National Army Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand : Military History & Army War Museum

Artefact of the Month: Carved Pencil Collection

Artefact of the Month: Carved Pencil Collection

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

Carved Pencil Collection. 2016.7.1-4

October’s Artefact of the Month features a collection of pencil carvings created by 10/303 Private Christopher William ‘Bill’ Connell.

According to Bill’s family history, these pencils were carved in the trenches during World War One. His military record suggests that the only trenches Bill served in were those on the Gallipoli peninsula, so it is possible that these pencils may have been carved there.

The yellow pencil is carved with an image of a woman wearing a blue gown. She is holding a parasol to one side and a clutch purse on the other. Engraved below the carving are the words “ASCOT GOWN”. The teal pencil is carved with an image of a man in a grey suit and tie. The figure found upon the red pencil depicts another image of a man, possibly a waiter, in a white suit and bow tie. On the remaining section of the red pencil the words “…LASTIC DRAWING PENCIL EAGLE PENCIL Co / LONDON”, can be seen. The black-coloured pencil is carved with the likeness of a Māori Pou and the area towards the tip of the pencil features a series of carved, tāniko style patterns.

Bill Connell enlisted on 14 August 1914 spending time in both Egypt and Gallipoli during his overseas service with the Wellington Infantry Battalion. He was discharged from the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) on 13 May 1916 as he was no longer fit for duty on account of wounds inflicted or sickness contracted while on active service. On 11 October of the same year Bill was mentioned in the supplement to the London Gazette as being awarded a Military Medal for acts of bravery during the course of war.

Bill Connell died on 25 November 1918 in Whanganui due to influenza complications. He was 25 years-old at the time of his death and is buried at the Aramaho Cemetery in Whanganui.

Click on an image to enlarge.
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