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War Art

Taking inspiration from the War Artists Advisor Committee commissioned portrait of Charity Bick. At just 14 years old, Charity lied about her age so she could become a volunteer dispatch rider during the Blitz. Despite lying about her age, Charity became the youngest person to be awarded the George Medal for bravery. Watch the video below to hear about Charity's story.

Mission Brief

Part of the Family Mission series created during the UK lockdown in Spring 2020. CBBC Presenter Ben Shires delivers your mission briefing.

Hello and welcome back to Imperial War Museums Family Mission. If you watch this week's Adventures in History film, then you'll have heard all about Charity, a fourteen-year-old girl who was a volunteer dispatch rider with Air Raid Precautions during the Blitz in West Bromwich near Birmingham in the Second World War.  

Her role involved riding her bike to deliver important messages – often whilst bombs were falling. Can you imagine what it was like to volunteer during the Blitz? It was full of danger and uncertainty and even at just 14 years of age, Charity performed her task with real courage and determination. Which is why, a little bit later on, she was recognized by being awarded the George medal for bravery. She was the youngest person ever to receive it and that is the reason this portrait was made of it. 

For this week's Family Mission, we want you to think about what someone you know has done to help others by volunteering during lockdown. Perhaps they volunteered to get a neighbour’s shopping. Perhaps it's you who volunteered to help others or maybe you can use this as an opportunity to start helping out at home. Maybe you can volunteer by doing some cleaning or cooking or even looking after your family pet.  

Whatever you decide, IWM thinks that you or someone that you know who's helped out by volunteering during lockdown is worthy of their own portrait. So, we'd like you to have a go at making your own just like I've done here with my portrait of my trusty pooch, Olive who's been ‘helping me out’ by doing some landscape gardening (otherwise known as digging up holes in my back garden). She's very good at that! 

Now, for my portrait I've used some white card, I drew it in pencil first, went over it with a black pen and coloured it in using pencil crayons. I don't have any paints at home, but you can use whatever you like including paints. Of course, whatever it is, we would love to see your portrait so please make sure you share them in the comments or thread below. And remember that whilst IWM doors are closed, we’d still love to hear from you. So, have fun, happy painting, best of luck! 

Here's Ben's example!

A drawing of a dog produced for IWM's Family Mission
Ruby Loftus Screwing a Breech-ring, 1943, by Laura Knight
© IWM (Art.IWM ART LD 2850)
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Explore Further

Poster for IWM's learning content Adventures in History: The World's Best Den
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The World’s Best Den

Why were air raid shelters needed in the Second World War? Join IWM expert Ngaire as she tells real life stories of how people passed the time—whether they sheltered in their back garden or in underground tunnels.


Adventures in History: Painting Life graphic
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Painting Life

Join IWM experts Becky and Paris as they share real life stories of artists, and the invaluable role they played during the Second World War.

Adventures in History: On the Home Front - Part One Graphic
Home Learning

On the Home Front - Part One

Join IWM expert Ngaire as she helps us discover the extraordinary stories of the people who rose to the challenge of life on the Second World War Home Front.


Family Mission has been created with the generous support of Old Possum's Practical Trust