I am a collector.
I have a unique collection of trench art marked with names and service numbers.
My book TRENCH ART - the stories behind the talismans was published in Australia on Remembrance Day 2015. The early chapters of the book are below, explaining how I came by the collection, who photographed it, and why I felt compelled to tell the stories.
57 pieces are from WW1, shown below. Most belonged to young men who were killed in action or died of their wounds - on the Somme, at Gallipoli, in Egypt and Palestine, and Mesopotamia. In the book, I have told their stories.
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The sketchbooks, diaries and other ephemera are not included in the book. They are part of an ongoing fascination with the subject - particularly the role of art therapy in trauma.
The talismans from WW1 are embellished with symbols of love, music, faith, honour and duty.
The sketchbooks from the battlefields show dugouts as safe havens, and the countryside as beautiful. The sand dunes and beaches near Etaples are serene and peaceful, the farm animals contented.
Both the talismans and the sketchbooks show that soldiers from both sides kept their sense of humanity, even in the midst of a most terrible war.