Somme Survivors WW1 Mural

Term: 1 Year: 2016

In commemoration of the 100 years since the outbreak of WWI, sculptor Adrian Ward has created an impressive mural that captures a moment in time, at the Somme Battlefield in France.

Adrian worked with the Students at Roberts McCubbin Primary School during Terms 2 and 3 2015.

“I used actual photos from the trenches, graciously supplied by Brian Tatson from the Box Hill RSL memorial department.” says Adrian, “One of the photos is from a captured German trench, which I then used in the mural. From the photo I incorporated the heavy wooden bridge, and positioned on top, an allied tank.”

Adrian explains how the soldiers must have felt seeing a tank for the first time. “Mechanical machines had only been around for 16 years or so, the soldiers must have been shocked to see the destruction they had volunteered for.”

“Under such pressure the soldiers must have had to rely on each other to survive physically and psychologically. I have endeavoured to depict this in my portrait of this time in history which was the start of the age of machines.” says Adrian.

Through his use of perspective Ward has shown the soldiers in the distance trekking their way through the trenches. As they make their way to the front of the mural they begin to reach safety. The artist has created this effect using a scale perspective where the figures start at 100mm high and finish with the central character, who is life size.
For this life size central character, the artist has used a real army jacket which he transformed into a cement version of itself. “Transforming items of clothing into cement is also part of an exhibition of my artwork that I am working towards. Most of the other artworks in the exhibition are cast in gold and silver bullion. ” says the artist.

While busy creating the artwork, the Grade 6 students from Roberts McCubbin Primary School made regular visits to Adrian’s studio, just a 10 minute walk from the school. Students were engaged in watching the development of the ideas, making the artwork and the final product. The students contributed to the mural by adding a handmade frame of ceramic poppy tiles. The first version of the mural with the poppy tiles can be seen in the War Memorial Garden at Roberts McCubbin Primary School.

Interest in the mural has gathered momentum, leading to the possibility of the artwork to be cast in bronze.

“Over the last five months creating the mural, I felt I was going back in time every time I went into my studio to work. If I have been able to transport people’s minds back in time, I hope I have succeeded in communicating the spirit of mateship the diggers had for each other and the battle that was just beginning for soldiers returning home.” says Adrian.

To view Adrian Ward’s artworks:


Supporting teachers in creative education
Workshop Booking is reserved for 10mins.