Tommy Walls, by John Worsley
Tommy Walls

John Worsley was a British illustrator and comic artist, as well as one of the few British war artists. Born John Godfrey Bernard Worsley in Liverpool, he spent his childhood on a coffee farm in Kenya. He attended Goldsmiths' School of Arts, and was appointed Official Naval War Artist during the early days of World War II. He was a midshipman with the Royal Navy and sketched his fellow sailors on the armed merchant ship Laurentic. When it was sunk by a German U-boat in 1940, he was rescued by a destroyer, but not before sketching the sinking from his lifeboat. He was later a war artist while he took part in the Allied landings in Sicily and the Italian mainland, and was later a prisoner in the POW camp Marlag-O, where he also documented prison life in his drawings. 

PC49 by John Worsley

Back in England, he opened his own studio and painting portraits of high-ranking officers for the Admiralty. He later started working for the comic book Eagle as one of the many 'Tommy Walls' artists. In 1951, he took over the popular comic strip 'PC49' from Strom Gould, a feature he also drew for the annuals published from 1951 until 1955. He was additionally present in Eagle's female counterpart Girl with features like 'Belle of the Ballet'.

Belle of the Ball by John Worsley
Belle of the Ballet (from French magazine Line, 1957)

In the late 1960s, Worsley became the police sketch artist for Scotland Yard, producing more than 1,000 sketches of suspects from victims' descriptions. He also created color illustrations for television readings of children's stories and painted portraits of British military leaders. His wartime sketches were collected in 'John Worsley's War', that was published in Britain in 1993.

P.C. 49, by John Worsley (1953)
P.C. 49 (1953)

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