Pride in Service
Acrylic on linen
80 x 80cm
‘Pride in Service’ depicts my grandfather, Charles Leslie Webster (Les), a Light Horseman who served in World War I (left) in the Middle East and a comrade. The work is based on an old faded photograph where the two young soldiers are posed in front of a backdrop which ironically depicted a desert encampment. I knew my grandfather as an old man who died aged 69 in 1965 when I was in primary school. I didn’t get the chance to have an adult conversation with him about his war experiences but I do know that he was wounded and suffered throughout his life as a consequence.
I wanted to capture the vulnerability evident in his gaze. He and his friend were young and proud but I believe fully aware of what war means to those who serve. I believe that friendships with other soldiers sustained my grandfather throughout his war years and helped him survive. Les returned from the war, married and had five sons, three of whom served in the Second Australian Imperial Force in World War II. The family is very proud of their service and sacrifice.