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Wiltshire Community History

Wiltshire History Questions Search Results

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Question Date :

Tuesday 20th September 2005 10:03

Question:
I wish to find out about murals, painted by my father JOHN WILSON Phd ARCA, on the walls of the Pioneer Corps Officers' Mess (in Shepton Mallet?) around 1941. He was a Sergeant (1306336) in No3 Company AMPC at the time, later Captain, and based in Codford St Mary.

Answer:
I imagine that this was the Officers' Mess at Codford St. Mary but the only paintings that I know about there were done by the painter, book illustrator, and graphic designer, Rex Whistler. He arrived in Codford around 17th September 1941 and found the Mess somewhat uninspiring. He painted it as the inside of a Bedouin tent, striped red and white' and included the heads of officers in the style of Roman commanders. It could be that your father helped Rex with these. In 'The Laughter and the Urn: the life of Rex Whistler', by Laurence Whistler, there is the phrase, 'so he called in a painterly Guardsman, and for ten days eating was elsewhere.' Rex was killed in Normandy but he has many Wiltshire associations. All the wall paintings were lost, probably when the camps were demolished after the war.

The story of the paintings is told by Romy Wyeth in 'Warriors for the Working Day: Codford during two World Wars', Hobnob Press, 2002, 0 946418 12 8.

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