STORY BY ROBERT AMOS
E.J. Hughes attended the Vancouver School of Art from 1929-1935, and was recognized as the most talented artist of his generation on the West Coast. But the Great Depression made an art career impossible at that time. Reflecting on the years he had enjoyed as a cadet, he enlisted in the army on Aug. 30, 1939, just days before the commencement of the Second World War.
Hughes had joined the artillery, but almost from the start he had higher ambitions. Through his teachers, Fred Varley and Charles H. Scott, Hughes was aware of the War Art Program of the First World War, and he began writing to his superiors, asking for a role as a war artist. At the time, there was no war art program, but early in 1941 he was posted to Ottawa as one of the first three “service artists” in the Canadian Army.