Writer Matt Black has recently written 12 poems inspired by the Camouflage Unit based in Leamington Spa 1940 – 1944.
These will be available in printed format sometime during the Camouflage Festival….Here are a few as a taster….
They boarded the Great Western at Paddington.
On blue-green tartan moquette, laughing, loose-limbed,
sporting plus-fours, pipes and sketchbooks, left town
(art school, jazz, London parties)
for the provinces, to do their bit,
wield their thumb-held palettes for the war.
Their brief: to confuse, conceal, deceive
the enemy by means not really cricket.
Their canvas: in the foreground, Cov and Brum,
and beyond, factories, fields, all that shines,
water, tarmac, steel, all our lovely country’s
glints and hints, please disguise us from eyes
above, from droning monsters in the sky.
Please hide us from the wide stare of the moon.
Holed up in Leamington Spa
For duration of war.
Elephants and pump-rooms.
Is that it?
Am in Regent Hotel.
Please bring whisky.
All chaps? Of course not, but as usual
the boy’s club made themselves more visible.
Puffing on their pipes, all frightfully important.
I was a fine artist, Naval Section Camouflage Unit,
amongst other women officers and artists.
Stitch by stitch, women wove all the nets.
We all worked together. But without the chaps –
no bloody senseless war to start with.