Simon Martin and John Dargan

PWRR & Queen's Regiment Museum
Major General Ivor Maxse and Legacy of Wilfred 'Billie' Nevill

Simon Martin was born in Canterbury in 1991 and grew up in Sittingbourne . He graduated from Middlesex University in 2013 where he self published his first book ‘Mini Golf’. Currently Simon is continuing with personal projects and commissions within the UK and his home town where he hopes to help young creatives find a platform for their work.

Simon’s work focuses on the passionate and dedicated, taking the viewer into corners of British culture that you may never have noticed.

John Dargan is a Senior Lecturer in Lens-Based Media at the University for the Creative Arts at Canterbury. Recently he has been working on more socially engaged projects like ‘Sham Fever’, an interactive digital media project in Faversham, and has shown his artist books at the London Art Book Fair in the Whitechapel Art Gallery.

‘Responding to what is around me is key. Being open to new possibilities, new situations, new ways of developing ideas is vital and a means to exciting outcomes and an exciting life! Using drawing, painting, film, animation, artist books, photography and interactive events, helps manifest responses appropriate to a subject, place or space.’

Associated Museum: PWRR Queen’s Regiment Museum

Associated Projects: Major General Ivor Maxse and Legacy of Wilfred ‘Billie’ Nevill

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PWRR & Queen’s Regiment Museum

The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment & Queen’s Regiment Museum is located in Dover Castle. Its collections and exhibits trace the regiment’s distinguished history from 1572 right through to the present day, with interactive sound and visual displays including photographs, paintings, weapons, badges, medals, uniforms, regimental regalia, interactive videos and recordings.The museum is part of the Army Museums Ogilby Trust, a registered charity founded in 1954.

Futher information can be found on the : PWRRQR Website

Associated Artist: Simon Martin and John Dargan
Associated Project: Major General Ivor Maxse and Legacy of Wilfred ‘Billie’ Nevill

Major General Ivor Maxse and Legacy of Wilfred ‘Billie’ Nevill

Major General Ivor Maxse

In 1914 The East Surreys and the East Kents were regiments that now form part of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment. They were incorporated into the 18th (Eastern) Division, established in September 1914 by Kitchener for the British Army.

Through research for the Western Heights in Dover, I began to focus on Major General Ivor Maxse, commander of the 18th Division from 1914 to 1917. Maxse, a brilliant but little known General, was a great believer in training and preparation before battle.

I decided to visit the Imperial War Museum to look at Maxse’s papers. I realized he went to extraordinary lengths to prepare his men for combat. He published training manuals that attempted to detail every moment of a soldier’s time.

I settled on the idea of asking a living historian to act out an aspect of the material I had researched. I wanted to make it apparent to a viewer how much a soldier has to prepare and also wanted to say something about how the 18th Division achieved its objectives at the Battle of the Somme.

This was more problematic than I originally thought until I met Dan Elliot through the Western Heights Preservation Society. He was excited about the idea; he offered to act in the film and wrote moving dialogue about Maxse. With Phil Eydens help we shot the film at the Drop Redoubt and Dan and I improvised 3 different films in the barracks and the casemates. John Dargan

Legacy of Wilfred 'Billie' Nevill

The Queens Museum has a vast collection of medals and memorabilia from WWI and WWII which hold stories of great military victories and losses. The story of Billie Nevill stood out to me more than others, a young man in command of a company who, to motivate his men forward, used footballs. Sadly Nevill was killed just short of the german line, he was 21 years old.
 
I also had the chance to look at personal belongings of soldiers donated to the museum by families of servicemen from multiple wars. These possessions showed a less heroic but more human side to the soldiers lives during deployment. Friendships, adventures, smiles and letters to loved ones really reminded you of what was at stake during these conflicts.
 
These personal possessions inspired me to create a piece of work that could bring Billie's portrait to 2016, not just as a story or tale but as a young human being who lost his life because of war. Simon Martin
Associated Artists: Simon Martin and John Dargan
Associated Museum: PWRR & Queen's Regiment Museum
Films: from John Dargan