Society Magazine

In Pictures: Sketches on Life Under Fire in Afghanistan

Posted on the 12 February 2015 by 72point @72hub

NEWS COPY – WITH PICTURES – by Danny Buckland

This unique set of sketches was produced on the Afghan front line by an Army captain keen to left the spirits of his men.

Artillery officer Alex Biddulph, 32, picked up a pen in order to capture the tension and humor of life under fire in Afghanistan.

He used time between patrols to record everything from dark military humor to the nerve-racking moment a soldier uses his fingertips to probe for a roadside bomb.

Capt Biddulph, of 26th Midland Gunners, who served two tours in Afghanistan, said that he wanted to capture his time in a unique way.

He said: “I have always enjoyed art, being on tour gave me chance to sketch again and kill some time between patrols.

“Plenty of times I would have to come back and finish a drawing because we were effectively on duty 24/7 for six months and you never knew what was going to happen.

“I took a lot of photographs on my previous Afghan tour in 2010 but I found sketching gave a totally different perspective.

“I like comparing the humor in my own work to some of the WW1 pieces that I’ve seen.

“I feel it is a bit of a lost art and it is also often easier to get this across in drawings as opposed to any other medium.

“I think we all have a fairly dark sense of humor in the military, especially in Afghanistan, it helps you get by.

“I drew when we were out on week long patrols. It was a good way of passing the time whilst stuck in an old Afghan compound.”

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Capt Biddulph, from Uttoxeter, Staffordshire decided that taking photographs had become common practice and wanted to do something different.

Currently based in Gutersloh, Germany, Alex has now decided to put his pictures up for sale in book form to raise funds for charity.

The prints include the camp’s search dog, Hazel, soldiers leaving for the front line and the final day at Camp Bastion.

Proceeds from the book, called Drawing the Front Line, will go to the charities, Blesma -
the limbless veterans, and ABF, the soldiers’ charity.

Alex Biddulph, who was in the last group of British forces to leave Helmand Province, created the work with fine liners and biro in a sketchbook.

He added: “I just wanted to do something a little different than take photos which everyone seems to do these days.

“I didn’t intended to publish a book when I started sketching on the tour, but was encouraged to by my colleagues when they saw what I was producing.

“I hope that the book is enjoyed by both military personnel and civilians as it offers a totally different perspective of those final months in Helmand.”

To buy the book go to: http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/5828961-drawing-the-front-line.

ENDS


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