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Walter E. Spradbery

Walter E. Spradbery was an artist and pacifist. Refusing to take up arms in the First World War, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and became a paramedic and stretcher bearer on the Somme battlefield. Here he earned many citations for bravery including the awarding of a Distinguished Conduct Medal. On the day the Armistice was signed, he wrote from the trenches to his Mother:

"Hostilities ceased on all fronts at 11am today. Oh happy mothers, happy sweethearts, happy wives, whose loved ones will come safely back... and those lone souls who have lost their very own; today is too unkind to them - how can they face our joy? 'Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards men' - an unseen choir sings it in our breasts - prompting men to evolve a better world more worthy of our ideals and aspirations. Let us begin."

He went on to produce a significant body of work, much of it for London Transport with his famous posters. Married to opera singer, Dorothy d'Orsay, they lived an idyllic existence at their home, 'The Wilderness' in Epping Forest. I had the pleasure of meeting Walter at 'The Wilderness' when I was a young student in the late 1950s.

The biography of his life and times "My Dear Jim" has been compiled and published by his son, John Spradbery.

Order "My Dear Jim"

Mail order from Elizabeth Spradbery: el-malet@gmail.com
(£15 plus P&P)