David Rowlands: Military Artist
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David Rowlands with UN troops
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In April and May 2007 David was hosted by the Army Air Corps in Operation HERRICK, Afghanistan. Based at Camp Bastion with the Joint Helicopter Force (Afghanistan), he accompanied front-line soldiers in Chinook helicopters to locations in the Helmand valley. A major British operation was taking place (Op SILICON), and the Brigade commander invited him to his headquarters at Lashkar Gah. Going on mobile and foot patrols in Helmand and Kandahar provinces he was able to experience the tension and danger facing British soldiers who are fighting the Taliban. He is doing some important oil paintings depicting fighting at the places he visited.

In summer 2008, David was based with the Close Support Medical Regiment of 16 Air Assault Brigade in Helmand. The Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) flies by Chinook helicopter to the battle zone to pick up and treat the casualties during the flight back to Camp Bastion. He flew with the MERT and is painting scenes of their work, as well as the wounded arriving at the field hospital. David also went on foot patrol with the infantry and has painted pictures for several regiments during their tour of duty.

In 2009, the Security Service (MI5) commissioned a major painting for its London headquarters, to commemorate its centenary.

In 2010, David's diary of his visit to Bosnia in 1993 was dramatised for BBC Radio 4 and transmitted- twice daily - in five episodes during November. "Writing the Century; A Desolate Bravery" was written by Lavinia Murray, directed by Nadia Molinari with original music by Nicolai Abrahamsen.

On 7th October 2015, the Army presented a painting to the Scottish Parliament to highlight the Scottish contribution to soldiering and mark the relationship which has existed between the Army and Scottish society. It depicts scenes covering the hundred years from the outbreak of the First World War, and includes images from the Second World War and more recent campaigns.

Lt Gen James Bashall CBE unveiled the painting with the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer, the Right Honourable Tricia Marwick MSP. The 9ft by 6ft painting was funded entirely by donations from the Army family in Scotland. The picture went on show across Scotland before going on permanent public display at the Scottish Parliament in 2016.

David gives illustrated talks about British war artists from 1700; and about his own adventures as a war artist from 1985 to 2015, with anecdotes ranging from humorous to dangerous and tragic, and shows how rapid sketches made on the spot are turned into finished paintings.

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David Rowlands with the French Army
David Rowlands with Gen Sir Michael Jackson (Late PARA), Chief of the UK General Staff to 2006
David Rowlands in Afghanistan
David Rowlands with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh