The WW2 39-45 Portraits Project launched by Glyn Dewis Photography aims to honour surviving veterans by photographing as many of them as is possible. Mr Dewis hopes the projects will continue to sensitively educate the current and future younger generations about the horrors of World War 2 while highlighting those who served, survived and were lost.
Two veterans who have already had their portraits taken by Mr Dewis are Glider Pilot veterans Jim Hooper, 97, and Denzil Cooper.
The pair were reunited for the 39-45 Portraits Project Exhibition opening event at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum October 19.
Video shown on the BBC of event shows Mr Hooper and Mr Cooper warmly embracing each other from their wheelchairs and sharing a champagne toast.
Mr Cooper revealed he and Mr Hooper are the only two left from the squadron, which during World War 2 had more than 300 men.
Both the decorated veterans took part in D-Day and the Battle of Arnhem.
Speaking at the opening of the 39-45 Portraits Project Exhibition last month, Mr Hooper told the BBC: “We’d been trained to do a job and that is precisely what we’d do.
“I don’t know about Denzil but I did it with a degree of apprehension but certainly not fear.”
When Mr Cooper was asked whether he was ever afraid, he replied: “It never entered my head.
With no financial gain from the 39-45 Portraits Project, Mr Dewis hopes to raise a minimum of £50,000 by June 2020, which will be equally in support of the Veterans Charity and the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans.
Mr Dewis will also be doing a sponsored Tandem Skydive with the Red Devils in aid of both charities.
Mr Dewis said: “I started the project in early 2019 and it’s wonderful that the project has already received praise from around the world and is proving to be an incredible experience.
“I’m incredibly pleased with how well the series has taken off, and how images have already been licensed for use by the Royal Mint and have appeared in National Press.
“The project’s first exhibition opens on Saturday 19th October 2019 and runs for 3 months at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock, Oxfordshire; further exhibitions are planned for France, Holland and the USA.
“I don’t ever see myself stopping this project. As corny as it may sound, I truly feel that I am doing what I was meant to do; the reason I found photography.
“With regards to the future of the project, clearly our World War 2 veterans are very elderly, so my priority is to photograph as many as I can over the coming years before we sadly lose them.
“I want family members to have photographs they can treasure and that can remain in their families for years to come.”
To find out more about the 39-45 Portraits Project visit: https://www.3945portraits.com/