Sunday, December 30, 2012

57th Bn Unit Diary Artist enlivens the June 1918 edition

This illustrated cover of the 57th Infantry Battalion unit diary for June 1918 is signed by the artist - P Huthnance.  A check of the NAA catalogue of B2455 records reveals the probable artist to be Corporal Presley Benjamin Edward Huthnance, who described himself as a 40 year old farm labourer when he enlisted in March 1916.  Huthnance didn't arrive in France to join his unit until 16 June 1918, so the May drawing was done after he arrived.  Likewise the Brigade Sports day, some events from which he depicted, had occurred before he arrived.

The Sports day had a variety of  events that would interest both the athletes in the Battalion as well as the not-so-athletic.  If the men didn't want to run in the 440 or 100 yards races, they could participate in the pillow fight or bomb-throwing.  The illustration above shows the officers' horse-jumping event and probably the 100 yards race at the top.  Musketry was another form of competition.  A couple of days before the Sports Day, a special shelter-building event was held, and some of the shelters seem to be illlustrated here.  The winning shelter was completely made of grass.  On another day there was a competition for groups performing escort duty, and the illustration at the bottom of the page may be showing that.  Appendix 8 reveals that L/Cpl Patten, the hero of the hour on his Lewis gun the previous month, took out first place in the Lewis gun competition.

Two further extremely good illustrations follow in the July and August diaries.

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