Carr, Leslie (1885 - 1948):
Merchant Ships Tethered with Barrage Balloons, and a Dazzle Camouflage Destroyer
Framed (ref: 9612)
This dramatic World War II scene shows a dazzle camouflaged Royal Navy destroyer (or frigate), with her white ensign visible at the stern, dashing forward to offer safe passage to various assembled Merchant ships. The one on the right, with a tug or pilot boat nestling at its bow, has at least one lifeboat swung out - a precaution taken when travelling in perilous convoys (in case of attack by submarines or aircraft). Alternatively, the life boat may have been swung out for another reason - these ships are clearly close to shore and only the Royal Navy ship is shown to be moving. The Merchant ships have barrage balloons tethered to them to make air attack more difficult, and none has a bow wave. For this reason it is likely that this painting shows a convey assembled in a British estuary such as the Mersey, getting ready for an outward voyage to North America, Africa, or the East. The fact that the ships are high out of the water suggests they're sailing empty, to return with cargoes of grain, oil, or the numerous provisions required to feed Britain and fight the war.