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A personal touch at war exhibition

PUBLISHED: 11:33 06 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:06 06 July 2010

A FORMER Pakefield schoolboy who went on to achieve fame and fortune is currently adorning buses and tube stations in London as his exhibition is shown at the National Army Museum.

A FORMER Pakefield schoolboy who went on to achieve fame and fortune is currently adorning buses and tube stations in London as his exhibition is shown at the National Army Museum.

War Boy: The Michael Foreman Exhibition is currently on display at the museum in Chelsea, and much of the work on show is based on his personal experiences as a child growing up in Lowestoft during world war two.

Michael, 71, was brought up in the region during the 1940s, studying at Pakefield Primary School as his mum Gladys ran a small sweet shop on the corner of Stradbroke Road.

He left Lowestoft to study at St Martin's School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London, and went on travel across the world, before settling in London and St Ives.

“He has worked all over the world in search of locations and ideas, but has kept contact with people he knows in Pakefield and Lowestoft as a whole,” said local historian John Holmes.

Working as an illustrator and author he has helped publish over 200 children's books, but one of his early successes was the autobiographical book War Boy, which contains illustrations of Pakefield and his mum's shop.

This book forms a key part of his exhibition at the National Army Museum, with his personal experiences demonstrating the connection between the British Army and civilians during the second world war.

Exploring how life in the town was dramatically changed, it also includes themes on rationing, coastal defences and air raid precautions. As part of the exhibition there is even a full scale model of his mum's sweet shop in the museum.

Alongside this, there are also artefacts from the museum's collection to compliment the experience.

Other aspects of his exhibition include a focus on his book War Game and Michael Morpurgo's book Billy the Kid, which he illustrated.

The War Game section explores the experiences of four British Army soldiers during the First World War, focusing on recruitment, training and living conditions in the trenches, as well as the extraordinary story of the 1914 Christmas Truce.

It also explores the cost of war through text and objects, such as the medals of Michael Foreman's uncles, who died fighting in world war one.

The hands-on, interactive, family experience opened at the museum in Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, on October 24. For more details visit www.national-army-museum.ac.uk


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