'Horse "packing" ammunition for field guns. No wheeled vehicle could reach many gun positions, Ypres, 1917'
Pen and ink and watercolour by Lieutenant Richard Barrett Talbot Kelly MBE, MC, RI (1896-1971), Royal Field Artillery, 1917.
The heavy shells used by field guns had to be carried on the backs of horses or mules if roads were destroyed and wagons could not be used, or in very wet and muddy conditions as shown in this watercolour, depicting a scene from the fighting for Passchendaele during the 3rd Battle of Ypres. The artist recorded that: 'no wheeled vehicle could reach many gun positions'.
As part of an 18-pounder gun battery crew, Talbot Kelly took part in many of the major offensives of the Western Front. He regularly served as a Forward Observation Officer, tasked with spotting where the artillery shells were landing. The unique vantage point of the battlefields that this job gave him, inspired him to draw his experiences.
NAM Accession Number
Not NAM Copyright, Artist's Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection
Browse related themes