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Whales Mistaken for Submarines

Major collection: Hart Nautical
Named collection: Allan Forbes Collection
Object type: photograph
Maker: Illustrated London News
Place made: United Kingdom, Greater London, London
Date made: 1919
Materials: ink; paper; mounting
Measurements: 14 3/4 in x 10 in
Nomenclature: historical
Classification: whales

Page from the Illustrated London News with two half-tone photographs illustrating how whales, when seen from the air, could be easily mistaken for German U-boats. At top is printed the title, "The War in the Air Exhibition: Whales Mistaken for Submarines", and below, in subtitle, "From the R.A.F. Exhibition of Coloured Photographs at the Grafton Galleries". Top image is captioned, "A Whale swimming under water photographed from the air: showing the resemblance to a submarine which caused many to be bombed." Below, an image showing the back of a surfacing whale, with the caption "A "Neutral" of the seas often mistaken for a U-boat: an air photograph of a large whale spotted from a British air-ship." Below this is the following paragraph: "The War in the Air Exhibition of coloured photographs, illustrating the wonderful work of the Royal Air Force during the war, is one of extraordinary interest. It is being held at the Grafton Galleries, in Grafton Street, New Bond Street, and the opening ceremony, performed by Major-General the Right Hon. J.E.B. Seely, was arranging to take place on April 2. The photographs on this page show how easy it was for observers in the air to mistake a whale for a submarine. In half-lights, these huge monsters bore a strong resemblance to a submerged U-boat, and, as the rule in war was "When in doubt, bomb," a good many of them were killed by our aircraft." Page is dated April [8?], 1919.