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Celebrating role of grandfathers at Cheshire museum

Published date: 23 April 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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AN ARTIST inspired by the roles his grandfathers played in the First and the Second World Wars is to display his work at the Cheshire Military Museum.

Two new pieces of work by Crewe-born artist Nick Bailey, who now lives in Congleton, are on display at the Chester museum.

The works relate to both of his grandfathers’ participation in the First and Second World Wars.

He produced the large Edwardian framed collages from artefacts, including service records, about his grandfathers – Cecil Lear Bailey, of Nantwich, and Frank Leighton Jones, of Crewe.

As ‘mixed media’ works they have original acrylic backgrounds and details painted by Nick overlaid with typical war scenes and personal information about each grandfather. Both works were exhibited in 2009 and 2010 at The Keele University ‘Open Art’ exhibitions.

Cecil served in the Cheshire Regiment and the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry in the Great War, suffering wounds to his legs when blown up by a German shell in Northern France.

He was returned to the Western Front after treatment and survived until 1989. His party trick was to show visitors the shrapnel emerging from his knees as his body shrunk with age. He did not take part in the Second World War.

Frank served in the Royal Navy in the Great War on many different ships but finally saw active fighting service as an Ordinary Seaman on HMS Thunderer in 1918.

Having survived that conflict he re-enlisted into the Cheshire Regiment in 1939 and went to Dunkirk. After an injury in the early 1940s he returned to Crewe to be part of the Home Guard where he lived until he died in the 1970s.

The artist said: “My memories of these brave men are very strong as they both took an active part in my early childhood during the 1960s and I wanted to create these works as family heirlooms, to remember my grandfathers and the roles they played in the Great War and Second World War. The Cheshire Military Museum are now guiding Nick to find out more about his grandfathers and where they went in each of the wars, especially for the Cheshire Regiment. They have a search service for any member of the public to use for a small fee.

“The art works have been displayed on their own wall over a Vickers Machine Gun which is being restored. This is particularly apt as it is exactly the firearm Cecil would have used in the trenches of northern France in 1917/18.”

The artwork will be on display at the Cheshire Military Museum until the end of 2014.

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