HMS NEW ZEALAND leaving Gibraltar
. Watercolour signed and dated 1914.
6 x 14 ins (15 x 35.5 cms) approx
Price on application
This original has been sold and is no longer available.
Its hard to place the exact date of this scene because although dated by Frank Wood 1914, features on the battle cruiser accord more closely with her state in 1913 than a year later. No record can be found of her visiting Gib in either year but as the huge base with its generous harbour and dockyard and dry docks was treated almost as a Home Port so frequently did ships drop in on a routine basis to obtain fuel, stores or dockyard support, it would not necessarily attract much interest in the records available.
Captain Lionel Halsey CMG RN had commisioned the ship (whose building was generously financed by the New Zealand government) in November 1912 and he was to remain in command until June 1915 when relieved by Captain John Green RN: we know therefore that he, Halsey, was her commanding officer in this painting.
It is less easy to explain whose flag she is wearing at the foretopmast as she was not an established flagship at any time before the war. But she's in Gib waters and maybe Captain Halsey had invited the Senior Officer Gibraltar, Vice Admiral F E E Brock CB, to come out with the ship as she sailed from Gib: his barge would collect him an hour or so out into the Bay after he'd had a quick look round the new ship. Or if the sea state made that an unsuitable choice, a destroyer would instead do the transfer and take the admiral back to his HQ ashore. The watercolour does not quite allow us to see whether it is indeed a vice admiral's flag fluttering up there!