YMCA on the Somme painting

William Frederick Bell, Somme YMCA, 1916.

Twenty-year-old South Dunedin artist Frederick William Bell sailed from Wellington with reinforcements for the 3rd Battalion of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade in February 1916. Initially employed in Brigade Workshops in France, he later trained as a sniper and in 1918 was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. Frederick Bell died of rheumatic fever in 1920, aged 25.

A number of his sardonic depictions of the war are held in the National Collection of War Art. Somme YMCA shows a makeshift canteen run by the Young Men's Christian Association behind the lines.

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