Picturing 100 Years – Online Exhibition

These pieces were created as part of our Picturing 100 Years collaborative project with 33 Signal Squadron funded by The Armed Forces Covenant Fund: Forces Communities Together Programme to celebrate 100 years of the Royal Corps of Signals.

100 Culture and Storytelling Boxes of art materials and resources have been distributed amongst local Armed Forces, Royal Signals Association and their families to enable them to tell their stories expressively, resulting in paintings, drawings, poetry and short pieces of prose.

As well as the former and active members of the Armed Forces and Royal Signals Association, some of their younger family members also joined in, resulting in numerous generations representing their connection with 33 Signal Squadron and other local regiments. We are so pleased with the pieces by the participants, and proud of what they have achieved. Some commented initially that they weren’t creative, but it seems that they have proved themselves wrong!

David Barnes created a bold montage of collaged images representing his involvement in the Radfan Campaign in Aden, 1963-65. The vibrant and detailed “Jimmy” was painted by 15 year old Charlotte Ryan to celebrate the centenary of the Royal Corps of Signals.


Gunboot, by David Barnes, alongside Captain Bob Dobson’s Blueys, the nickname for blue airmail envelopes. The words and placenames are all popular coded acronyms to loved ones – SWALK “Sealed with a loving kiss”, HOLLAND – “Hope our love lasts and never dies” – some of the others are a bit rude to put on here!

10 year old Holly Ford’s wonderful poem demonstrates the impact of her Grandad’s service not only on him, but also on her and the importance of him sharing his experiences. This faceless soldier by an anonymous participant has a sombre tone.

Remembrance was a common theme throughout the pieces created by participants, such as Lance Corporal Liam Bartlett’s hopeful yet poignant landscape below. Mia and Holly Ford created a picture showing the horrors of war transforming to a beautiful new day. The moving landscape scene by David De Souza combines delicate washes and bold impasto to great effect.

The participants’ creations are complemented by a number of Communications artefacts and historical objects from the Army Reserve Collection held by 33 Signal Squadron, to provide a meaningful backdrop to this project. A film has been produced exploring the exhibition, hosted by Captain Bob Dobson, sharing his own experiences and the histories of some of the objects on display. The film can be viewed below from the safety and comfort of home.

Click on the orange links below to access our other posts about our Picturing 100 Years project and films featuring Captain Bob Dobson: