WWII Soldier’s Sketchbook Puts Both Horror and Boredom of War on Full Display
As the number of surviving World War II veterans dwindles year by year, our time to collect first-hand accounts and different perspectives of the largest conflict in human history dwindles. Luckily, the one-of-a-kind perspective of Victor Lundy was saved before it was too late. Lundy, a 21-year-old architecture student at the time, initially joined the Army to take part in the Army Special Training Program, with dreams of helping design post-war Europe. However with D-Day looming in 1944, he was drafted into combat and became an infantryman on the French frontline.
He took his skills and his sketchbook with him to war, drawing out everyday scenes in the book. He explained years later that “drawing is sort of synonymous with thinking” for him. Lundy’s sketches run through the gamut of experiences a young man in his position went through at the time. Lundy details his voyages around Europe to different fronts and battle zones. The collection also displays the various ways Lundy and his fellow soldiers on the front spent their downtime, including relaxing anywhere they could, and gambling. Lundy even documented some of the more amusing misadventures he’d had during his time in Europe. However, at its heart the sketch collection pours the horrors of war and combat on full display. First the troops are gung-ho to go into combat. Then reality hits as men in the company begin being killed or wounded. Lundy even documented the reality of what happens to the enemy. After his time in the military, Lundy went on to have the successful architecture career that he dreamed of. In 2009, he donated his sketchbooks to the Library of Congress so that future generations can be exposed to his work. The full collection can be viewed on the Library’s website.
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