Army History

'Never Gone': Portraits Commemorate Soldiers Who Died During Operation Banner

In a project called 'Never Gone', an art teacher from Northampton has drawn portraits of every soldier who died during Operation Banner.

An art teacher has drawn portraits of the British soldiers who died during Operation Banner in Northern Ireland.

Sam Bailey from Northampton has compiled 1,441 drawings into a book to mark the 50th anniversary of the start of the operation

Ms Bailey has spent £10,000 of her own money and will be raising funds for a charity with the proceeds.

She said her "journey" of drawing the soldiers faces started in 2016 after her former partner was medically discharged from the Army.

Never Gone portraits of fallen soldiers from Op Banner 2 Credit BFBS 140819
Ms Bailey hopes to meet some of the family members of the portraits when she goes to Northern Ireland to attend commemoration events.

Ms Bailey was also given the inspiration from the Invictus Games: "We were watching the Invictus Games and we saw an American soldier talking to one of our British soldiers and our serviceman was saying how they're not treated the same.

"He said, 'here you're treated like heroes and he said it's not like that for us at home'."

"That gave me the idea of trying to give back - so I thought I'd draw all of the fallen from Afghanistan and it became this amazing journey."

Since she has also drawn all of the fallen soldiers from the Iraq War, before going onto drawing the faces from Operation Banner.

Never Gone portraits of fallen soldiers from Op Banner veteran also helps compile book Credit BFBS 140819
A veteran has also helped compile the book.

Chris Perkin is a veteran of that campaign and has been helping compile the book of portraits.

Mr Perkin said two of his friends who he served with are featured in the book:

"It was quite emotional seeing their pictures."

He said the book helps keep their memories alive: "I think it's very pertinent that this is not forgotten about because a lot of people died."

Ms Bailey will be travelling to Northern Ireland to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers who died, marking half a century since the start of the operation.