XXVI. The Torpedoed Sussex at Boulogne 1916

‘The Sussex’ was a French passenger ship that was torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1916. The ship was severely damaged and many passengers were killed, but it remained afloat and was eventually towed into Boulogne harbour. At that time, the artist James McBey (1883-1959) was working nearby as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Printing and Stationary Office. Sketching was a forbidden activity for those not working as Official War Artists, but this did not deter McBey from making surreptitious studies whenever he could (sometimes he completed tiny drawings in the palm of his hand or even inside his pocket). In order to create this print, he visited ‘The Sussex’ with his friend Martin Hardie, who recalled how ‘[n]ight after night we went to look at her tragic hull…and gradually, [McBey] evolved what is one of the noblest, most spiritual of his plates.’

Object Details

ID: PAF5446
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: McBey, James
Places: Unlinked place
Vessels: Sussex (1896) [British?]
Date made: 1916
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Reproduced with kind permission of the family of James and Marguerite McBey
Measurements: Mount: 405 mm x 556 mm

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