War artist Arthur Lismer captured the return of the troopship SS Olympic (centre) to Halifax harbour following the First World War. Olympic’s multi-coloured dazzle camouflage, added in 1917 at the height of the German U-Boat threat, was intended to make the ship more difficult to identify and target.
The painting also provides a glimpse of the busy Halifax dockyard, Canada’s principal wartime naval base. Pressed into service in 1915, Olympic became one of the war’s most famous troop ships. Affectionately known as “Old Reliable,” Olympic would carry over 200,000 British, American, and Canadian troops to and from the fighting fronts. [The original painting is held in the Canadian War Museum: Beaverbrook Collection of War Art CWM 19710261-0343 ]