An extraordinary record

When the First World War broke out, 32-year-old Morris Meredith Williams was living a contented life in Edinburgh with his wife Alice, a sculptor, illustrating popular history books and teaching drawing to boys at Fettes College. In April 1915 he enlisted in the 17th Battalion (1st Glamorgan Bantams) The Welsh Regiment and left for France in early June 1916. Never without a sketchbook and pencils in his pocket, his drew at every opportunity and produced an extraordinary record of life on the Western Front.

4. Lt O'Donnell on train 1916

This book shares, for the first time, more than 168 pencils sketches, 24 paintings and extracts from the letters that Morris and Alice wrote to each other, almost every day. In pictures and words he describes life in the infantry, then as an intelligence officer attached to the Royal Artillery, and finally as a member of a Royal Engineers camouflage unit. After the peace, while Alice worked on a series of models for the Imperial War Museum, Morris travelled the countryside in an old ambulance car, making paintings for the official record. Reunited in March 1919, the artists spent most of the next decade working on private and public memorials, including the famous frieze in the shrine of the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle.