Trench art holds special place for South Perth hairdresser

Trench art holds special place for South Perth hairdresser

AMONG the quirky items around Bill Gleeson’s South Perth hairdresser, there are two pieces of art that he considers the most important.

A small officer’s hat made of brass and a statue of a Sunderland bomber passed on to him by his grandfather and father hold a lot of meaning for him.

The two items are examples of trench art, artwork made by soldiers, prisoners of war or civilians that have a link to armed conflicts.

His grandfather George served in World War I as a gunner in France, while his father Bill served with the Royal Australian Air Force at various WA bases during World War II.

“There is a misconception that trench art is made in trenches but of course they wouldn’t have had the equipment, so it was usually made in workshops,” Mr Gleeson said.

“They were often made by soldiers to send back to loved ones, or wives, or traded for tobacco, alcohol or food.”

Mr Gleeson said he hoped people used Remembrance Day to think about the sacrifices of those who fought for the nation.

“I hope people are silent for that minute and remember people who endured terrible situations during war,” he said.

“When my grandfather served as a gunner it must have been very tough to fight in the trenches.

“He never spoke much about it, although he showed me his army trunk which had his memorabilia, sword and bayonet.”