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Firewatching by Fenwick

Gouache on paper inscribed verso ‘Fenwick, illustrator for London Opinion’. An original caricature of a couple of gents on firewatching duties on London rooftops during the Blitz. Image size 9cm (3.5in) x 16cm (6.25in). Newly framed and glazed.

Major Ian Fenwick (1910-1944) had a successful career as an illustrator of humorous publications in the 1930’s, including the popular magazine London Opinion. He was killed in action in France while operating behind enemy lines as an S.A.S. squadron commander. Educated at Winchester College, Cambridge University and art college in Berlin, he held a commission in the Leicestershire Yeomanry in the 1930's but transferred on the outbreak of war to The King’s Royal Rifle Corps (K.R.R.C.). After service in the Middle East he volunteered for the airborne forces, becoming commander of D Squadron 1st Special Air Service Regiment.

He parachuted into France shortly after D-Day in June 1944 and operated behind the enemy lines in the Orléans district for nearly three months, harassing Germans communications and helping to organize and arm the French Resistance. On 7 August 1944, shortly before the Squadron was due to be relieved, their base was surrounded and attacked by 600 Germans. Fenwick was on patrol at the time but, hearing of the attack, immediately returned to help extricate his men. After successfully engaging a German column, he was ambushed in his jeep and killed.

In 1945 a volume of his drawings with a foreword by David Niven and entitled Enter Trubshaw was published by Collins.

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