This 2 figure vignette of two Australian soldiers on the Western Front was inspired by a sketch entitled "Polygon Wood, Goodbye Cobber 1917" drawn and posted on the Great War Forum in 2009 by Soren Hawkes. Tony Dawe and I talked about the sketch and turning it into a figure vignette as an homage to Australian forces in WW1 and particularly to his Great Uncle Walter. In mid 2010, I was able to send it to Tony. Here's what he said about it:
"I've recently started painting this wonderful 120mm vignette sculpted by Omaha's own Dan Morton, which is based on a drawing by Soren Hawkes entitled "Journey's End/ Goodbye Cobber". I've base coated with Vallejo acrylics and will start shading and highlighting soon.
The scene depicts two Australian diggers of the 32nd Battalion, 5th Div AIF during the Battle of Polygon Wood in September 1917. One soldier lies on the muddy ground, shot through the chest and mortally wounded; his journey is almost over.
His cobber cradles him in his arms and gently strokes his forehead. Their last moments together are a tender, bittersweet farewell as brothers in arms. The battle has been won, but the price they have paid is too much for them to bear.
Just yesterday a ceremony was held at Fromelles in France to bury the remains of hundred of soldiers, many of them from the Australian 5th Division, who were slaughtered in the Battle of Fromelles in 1916, and only recently discovered.
In one 24 hour period at Fromelles, the Australian Imperial Force lost 5,533 men, most of them from the 5th Div. It was the worst day in Australia's military history. To put this in perspective, it was worse than all the casualties suffered by Australian forces during the Boer War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined.
My great uncle Walter served with the 32nd Battalion of the 5th Division AIF at Fromelles, Bullecourt, Polygon Wood and Messines. He is buried in the Messines Ridge Cemetry in Belgium. This vignette is dedicated to Walter and his cobbers in the 32nd."
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