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Ahoy! WW1 Naval Artists Lieutenants Esmond & Hal Atkinson


Sat 19 Nov 2016, 10:00am–5:00pm
Sun 20 Nov 2016, 10:00am–5:00pm
Mon 21 Nov 2016, 10:00am–5:00pm
Tue 22 Nov 2016, 10:00am–5:00pm
Wed 23 Nov 2016, 10:00am–5:00pm

Where: Alfred Memelink Artspace Gallery, 223 The Esplanade Petone, Lower Hutt, Wellington Region

Restrictions: All Ages

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  • Admission: Free
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Listed by: Claire Clark

WW1 naval artworks by New Zealanders are rare and this collection has been loaned from a private collection to coincide with the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary celebrations in November 2016. The Atkinson Brothers were Royal Navy Volunteer Reservists and this exhibition honours the men and women of many nations who served in all naval forces and merchant marine shipping in WW1. A plaque acknowledges that thirteen ships of the Royal Navy and Imperial German Navy featured in the exhibition are veterans of the Battle of Jutland.

From 1916-1918 the Atkinson brothers, Esmond and Hal, of York Bay, Wellington served in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve on patrol in the English Channel and the North Sea. They shared a love of the sea, sailing and sketching. This exhibition features 80 small pen and ink sketches from their naval service days. Esmond, an accomplished artist of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, made detailed sketches of the Grand Fleet including Dreadnoughts, Battlecruisers, and Destroyers. He sketched the fleet at sea in wild weather, in the calm back at port, flying kite balloons, painted in dazzle and bearing torpedo booms. He often sketched on the back of flimsy paper acquired from Official Record pads used in the ship’s Signals Office.

His younger brother Hal was 20 years old and his sketches express a witty view on naval life with an officer's rank based on the size of his telescope. Hal often sketched the moments when there were unexpected encounters at sea such as bumping into mines, U-Boats surfacing close by, damaged shipping, and salvaging a white ensign which they flew as they returned to base.

The exhibition is now open until November 23. The 1.5m Warrior Class model ship built by Graham Beeson is on display, painted in black and white zebra stripes as "dazzle camouflage". It is fitted with torpedo booms and nets and signal flags. Children can decipher the signal flags and look for the tiny figures of Hal and Esmond on the ship.

**Decipher flag signals on the ship model HMS Warrior - All day

**Guided tours of the exhibition: Weekends Sunday 6 Nov 2pm - 4pm; Sunday 13 Nov 11am-1pm: Conducted by Commander Denis Fairfax RNZN

**Poetry & Book readings: Weekdays 7, 9, 14, 16 Nov 11.45am: Lawry Sutherland reads from Es Atkinson’s diary & poems of the sea .

**Contemporary art exhibition “Salute Wellington” with works for sale.

** Book reading - Week days 14, 16 Nov 11am Julia Stuart discusses her new book “Half a world away—Eastbourne in wartime 1899-1928”

Special WW1 Commemorative Event:
WW1 Singalong on Petone Beach & Wreath Laying in the waves - Sunday, 13 Nov 1:30pm - 3pm.

This is a WW1 Remembrance Service on Petone Beach beside the Wharf. Free song sheets, bring deck chairs and floral tributes to place along the shore. Medals may be worn. Come and support the TS Tamatoa Sea Cadets and St James Sea Scouts as they row boats, lay wreaths in the waves and perform a naval salute.

Programme: 1:30pm WW1 Singalong on Petone Beach with the 7th Wellington Battalion Band. 2pm the MV Straitsman sails towards Petone and will sound her horn as a salute to Merchant Navies of WW1. The Citizen's Service on the beach then commences and is to remember those souls of all nations who sailed over the sea, may have fought at sea and may have died at sea during WW1. The service will end with the singing of Now is the Hour.

These events are sponsored by Hutt City Council, Lottery World War One Environment and Heritage Committee of the Lottery Grants Board, New Zealand Micrographic Services, NEC New Zealand, Royal New Zealand Navy and Alfred Memelink Artspace Gallery.

Contact Claire Clark - Event Manager: Phone - 04 236 7928 or email -