Southwater artist’s WWI works will help our heroes

Les White and paintings of First World War which he is to give to the British Legion. Pic Steve Robards SR1824771 SUS-180918-153905001
Les White and paintings of First World War which he is to give to the British Legion. Pic Steve Robards SR1824771 SUS-180918-153905001

Harrowing tales about life during the First World War have inspired artist Les White to help modern servicemen and women.

Les, 70, has devoted much of the past few years to creating five poignant paintings commemorating the Great War.

Now he plans to donate the artworks to the Royal British Legion to boost the charity’s fundraising.

Former police officer Les, who lives in Southwater, said that his grandfather had regaled him with tales of his time in the Army during the 1914-18 conflict.

“Ever since my grandfather died when I was in my early teens I have been fascinated with the Great War.

“Now I just thought I can’t give anything back to those guys but I can do the modern equivalent.”

The five commemorative paintings have taken Les years to complete.

They depict the horrors of trenchlife, the Great Retreat following the Battle of Mons in 1914, and the Battle of Paschendaele in 1917.

Another pen and ink work features the cathedral at Albert in The Somme in which Les has depicted the basilica’s tower made up of more than 95,600 dots - each one representing soldiers who lost their lives there.

Another work, depicting three dead soldiers, was inspired, says Les, by the Wilfred Owen poem The Parable Of The Old Man And The Young in which the poet talks of ‘the seed of Europe’ being ‘slain one by one.’

Les, a founder member of Southwater Art Club, says he has been ‘painting on and off’ for the past 60 years.

He began work as a technical illustrator before serving as a police officer for 28 years.

He is currently working on a painting which he plans to donate to a police charity.

Previous artworks have helped raise funds for the children’s charity Chestnut Tree House.