Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

WW1 Paintings of Wyndham Lewis



One of the Notable Persons who served as a Gunner in WW1 was artist Wyndam Lewis.


In 1914, Lewis formed the Vorticism movement, a modernist art style inspired by cubism with bold lines and harsh colours.






Wyndham was also a writer and the ideas of Vorticism as rebel artists challenging the norm were published in BLAST, the first issue BLAST: The Review of the Great English Vortex, was published in July 1914, just before the outbreak of the First War. The magazine and the  Vorticism movement was short lived, within a year leading advocates of the movement enlisted in the Armed Forces or were undertaking war work [IWM - The Vorticists]. A second, and final edition, of BLAST was published in July 1915.


BLAST - WAR NUMBER - July 1915




Wyndham Lewis enlisted as a gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery in January 1916. After basic training he was posted to 183 Seige Battery in Weymouth pending the Battery moving to the Western Front. He applied for a commission which following a period   of officer training he received in December 1916.



Wyndham Lewis Royal Garrison Artillery


Posted to 330 Siege Battery he and the battery personnel  arrived in France in May 1917. The 330th personnel manned 7.5 inch guns of the Heavy Artillery attached to the Royal Naval Siege Guns Group.


After a brief assignment to 224 Siege Battery, Lewis re-joined 330 SB in August 1917. 330 Siege Battery re-equipped with 6 inch Mark XIX guns in September, deploying to Ypres sector where the Third Battle of Ypres was in progress. Whilst on leave in England in November 1917, Lewis joined a war-art program run by the Canadian Government. He returned to France serving as an  official war artist with the Canadian War Memorials Scheme. 


After the war Wyndham Lewis exhibited his paintings in a one man exhibition entitled Guns.



War Artist Percy Wyndham Lewis



Officers and Signallers



A Battery Position in a Wood



A Battery Shelled



A Canadian Gun Pit


Wyndham Lewis tried to revive the Vorticism movement, but post war Britain was a difficult time for artists, and his efforts failed. in the 1920's he turned to writing but fell out of favour due to his association with the British Union of Fascists.

In 1937 he published an account of his war time experiences "Blasting and Bombardiering - An autobiography (1914-1918)"






Edited by ianjonesncl


Recommended Comments

I actual have the medal group to his Commanding Officer in the 330th Siege Battery, Major F.J.C. Hindson. 

Wyndham-Lewis did not like his CO; from the biography of him, "Some kind of Genius: A life of Wyndham-Lewis" commenting:

"..He had a new Commanding Officer. Captain F.J.C. Hindson was a native of Hull. Lewis railed to (his friend) Pound about the 'ways of the Army, in giving such unspeakable, foolish and dismal muck a Battery'. As he wrote the C.O. was close by.."

I think this was because Hindson wasn't "his" kind of people and he may have been a little resentful; Hindson had been promoted from the ranks, and had surpassed Wyndham-Lewis in rank very quickly, becoming Major soon after the passage above. He was also awarded an MC for his work as Battery CO.

He bears more than a passing resemblance to the Officer in "A Battery Shelled".


Sergeant Hindson


Lieutenant Hindson


Hindson's Medals



Link to comment

Posted (edited)

9 hours ago, dsowerby said:

He bears more than a passing resemblance to the Officer in "A Battery Shelled"

@dsowerbyA good observation




Edited by ianjonesncl
Link to comment

Posted (edited)

9 hours ago, dsowerby said:

I actual have the medal group to his Commanding Officer in the 330th Siege Battery, Major F.J.C. Hindson. 

@dsowerbyAn interesting group... a Military Cross, a Territorial War Medal and  a Territorial Efficiency Medal.

I can see he was commissioned 1st July 1915 


To have completed 12 years service before commissioning am I right in thinking he would have had to have joined in 1903 at he latest. He would therefore have been a pre Territorial Force Gunner in the RGA Volunteers ?


Edited by ianjonesncl
Link to comment

Posted (edited)

Hi Ian, he was indeed an old Volunteer. 

Born in 1885, he attested as a Gunner with the "Sunk Island Battery" of the East Riding RGA on the 17th March 1903. He gained rapid promotion, Bombardier in April 1904, Corporal in May 1905 and Sergeant in August 1906. In 1913 he was made the CQMS. He got his TFEM in that rank in AO 293 of the 1st August 1915, so a nice early GV TFEM before the double-time really kicked in. He was lucky to get it, as he was selected for commission before August, becoming 2nd Lieutenant on the 26th July 1915 (dated to the 1st in the LG).

There must have been something about him, as it was only a year or so later that he was an Acting Captain, then Acting Major, in charge of a Battery. It's probably these kind of details that irked Wyndham-Lewis. He was mentioned in Blasting and Bombardiering when Wyndham-Lewis was seconded to the Canadians:

“…The O.C. seconded me. How he knew how to do it I cannot imagine, as in civilian life he was probably a Bank Manager. But he said the magic words and I saluted him for the last time. I turned my back with a sigh, half relief half regret, on the English Army..”

"A Battery Shelled" is supposed to be the 330th Siege Battery at Whytschaete (known as "White Sheet" to the Gunners) so the chances are this is Hindson (known as "Jim" to his friends, despite being Frederick James Colqohoun).

MC was NYH 1919; presented by the King in 1920.



Edited by dsowerby
Link to comment


A capable Gunner judging by his rapid promotion, subsequent commissioning, and quickly rising to assume command of a battery. One would imagine someone with a different mind set to military life than the avant-garde Wyndham Lewis. 

It is interesting that he was awarded his TEFM when he was commissioned. An overlap of paperwork no doubt.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...