NZ'S FIRST WORLD WAR CENTENARY 2014–2019

Ahoy! WW1 naval artists Lieutenants Esmond & Hal Atkinson RNVR

A naval war art exhibition of brothers Esmond & Hal Atkinson's pen & ink sketches of service in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve at Petone from 3-23 November 2016.

No Dam Good No.2 by Hal Atkinson

First World War naval artworks by New Zealanders are rare and this collection of pen and ink sketches has been loaned from a private collection to coincide with the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary celebrations in November 2016. The Atkinson Brothers were Royal Navy Volunteer Reservists and this exhibition honours the men and women of many nations who served in all naval forces and merchant marine shipping in the First World War.

From 1916-1918 the Atkinson brothers, Esmond and Hal, of York Bay, Wellington served in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve on patrol in the English Channel and North Sea. They shared a love of the sea, sailing and sketching. This exhibition features 80 small pen and ink sketches from their naval service days. Esmond, an accomplished artist of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, made detailed sketches of the Grand Fleet including Dreadnoughts, Battlecruisers and Destroyers. He sketched the fleet at sea in wild weather, in the calm back at port, flying kite balloons, painted in dazzle and bearing torpedo booms. He often sketched on the back of flimsy paper acquired from Official Record pads used in the ship’s Signals Office.

His younger brother Hal was 20 years old and his sketches express a witty view on naval life with an officer’s rank based on the size of his telescope. Hal often sketched the moments when there were unexpected encounters at sea such as bumping into mines, U Boats surfacing close by, damaged shipping, and salvaging a white ensign which they flew as they returned to base. 

The exhibition will also include ship models with the largest being a Warrior Class ship, built by New Zealand model maker Graham Beeson, painted in dazzle camouflage and fitted with torpedo booms and nets. There will be book readings by Lawry Sutherland, a notable Petone JP, reading extracts from Esmond’s war diary letters published in 1946 and Julia Stuart will introduce her new book, Half a World Away – Eastbourne in Wartime 1899-1928. Visitors may also view an exhibition of contemporary art for sale in the “Salute Wellington” exhibition. Entry to the exhibition is free and more information can be found here

The exhibition complements another First World War event being held in November at Petone. The Wreath Laying in the Waves WW1 Remembrance Service is a citizen’s service being held at Petone Beach to lay wreaths in the waves to remember those souls of all nations who sailed over the sea, may have fought at sea and may have died at sea during the First World War. The event will be held on Sunday 13 November, 1.30pm at TS Tamatoa beside Petone Wharf. More information on the event is at http://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2016/wreath-laying-in-the-waves-ww1-remembra...

These events are sponsored by Hutt City Council, Lottery World War One Environment and Heritage Committee of the Lottery Grants Board, New Zealand Micrographic Services, NEC New Zealand, Royal New Zealand Navy and Alfred Memelink Artspace Gallery.

Contact Claire Clark, Event Manager, ph 04 236 7928 email ww1splash@gmail.com

Click on the image to view full size
Up another! (with apologies) by Hal Atkinson
HMS Glorious with a Kite Balloon by Esmond Atkinson
Caroline Class by Esmond Atkinson
Brothers Esmond and Hal Atkinson
This activity is being worked on from
10 Jun 2016
 to 
01 Dec 2016
Date added: 30 August 2016 | Last updated: 29 March 2017
| Contact:
Claire Clark
| Email:

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