Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dazzle Camouflaged Duo

These are two British dazzle-camouflaged ships from World War I. At first glance they may appear to be two photographs of the same ship, partly because of position of course, or even two prints of one photo. On closer look, it becomes apparent that not only are these two distinctly different photographs, the two ships and their camouflage schemes are also different. The one at the top is the SS Empress Russia, while shown below that is the SS Osterley. An original print of the top photograph is in the collection of the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool, England. The printed source for the other image is uncertain, but it seems a safe assumption that both were made in 1918 by a Liverpool photography firm called Stewart Bale Ltd. The Merseyside Maritime Archives and Library houses a Stewart Bale Collection. It is also a safe assumption that the camouflage for both ships was designed by British naval camoufleurs, headed by marine painter Norman Wilkinson. Below is a later photo of the starboard side of the SS Osterley, taken on November 11, 1918 in New York Habor, when the ship was wearing victory flags.