Communication

Communication

The Allies Entering Jerusalem, 11th December 1917 by James McBey. © IWM (Art.IWM ART 2599)
People affected by the war documented their experiences in letters and postcards to and from the front, diaries and artworks.

The First World War impacted on the lives of people throughout the region. From soldiers leaving Aberdeenshire to fight in far flung realms, women left to keep society working and medical staff facing untold numbers of casualties. As it did around the country, the war brought massive, rapid change to life in the North East.

People affected by the war documented their experiences in letters and postcards to and from the front, diaries and artworks.

One high profile chronicler of the war was Aberdeen born artist James McBey. In 1917 he was employed by the Army as the official artist for the war in the Middle East. During this period he worked in both watercolours and oils. McBey painted Allied commanders, notable figures like T E Lawrence and documented significant events such as the Allies entering Jerusalem in December 1917. His wartime work evokes the heat and estranged nature of this remote part of the war.

A postcard written by a Gordon Highlander while a prisoner of war at Denain illustrated the hardships:

Kindly ask Elsie and Maggie to help you make up a parcel. Any kind of tinned meat, mealy puddings, oatcakes, chocolate, cheese, writing pad, soap, hankies, all are sorely needed. Take card over to 139 and show them, for you will all understand how much we now depend on the dear folks at home. Don’t forget the cigs Mary, as we can’t get a smoke. Willie Collie will give you a box to send. Hope you are all well.

The postcard was never sent and was found and kept by fellow prisoner of war and Gordon Highlander.