Elm Park painter inspired by grandad’s war stories

Tony Gladman with some of his artwork

Tony Gladman with some of his artwork - Credit: Archant

A painter inspired by his grandfather’s wartime stories will be holding his first exhibition.

Tony Gladman, 22, of Woodcote Avenue, Elm Park, has created 25 paintings dedicated to the Second World War that will be shown at the Queen’s Theatre, in Billet Lane, Hornchurch, from July 29 to August 10.

Tony’s grandad, Stanley Hanchard, signed up for the Navy at the start of the war in 1939. He was 17 and not able to swim. He went into the Merchant Navy at 18. His role was blowing up shipwrecked vessels so they wouldn’t damage other boats. He was part of the Dunkirk rescue in 1940 and served as a gunner on several ships, including HMS Glendower, HMS President III and HMS Pembroke.

One of Stanley’s ships blew up. He had to hold onto shrapnel, but due to not being able to swim, could not do anything to stop a 17-year-old boy from drowning.

Tony said: “He didn’t tell many people that because I think it haunted him that he couldn’t do anything to help.”

Stanley married his childhood sweetheart, Sarah Petrie, on shore leave in October 1941.

After being demobbed, Stanley became a butcher at Smithfield Market. He died, aged 84, in 2006.

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As well as telling his 10-year-old grandson stories, Stanley also showed Tony how to draw sketches of battleships.

Tony, an electrician, said: “I want to create a meaning behind each piece of work I do so it’s different and more than just a painting.”

Tony painted through school and college but now wanted to make it less of a hobby and more of a career.