RAF Regiment gunner turns artist in Afghanistan
RAF Regiment gunner Corporal Christian Boult has used his artistic talent to recreate the image of one of the United States’ greatest battle honours whilst on tour in Afghanistan.
Serving with the RAF Regiment’s 58 Squadron who are currently based at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, gunner Corporal Christian Boult (38) was asked to draw the iconic image of Iwo Jima Hill to present to the 1/23 United States Marine Corps, also known as the Lonestar Battalion.
Corporal Boult has previously produced two wood panel works for the Lonestar Battalion with whom 58 Squadron conduct Force Protection of over 700 square kilometres around Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
When Lonestar Battalion Gunnery Sergeant Miguel Moreno presented Corporal Boult with a photograph of Iwo Jima Hill and asked if he would paint it for him he couldn’t resist the opportunity.
Using a combination of graphite pencil, carbon sticks, sanguine oil and a putty eraser, Corporal Boult went to work in his dimly lit tent for one hour a night when he had spare time. Following a total of 19 hours in artificial light the masterpiece was complete:
“It has been very enjoyable but a challenge. I did an hour a night when I could in my tent. It was difficult in artificial light and I didn’t see it properly in natural daylight until I finished it and took it outside!”
A self-taught artist of a mere four years, Corporal Boult began painting and sketching through his own appreciation of art and by having a clear-out at his home in Coventry! He said:
“My wife Jennifer went to Art College and I found her old paints and brushes in the loft so I thought I’d give it a go!”
Following gifts of canvases and painting kits from friends and relatives for Christmas’s and birthdays, Corporal Boult soon got to grips with his new talent, impressing many.
Remarkably, Corporal Boult’s preferred medium is oils and he normally specialises in portraits and landscapes but can clearly turn his hand to other styles. The Warwickshire born Gunner is certainly pleased with the finished article but seems to be something of a perfectionist commenting:
“All artists are perfectionists. You have to be,” he said. “Nothing is perfect though; as long as Gunnery Sergeant Moreno likes it, that’s the main thing!”
The picture was presented to Gunnery Sergeant Moreno on Sunday 11 September, at the memorial service held at Camp Bastion to mark the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. The drawing was certainly well received; the Marine was quiet as he pondered the drawing, and then said:
“I’m really touched by this. This will have a special place in my home.”