Russell Hughes Rabjohn was just eighteen years old when he joined the Canadian Armed Forces to fight in the First World War. In more than three years of soldiering, he experienced everything from a carefree leave in Paris to the anguish of seeing his friends die around him. Like many soldiers, he defied army regulations and recorded his experiences in a small pocket diary. What made Private Rabjohn different was that he was a trained artist and, while he worked sketching dugouts and captured enemy trenches, he was allowed to carry a full-sized artist’s sketchbook around the battlefields. He put that flexibility to good use, creating beautifully rendered drawings of everything he saw.
With no surviving veterans of the First World War, Rabjohn’s sketches are an unmatched visual record of a lost time. Either as a teaching resource or a dramatic coffee-table book A Soldier's Sketchbook is unique. Pick up a copy at your local bookstore or order online from
Reclaiming Lost Voices: The Words and Pictures of First World War Veterans—a presentation for grades 6 to 12
Using Rabjohn's work and research that he has undertaken for his eight books set around the First World War, John will be touring across Canada in late October/early November 2017. Using actual quotes, soldier's artwork and archival photographs, John will talk about: his research, understanding and appreciating voices from the past, and the memorialization and and importance of the First World War in the 21st century.
To be a part of this tour or for more information on schedules and costs, visit the
page of this website or
contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org