For many gunners the slit trenches, scratched around their guns for cover from enemy fire, served also as their graves. Clephan told me how, at night, these dead were exhumed and given a deeper, descent burial. A rough wooden cross served to mark each grave for such time as the drifting sands of the desert might allow (Original Art by Gordon Horner 1915-2006)
The book follows his time in the Army in the North Africa Campaign where he was captured and then transfered to Italy then Germany. The following extract from the book covers the time of Gordon’s capture in the desert by Italian troops on the 29th May 1942.