Antoine van Overbeek, Visual Artwork
Scholars at an event to mark the centenary of the Battle of Pozieres (23rd July, 1916), held at the Australian Division memorial at the Pozieres Ridge, Battle of the Somme, France.
Image source: PAMS photo collection 2016
A 15yr old boy was selected to tour the western front with a historian and 23 other student from around N.S.W Australia, the young students feel so blessed to be give the opportunity of a life time. The chance to walk where our ANZAC soldiers defended our way of life and helped our allies keep the enemy out. When I was selected to be a scholar I felt excited to visit the land mark my ancestors fought and died at, not realising the emotion that would come upon me when I visited the sites and had the history explained to me. You can read about war in a book and not have a great appreciation of the soldiers that fought. When I think about the time it took for me to fly from Sydney to Paris, 20hr air time and 6hr spent in airports waiting, these times are insignificant compared to what the soldiers would have experienced on the long journey to the unknown battle fields. You can only image the emotional roller coaster the soldiers where on. Excitement for the trip of a live time overseas as it was advertised, the anticipation, pride and honour felt while in transit to the battle field. Then adrenalin rushing and pulsing through their bodies as they approached land. This suddenly turns to fear as they see their comrade’s fall in front of them, praying to their Gods to help them through this war, worrying about seeing their families again. Then those who made it having survival guilt and night terrors turning to the bottle to find peace. These are only thing I could imagine our soldiers went though as I visit the sites where they fought and listen to the words our historian Brad spoke at each site. The description Brad gave of fields being covered with blood and bodies from battles that took place opened my eyes to the reality of War and how important it is to remember those who served. Before I left Australia to embark on the journey of a life time, I took the opportunity to speak with the local Sub branch Member Don Durrington not having a full appreciation of what our soldiers endured in war, I asked Don if he had any request of me once I was in France, he said “can you look at the wording on the memorials and tell me what they say”. I laughed and through to myself what a strange request. Not forgetting my conversation with Don I looked at each memorial to find that there were a lot of different epitaphs on the head stones and memorials. Once I arrived home I started to think of ways to collate the information and memories from my western front experience.
The poppy being centre of the painting represents the remembrance for the soldiers who died and served in war and those who are still serving. The bricks represent the memorials for our soldiers. Inside each brick is an inscription of the wording I noticed on various head stone and memorials. I have also including a few of the wars that Australia has been involved in.