MT LAWLEY author Tom Goode is on the hunt for a rare piece of trench art he glimpsed at his recent book launch.
Last Saturday he launched The Cold Footed Mob about Australian railway units on the front lines during World War I.
At the launch a woman briefly dropped by with two brass candlesticks from the 5th Australian Broad Gauge Operating Company. “They were made from what looked like one-inch shells,” says Goode.
But like a Great War Cinderella the woman was gone before the author had a good chance to talk to her. He hopes she read about the launch in the Voice and might see a followup.
“What we’d dearly like to do is get hold of them for photographic purposes,” he says.
Soldiers often made trench art whiling away the long hours between action, and spent shells were a common canvas for etchings.
“What was interesting was they had engraved around them ‘59th Australian BGORC, which was the name of the unit for about nine months over there … the name of the company dates them quite precisely.
“On one of the candlesticks they had engraved ‘Pefelhoek’ which was their main depot when they were in Belgium. I think the other [engravings were] St Jean, Ypres, and Boezinge.”
If anyone knows the woman (or if you’re reading this week) give Mr Goode a call on 0419 900 751 so he can help properly document the pieces.
by DAVID BELL