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'7th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers - Noeux-les-Mines' 12 May 1916

Pen and ink with wash drawing, heightened with gouache, signed and dated lower left, 'Paul Sarrut/ 12/5/16', by Paul Sarrut (1882-1969), 1916.

Three soldiers of the 7th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers at Noeux-les-Mines in Pas-de-Calais, France. The battalion was raised in October 1914. They had arrived in France in February 1916 and were holding the line near Hulluch (Loos) when they German Army attacked using chlorine gas in conjunction with intensive artillery bombardment. On 3 May 1916, Brigadier-General Leveson-Gower, commanding the 49th Infantry Brigade commended the battalion saying, 'Officers WOs NCOs and men of the 7th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, I admire your bravery and the courage you have shown since you have taken your place in the line…You have seen the worst of it and have shown by your steadiness, coolness and courage that you were good soldiers…Ireland can be proud of you and in the future, when asked what battalion did you belong to, you can answer with pride that you were in the 7th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, a real fighting battalion and you need say nothing further.' The following day they moved to Noeux-les-Mines for 8 days rest. It was at this time that they were sketched by Sarrut. This is the original sketch for one of his prints.

Camille Georges Paul Sarrut was born in Grenoble in May 1882. He was an artist and engraver who studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français from 1909, under the name Paul Sarrut. Having undertaken national service in 1903, he rejoined the French Army in 1914 as a corporal and served during the First World War (1914-1918). That same year he was posted to the British Army as a Military Liaison Officer and interpreter for the French, Indian and British troops on the Western Front and was promoted serjeant in July 1915.

The Indian Army Corps started to arrive in Marseille from 30th September 1914, and from 1st October Sarrut sketched their arrival, life in camp and departure for the Western Front. His drawings of Indian troops from this period include his iconic portrait of Sepoy Harnam Singh of the 34th Sikh Pioneers. In 1915 Sarrut moved up to the front and continued to sketch the Indian soldiers there. He was promoted serjeant in July and continued to sketch the Indian corps until they were sent to Mesopotamia in November 1915.

The National Army Museum holds a large collection of original sketches that Sarrut drew during this time. He continued in the role of interpreter and was appointed adjutant in 1917 before he was demobbed on 6 March 1919. After the War, Sarrut had a selection of his drawings engraved and issued as a portfolio, 'British and Indian Troops in Northern France, 70 War Sketches, 1914-1915', published by H Delépine of Arras, France, in about 1920.

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 2000-10-31-1


Copyright: The Estate of Paul Sarrut


National Army Museum, Study Collection

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