Soldiers Hauling a Howitzer

Illustration © The Estate of John David Roberts. Reproduced with the permission of the William Roberts Society. Catalogue information based on the catalogue raisonné by David Cleall. For this and full details of the exhibitions cited, see the links below. Any auction prices quoted may not include all fees and taxes, such as VAT and Artist's Resale Right charges.

Soldiers Hauling a Howitzer

Soldiers Hauling a Howitzer, 1917, signed and dated
Ink and watercolour, 16.6 cm x 33.5 cm

'When the Germans had been forced to fall back, they had abandoned some of their field guns which now stood isolated in no-man's land. The commanders of the 51st Brigade batteries arranged among themselves to try and salvage these guns. D. Battery's task – and it was rumoured that our major had chosen the hardest – was to bring in two field howitzers that had been left a short distance beyond our front lines. On the night fixed for the undertaking, our salvage party having been given a double tot of rum, then set off with two six-horse teams, to do the job. The horses were left behind our own line while we crept out. Fortunately there was no barbed wire to tangle with and we endeavoured to free the gun wheels embedded in the hard earth. Without arousing any hostile activity from the opposite trenches, we manhandled the two howitzers to where we had left the horses' – Roberts, Memories of the War to End War 1914–18.
PROVENANCE: Samantha Frank
EXHIBITION HISTORY: Newcastle 2004, Madrid 2008, Osborne Samuel 2014

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