Coquelicot Art of the First World War
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Sydney Carline, The Destruction of the Turkish Transport in the Gorge of the Wadi Fara, Palestine, 1918, 1920, oil on canvas, 120 x 120 cm, Imperial War Museum, London.

© Imperial War Museum.

Total war

59 - Sydney Carline

Sydney Carline (1884-1929) served as a pilot and his brother, Richard, also a painter, was a machine-gunner. Both fought in flight squadrons in France and the Far East. The painting, one of the most spectacular of the aerial genre, describes one of the attacks launched against Turkish troops during their retreat towards the valley of the Jordan in September 1918. The location is Wadi Fara gorge, the machines are SE5s and the episode is dated and situated; the painting belongs to the tradition of battle painting in the most immediate sense of the term. It bases its account on the memories of an eye-witness, the painter-pilot himself.