Early in the Second World War gas detectors
were issued. They were painted with a green paint
which turned red on contact with gas.
This cartoon is one of over fifty in the Museum
collection drawn by Major Ian Fenwick of The King’s
Royal Rifle Corps who was killed in action behind enemy
lines near Orléans, France, on 7 August 1944 while
commanding D Squadron, 1st Special Air Service Regiment.
Major Ian Fenwick was the younger son of Captain F.H.
Fenwick, of Market Overton, Oakham in Rutland. He was
educated at Winchester College. After a year at
Cambridge University he went to Berlin to study art and
later became an artist by profession.
When the Second World War began, he was in America, but
promptly returned to England. At the time he already
held a commission in the Leicestershire Yeomanry but
transferred to The King’s Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC). He
was posted to the 1st Motor Battalion (MTB) KRRC at
Chiseldon Camp, near Swindon. In autumn 1942 1 MTB moved
to Strensall, near York, and in 1943 was re-designated
the 10th Battalion KRRC.
The collection of cartoons owned by the Museum were
drawn between 1940 and early 1944 during Ian Fenwick’s
time at Chiseldon and Strensall. In February 1944 he
joined the 1st Special Air Service Regiment and was
appointed commander of D Squadron.
At the time of his death he and his squadron had been
operating behind the enemy lines near Orléans for nearly
three months, harassing the Germans’ communications,
cutting vital railway links, helping to organize and arm
the French Resistance, and sending back daily reports on
enemy troop movements. After a particularly successful
night attack on a train carrying troops and ammunition
he reported that: “We are happy in our work.”
On 7 August 1944, shortly before the Squadron was due to
be relieved, their base was surrounded and attacked by a
large number of Germans. Fenwick was on patrol at the
time but, hearing of the attack, immediately returned to
help extricate his men. After successfully engaging a
German column, he was ambushed in his jeep and killed
instantaneously. He was aged 34.
In 1945 a volume of his drawings entitled Enter Trubshaw
was published by Collins.
The driver of the Bren gun carrier is an officer and
the frightened and furious corporal in the back is the
instructor. He is alarmed because if a carrier rolled
over sideways, whereas the driver could escape
by lowering his seat, the ‘passengers’ at the back were
TEWTs (Tactical Exercises without Troops) were, and
still are, used to train officers and NCOs in studying
and finding solutions to tactical problems on the
ground. The 1940 carriage of respirators everywhere, the
small Army map case and the side-hats with KRRC red
cherry bosses were typical of the first year of the war.