Friday, 20 March 2015


Dorset war artwork is preserved (Rod Minchin, Western Morning News, March 17, 2015) reports on the successful conservation of a characterful mural painted in 1942 by Flight Sgt Sidney Beaumont of 263 Squadron. The logo is similar to one painted by Sgt Beaumont on his Westland Whirlwind aircraft.

The mural was safely removed from the wall of Tree Stores, near Dorchester, prior to the site redevelopment; the premises were formerly a YMCA hostel, and before that part of the RAF Warmwell base. See the Facebook page RAF Warmwell Memorial Weekend 29-31 August 2014 for more pictures.

"Gruffie" mural
low-res version of image by Colin Shaw
reproduced for comment/critique
The WMN account, like that at the BBC (Search launched for Crossways WW2 wall art airman's family, March 16), repeats the factoid that Beaumont's family is untraceable. As Matt Bearman comments to the WMN piece, there's no such mystery: Sgt Beaumont's grandson is already involved. Nor is there, as the BBC states, a mystery about Beaumont's death.

To add to the list of factoids: it's not clear where the idea came from that the creature depicted, called "Gruffie", is a gremlin. Gremlins have been subject to reimaginings over the years, but the original RAF ones of the time Beaumont painted this were depicted as imp-like - not bird-like - creatures. In my view, with his feathers, beak and ear-tufts, he's clearly a griffin, and the name Gruffie is consistent with that.

"Gruffie" (detail) compared with heraldic griffin
- Ray

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