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Memento : Issue 31
By May 1944, many of his works had been published in newspapers and magazines of the day, giving the Australian public another view of the Pacific war. His paintings Prayers at Divisions HMAS Lonsdale and Fairmile Motor Launch of RAN are both now in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The National Archives holds four sketch books, drawn in pencil and coloured crayon, which include the preparatory sketches for these finished works. Sadly, Rex did not live to see the end of the war. He became unexpectedly ill and died at Milne Bay in New Guinea on 19 May 1944. News of his death was reported in such prominent publications as the Bulletin and Sydney Morning Herald. The official notification described his death as a ‘loss not only to the Navy, but to art in Australia’. The Director of Naval Intelligence promised Rex’s mother that her son’s work would ‘be preserved among the official archives in the history of the Royal Australian Navy in the war’. Ross Latham [left] Rex Julius enjoyed the camaraderie of Navy life. This watercolour shows men snatching a few moments of leisure. [above] Rex’s pencil sketches for his painting Prayers at Divisions HMAS Lonsdale. [above right] The finished work of Prayers at Divisions HMAS Lonsdale is part of the Australian War Memorial collection. [right] Another of Rex’s watercolours show sailors working efficiently on deck. [below right] Rex presented a calm image of the bridge. MEMENTO WINTER 06 23 NAA:B6121,19EAWM:ART27679NAA:B6121,19ENAA:B6121,19E