Show Notes: Dazzle Camouflage

Tracy Wilson

November 1918: Airmen and seamen cheering King George V from the aircraft carrier Argus on his visit to the Fleet at Rosyth, on the Firth of Forth. Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Ever wondered why the British Royal Navy painted ships so strikingly during World War I? The patterns were meant to confuse the men manning the periscopes aboard German U-boats, which had been making short work of British vessels. While British Royal Navy lieutenant and artist Norman Wilkinson is usually credited with the idea, another man, naturalist John Graham Kerr, claimed that he had the idea three years earlier.

We have several pieces of listener mail on our La Scala Opera House episode. They are from Isabella, Aaron and Benjamin.

Episode link: Dazzle Camouflage

For more knowledge: How Military Camouflage Works

Holly's research:

  • Brown, Mark. "First world war dazzle painting revived on ships in Liverpool and London." The Guardian. July 14, 2014.
  • "Dazzle Camouflage."
  • Dunne, Carey. "World War One-Era Ships Redone In 'Dazzle Camouflage.'" Fast Company. July 16, 2014.
  • Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. "Sir John Graham Kerr."
  • "How did an artist help Britain fight the war at sea?" BBC.
  • LaGrone, Sam. "Camouflaged Ships, An Illustrated History." U.S. Naval Institute. March 1, 2013.
  • Murphy, Hugh and Martin Bellamy. "The Dazzling Zoologist." Canadian Nautical Research Society.
  • Pappas, Stephanie. "Bold 'Razzle Dazzle' Camouflage Fools the Eye." Live Science. Dec. 3, 2013.

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