Trench arts trea­sured

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Aaron Cor­lett

AMONG the quirky items around Bill Gleeson’s South Perth hair­dresser, there are two pieces of art that he con­sid­ers the most im­por­tant.

A small of­fi­cer’s hat made of brass and a statue of a Sun­der­land bomber passed on to him by his grand­fa­ther and fa­ther hold a lot of mean­ing for him.

The two items are ex­am­ples of trench art, which is art­work made by sol­diers, pris­on­ers of war or civil­ians that has a link to armed con­flicts.

His grand­fa­ther Ge­orge served in World War I as a gun­ner in France, while his fa­ther Bill served with the Royal Aus­tralian Air Force at var­i­ous WA bases in World War II.

“There is a mis­con­cep­tion that trench art is made in trenches but of course they wouldn’t have had the equip­ment, so it was usu­ally made in work­shops,” Mr Gleeson said.

“They were of­ten made by sol­diers to send back to loved ones, or wives, or traded for tobacco, al­co­hol or food.”

Mr Gleeson said he hoped peo­ple used Re­mem­brance Day to think about the sac­ri­fices of those who fought for the na­tion.

“I hope peo­ple are si­lent for that minute and re­mem­ber peo­ple who en­dured ter­ri­ble sit­u­a­tions dur­ing war,” he said.

“When my grand­fa­ther served as a gun­ner it must have been very tough to fight in the trenches.

“He never spoke much about it, al­though he showed me his army trunk which had his mem­o­ra­bilia, sword and bay­o­net.”

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