A Rats of Tobruk carved panel, Peter Lane
A Rats of Tobruk wood panel falls under the category of “trench art”: decorative objects made by soldiers, prisoners of war, or civilians that are directly linked to armed conflict or its consequences. This term is a misnomer as these objects were rarely, if ever made in the trenches. Many were made from scrap metal like shell casings or in the case of the Napoleonic Wars, POWs used discarded animal bones. During and after the First and Second World Wars, it was profitable to make mementoes on a large scale due to huge quantities of material available, but Peter Lane argues that this is a personal memento.
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