Infantryman (Portuguese)Small, dark, lively, in all his movements, in gestures, dressed in a soft grey uniform, he has left his sun drenched country, where palm trees rise in the clear air, where the gold coloured wine matures next to the sea. With his brothers he has been set up in the trenches of Picardy, with nothing to break the view but trunks of apple trees, savagely decapitated, nothing but the undulating plain, punctuated with low ruins. He has held on there under the rain, under the snow, under the shells and if the great tide has swept him away, he has nonetheless voluntarily brought to a holy cause, hard work, sacrifices, and his life if necessary.
Information from the artist's journal recorded in his biography gives his name as Hosé D' Azevedo Lobo da Veiga (1891-1973), born in Lagos, Algarve, Portugal. He was a musician, pianist and composer, who stayed on in France after the war for a few years and eventually returned to a successful career including a film score and recordings. Burnand describes how he entertained the family on their piano, playing frenetic arpeggios, and marches that were befitting a cinema.
Portugal entered the war in 1916 and sent an expeditionary force of 55,000 to France in 1917.