Tuesday 12 November 2019

World war artwork to be preserved

The artwork dates back to the Second World War
The artwork dates back to the Second World War

A unique piece of Second World War art has been saved from destruction.

The mural - depicting a cartoon Gremlin flying an RAF aircraft - was discovered by contractors behind a fridge in a shop on the former site of RAF Warmwell, near Dorchester, Dorset.

It had been painted in 1942 by talented artist Sgt Sidney Beaumont, of 263 Squadron, who had been inspired by a similar motif, which adorned the nose of his Westland Whirlwind plane.

The fighter pilot painted the mural on a wall of a YMCA hostel, which later became the Tree Stores shop.

The site is now being cleared to make way for a new supermarket and holiday homes by developer Habitat First Group.

Experts were called in and employed the same methods used to preserve some of the renowned Banksy murals to safely mount the artwork.

Red Paxton, owner of Habitat First Group, said: "When we heard of the opportunity to help with the removal we jumped at the chance and are delighted we have managed to successfully remove, preserve and mount this fantastic historic artefact.

"Losing a piece of wartime history wasn't an option so we gladly volunteered to help.

"We are now very keen on discovering and restoring any other World War Two relics that might be found at Silverlake and will continue to work in conjunction with Crossways Parish Council to ensure anything else found is saved for future generations to remember and enjoy."

The mural is expected to be handed over to Crossways Parish Council for display.

An appeal has been launched to try and find Sgt Beaumont's family as no records have been found of his death.

PA Media

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