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Portrait c.1940

Arthur Nichol enlisted for war service in 1939 at the age of 25, embarked with fellow troops for the battlefields of Europe in 1940 along with his older brother Harry. He served in Intelligence as an Advance Scout and was captured on Crete in 1941. Imprisoned in Stalag VIIIB, Lamsdorf Poland between 1941 and 1945, he produced unique realist artworks of life in prison camp, painted posters for theatrical productions and held art classes for fellow prisoners at several Stalag camps. 

For most of 2020, we were in communication with the Australian War Memorial Art curators in hopes of bringing all of Arthur’s wartime artworks into the light. AWM Staff have been so supportive of our hopes, as to give the project their utmost attention. Our thanks must go to Hollie Gill (Asst. Art Curator) for all her hard work on the project.

Family copyright in all Arthur’s work has now been sorted and as a result, Memorial staff have been able to move ahead with fully cataloguing his work and preparing it for display. Staff photographers have digitised all 17 images for uploading to the Australian War Memorial website and for ordering through eSales. 

The Australian War Memorial Project

As war came to an end, as Soviet forces advanced on Lamsdorf camp, Arthur and around 25,000 fellow POWs, were force-marched westward in groups of around 500 in the bitter European winter of 1945. They set off in January and would be on foot for the next 4 months, with no knowledge of their destination. Those who survived the ordeal were finally liberated in May, the fortunate by American forces; those not so, by the Soviets, who would hold them hostage for several months longer.  In a letter home, Arthur talks of waiting for "the Russians to let us go."

Stalag VIIIB 1941-'45

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