During the first world war, The main deep water facilities were located at pier 2, now Jetty NB at the Dockyard, next to the Casino. (there was a land swap with the DND in the 60’s transferring the piers to Navy.) I found the Photo Above in the Cities archives, and it Matches Pretty closely to Arthur Lismer’s Painting.
During the War, she was pressed into Military service by the British admiralty in may 1915, and striped of civilian fittings, and armed as a Troop ship. She was eventually chartered by the Canadian Government for transatlantic troop movements, working in that service in 1916/1917 and receiving a Dazzle paint scheme in 1917.
The National War Museum notes that the painting was completed in 1919, and depicts Olympics arrival on Dec 14 1918. the ship was returning with 5300 soldiers, and during the war transported more then 200,000 earning the nickname old reliable.
HMCS Prince Robert in Drydock (n.d.)
Thomas Beament Was born in Ottawa. During WW I he served in the RCNVR as an ordinary seaman, then was promoted to warrant officer. Following the end of the war he returned to Osgoode Hall and completed his studies to became Barrister-at-law (1922). The same year he attended evening classes at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto. He Continued serving with the peacetime Naval Reserve, was promoted to the rank of officer in 1924 and finally Lt.-Commander, Mtl. RCNVR Division in 1930.
HMCS Iroquois (n.d.)
At the outbreak of WW II, Beament entered full-time service with the RCNVR, as a ship commander on North Atlantic patrols for three years, rose in rank to Commander (1943); then as official Canadian war artist going back to sea to paint scenes: in the Mediterranean; on convoy in the North Atlantic; in Newfoundland; making a visual record of assault landings and minesweeping duties in the English Channel. The Canadian War Museum has some 76 paintings by him.
Motor Torpedo Boats Leaving for Night Patrol off Le Havre (1945)
A Collection Of Naval Art Decorated the Chambers of the Speaker of the Senate for the Canadian Naval Centenial. You can view that collection at http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/Senate/WorkofNavalArt/index-e.html.
All Works above Are part of the Beaverbank Collection of War Art at the Canadian War Museum
Most people are familiar with grand paintings commemorating great victories and heroes of wars. These hang in galleries around the world, Including Examples such as Benjamen West’s “Death of General Wolf”, which hangs at the National Gallery of Canada.
Beyond these Examples, Fewer people Are familiar with the War Art programs of the first and Second World Wars. Artists received official Commissions form the government to document the war effort. Some of these paintings are triumphant, But most show the dramatic effects of war. The First World War had a great influence on the Group of Seven. A.Y Jackson and Frederick Varley served with the infantry, and the style of their work is different in the pre and post war periods. – Post war their landscapes almost look dead.
Arthur Lismer, another founding member of the group, spent the War in Halifax. He was at the time serving as the director of the Nova Scotia College of Art. He received a commission to Document the Activities in the Harbour.
Lismer; HMCS Grilse on Convoy Duty
Lismer; The Transport Aquitania
Lismer’s works detailed the comings and goings of ships, Harbour patrols and Mine sweeping, and serve as a vibrant reminder that the war touched us here on the home front.
One Final Footnote – The Jagged paint Schemes on the ships was called Dazzle. It was meant to Disrupt the eye and make ships courses harder to determine. It was Proposed by Painter Norman Wilkinson (who painted Canada’s Answer), In part to Discredit the Cubist Movement.
Olympic with Returned Soldiers