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“Dazzle” seems to be one of the big stories for the First World War centenary, and HMS President, moored on the Thames has been specially “dazzled” for the centenary. More on President in the next post, but what is this dazzle ?


Dazzle painting of ships was introduced in the First World War as a direct response to German submarine attacks on Allied shipping. It was hoped that painting a ship with complex patterns of different colours would distort how it looked from a submarine, making it harder to torpedo the ship. Supported by the Admiralty, artist Norman Wilkinson set up a Dazzle Section at the Royal Academy. Staffed by art students, it developed hundreds of paint schemes for all shapes and sizes of craft and in all, about 2000 ships were ‘dazzled’


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