On May 12, 1982, Linda Kitson departed Southampton port on the recently requisitioned QE2. There, she was virtually the only woman on board, travelling with three-thousand men on a fourteen-day journey that took her thirteen-thousand kilometres away from home. Her assignment had come as a commission from the Artistic Records Committee of the Imperial War Museum – making her the first officially commissioned female war artist.
At this point in her career, Kitson had already established a strong reputation for creating reportage illustration. She had already documented a number of impressive events, including a behind-the-scenes look at life at The Times – as well as creating a series of drawings to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the BBC.
For this particular task, Kitson knew that the commission would offer her something unique. “I knew that [it] would give me the chance to see and experience new drawing opportunities,” she wrote in the introduction to the Falklands Visual Diary (1982). She also believed that the commission might help her to serve something outside of herself. “[Illustrators] work alone a great deal" she noted, "and it is easy to become introspective [...] I hoped that by working among thousands of troops, something would emerge.”