Cross Channel Guns

WAG 1092


Sykes was not part of the War Artists Advisory Committee, but was a soldier in the Royal Engineers throughout the Second World War. He took part in the Normandy D-Day Landings on 6 June 1944 with 'No. 5 Beach Group', and this painting evidently records the aftermath. In a letter to the Walker of 12 August 1968, Sykes wrote of the painting: 'I made many paintings in watercolour and gouache towards the end of the war when things were quieter. I was not an official war artist but in the Royal Engineers. [I] served in France in 1941 with B.E.F. [I] was in Western Desert 41-42 and Middle East till March 44. [I] landed Normandy D-Day with No 5 Beach Group -- which was based on the King's (Liverpool) Regt. (5 Battalion).' In another letter of 22nd November 1989, the artist identified the beach as beside the English Channel. Another drawing/painting based on the D-Day Landing, "D-Day Dead", is in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Cap Gris Nez, as written in the inscription, is in the Côte d'Opale in northern France. The cape is the closest point of France to England.