Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling 4919 – Stretcher bearer Private Ernest Lachlan Powter AIF – 2015


oil on canvas 120.5 x 191.5 cm

Private Ernest Lachlan Powter, who was the youngest volunteer from Orange to die. Being born on 9th march 1900, he was fifteen when he lied about his age to go to the war and was dead by the time he was sixteen!  Focusing on one individual, Ernest Powter from Orange — the youngest to volunteer at 15 and dead by 16 — a sombre sense of the futility of war is proffered.

Ernest’s elder brother Claude also served. He not only survived the conflict but was highly decorated, being awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for personal bravery. But forever after, when he contemplated his exalted military status, he may also have reflected on whether the cost of losing his young brother was worth it.

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