Dazzle ship – HMS President, London

Recently aboard the HMS President I learnt all about Dazzle ships when attending the 1418Now drinks reception. The HMS president is moored on the River Thames by the Embankment in central London. We heard talks from Professor Chris Wainwright of University Arts London and the ships Captain, Chris Cooper who also took us on a tour of the Ship.

Ships were camouflaged with a range of dazzle paintings during the First World War making it difficult for the enemy, particularly U-boats to determine which direction ships were travelling in. Making it impossible for them to plot the launch of the few missiles they carried on board. Several hundred ships a week were being sunk a week during the war. This action helped to reduce fatalities and enable vital supplies to reach mainland Britain which was fast running out of supplies.

As one of the last three surviving warships of the Royal Navy built during the First World War, the HMS President (1918), the first type of warship built specifically for anti-submarine warfare, was originally ‘dazzled’ in this way.

Source: HMS President website

It was very interesting to learn that the team used to attached the artwork (by the artist Tobias Rehberger) to the body of the ship was also responsible for the Mega poster of the Royal Family hung over the Sea Merchants building. It was hard to miss at the time!


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