Weston Emmart was a GI in Patton’s Third Army. Far from harrowing, his sketches in the main are unexpectedly light-hearted, focusing on moments of humour, bathos and boredom. Particularly moving are his portrayals of what life was like for a young American suddenly finding himself stationed in unfamiliar British cities such as London and Liverpool.
1. Leaving home.
2. The heat of battle.
3. Having one’s wounds tended.
4. Enduring the terrible provisions.
5. Taking a tumble.
6. Strenuous physical labour.
7. The pitfalls of close-quarter living.
8. Unexpected obstacles.
9. The joy of downtime.
10. Feeling homesick while out at sea.
“Every evening at sunset I would stand at the rail looking west and think of you all at home. I guess I was a little homesick.”
11. Everyday irritations on board.
13. Adjusting to English culture.
14. London traffic.
15. Arriving in Liverpool in the middle of a blackout.
“It felt good to get off the crowded ship. We disembarked at night in the middle of a blackout in Liverpool. We left for camp immediately.”
16. The English climate.
17. Crossing the Saar river.
This is in Saarbrucken, on the French/German border. These next two paintings were done from memory, a year after the end of the war.
18. Defending the Maginot Line.
Note that shocking detail in the final paragraph.
19. And the excitement of coming home.
Postscript: Emmart survived the war, and went into advertising, becoming one of the original Mad Men in the ’60s. He worked for Ogilvy & Mather for 35 years, and died earlier this year, at the age of 90. His grandson Alex tells BuzzFeed: “He never stopped creating art, [he was] always working on something up until his passing. He has been such an artistic inspiration to us for many years.”
All photos by Alex Emmart. View loads more via the full imgur gallery.