Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information




Australian art

View More:


Company awaiting relief, the Caterpillar, near Ville-sur-Ancre



Will Dyson


03 Sep 1880 - 21 Jan 1938


Will Dyson – together with official photographer Captain George Hubert Wilkins – inspected the French village of Ville-sur-Ancre which had been captured on 19 May 1917 by the Australian Imperial Force. Relating the initial drawing for this lithograph, Dyson wrote 'In the Caterpillar, near Ville-sur-Ancre the day after passing through the village, while this drawing was being made Capt Wilkins had crept out of the Caterpillar and through crops at the top, drawing down, through the moving of the crops, a sustained burst of machine gun fire which lasted long enough for me to do this drawing'.

Dyson depicts a number of uniformed soldiers resting on the roadside, wearing their British-issue Brodie pattern steel helmets. The sunken road is the 'Caterpillar' of the title.

from the exhibition 'Mad through the darkness: Australian artists and the Great War', 2015


Other Title

Awaiting relief. The caterpillar Ville sur Ancre, 1918



Media category


Materials used

lithograph, black ink on white laid Arnold paper


57.3 x 46.4 cm image; 65.4 x 52.3 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner, pencil "Will. Dyson.". Not dated.


Gift of the High Commissioner for Australia (London) 1919


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Will Dyson

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


Ross McMullin, Will Dyson: Australia's radical genius, 'Chapter 3: 'THE WAR HAS ALTERED HIM A LOT' Holocaust 1914-1918', Australia, 2006, 209.

Ross McMullin, Will Dyson: Cartoonist, etcher and Australia's finest war artist, 'Chapter 3: THE GREAT WAR', Australia, 1984, 170 (illus.).