Ernest Procter’s WW1 Drawings

Ernest Procter (1886-1935), an artist and member of the Newlyn School, was probably the most prolific and well-known of the Quaker artists serving at the Friends’ Ambulance Unit during the First World War. 

Molly Evans‘s Nursing Scrapbook features a number of pictures by E. Procter (some of them might be original). This collection contains drawings and sketches mainly depicting the Queen Alexandra Hospital where Molly was working as a VAD nurse from September 1917 till December 1918.

Rue de Suez by E. Procter

Rue de Suez by E. Procter

As a conscientious objector Ernest Procter had joined the Unit in April 1916 and after a short training period in Jordans, Buckinghamshire arrived in Dunkirk a year earlier in June 1916.

According to his service record, he spent the first 3 months working at the Motor School at the Reserves Camp, farming at Steene, Bergues, serving as an orderly at the Headquarters and then in September 1916 he was appointed as an artist at the Works Department.

Formally Procter was not a war artist. But similar to works produced by official war artists, his sketches, drawings and paintings recorded and illustrated his own experience, as well as the lives and work of those who served with him. Visiting various subdivisions outside Dunkirk, participating in the Quarterly Meetings and later working for the newly established Ministry of Information he created a visual account of events which happened at the FAU.

After the war was over Procter left the Unit in February 1919.