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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Griffith Baily Coale (1909-1950)

 

Dive Bombing Japanese Carriers
Griffith Baily Coale #34
Oil on canvas, circa 1942
88-188-AH

In the foreground the Kaga passes across the picture with the planes she sought so hard to launch caught on her deck like birds in a nest, helpless against the swooping eagles. At the extreme left the carrier Akagi is sending up billowing smoke, as towering columns of water geyser up around her. The carrier Soryu is burning fiercely from stem to stern under a cloud of mushrooming smoke. In the center a light cruiser's stern rises up as she makes her final plunge. On the horizon 1000-pound bombs have hit two battleships and both are begining to burn. A zero trailing smoke dives into the sea.

This painting is based on the recollections of Ensign George Gay of Torpedo 8, who watched the battle from the ocean after his plane was shot down in the first wave against the Japanese.

 

Air Attack on Japanese Carriers
Griffith Baily Coale #31
Charcoal & pastel, circa 1942
88-188-AE

 

 

 

Attack on Japanese Cruisers Mogami and Mikuma from Air
Griffith Baily Coale #33
Charcoal, circa 1942
88-188-AG



On the last day of the battle the two heavy cruisers the Mogami and Mikuma were attacked by American forces. The Mogami was heavily damaged and escaped, but the Mikuma was not so lucky.

 

Mikuma Capsizing at Sunset - Battle of Midway
Griffith Baily Coale #29
Charcoal, circa 1942
88-188-AC

 

 

Deserted and gaunt, the sea around her stained with her thick black blood, the Mikuma capsizes to port and sinks as the setting sun disappears in the west.

 

Blitzed Oil Tanks
Griffith Baily Coale #24
Oil on canvas, 1942
88-188-X

The tanks filled with useless sludge burst into flames and send their black smoke rolling up like a smaller Pear Harbor during the attack on Midway Islands on June 4th. When the fire had ceased and the smoke had blown away, there remained burnt trees naked against the colorful sea, with a white sand dike surrounding the distorted shapes - the one at the right like a dead sperm whale in a dry pond.

 

Sinking Sun
Griffith Baily Coale #28
Oil on canvas, 1942
88-188-AB



A Marine stands at parade rest on the bow of a PT boat as she moves slowly out to sea from Midway to give decent burial to Japanese fliers shot down on the islands during the battle. The red ball of the rising sun is prophetically repeated by the round disc and spreading rays of the sinking sun.

 

Busy Fremantle--Busy Mother
Griffith Baily Coale #40
Charcoal drawing, 1944
88-188-AN

 

At the narrow mouth of the Swan River, which flows into the Indian Ocean on Australia's western coast, is the port of Fremantle, Australia. Here tenders overhauled submarines. This picture shows the USS Pelias in the midest of her arduous duties, her people swarming over the subs, while their crews were ashore for well-earned leave. Before arriving in Fremantle the USS Pelias was present during the attack on Pearl Harbor and afterwards performed seventy-five complete overhauls of the ships there.

 

Lookouts--U.S. Submarine
Griffith Baily Coale #44
Charcoal drawing, 1944
88-188-AR

 

 

Rolling along the blue surface of the Indian Ocean, lookouts search the empty sky and the sea. They look for everyone, friend or foe. Besides these five men, just aft was the Junior Officer and his lookout, also watching. The man at the top of the periscope sheers spotted a distant sub on the surface. There was no recod of one of our boats in this vicinity. In ten seconds every man is below, the hatch bangs shut, the deck tips forward and they disappear below the vast surface of the ocean. Later they rise to pericope height, the Captain makes a sweep. "Blow the tanks- equalize the pressure - crack the hatch - Lookouts up!" In ten seconds the lookouts are back on deck searching.

 

Battle Surface
Griffith Baily Coale #45
Charcoal drawing, 1944
88-188-AS


A few seconds ago the small Japanese freighter was plowing along the surface of the sea. Suddenly there burst out of the depths close by her, an American submarine. Before the water has sluiced from the subs decks men in blue apear from her bridge, man the guns and start firing. The freighter was to small to waste a "fish" on.

 

Online Exhibits that feature Griffith Baily Coale's work

A View from the Periscope
The Battle of Midway
World War II Navy Art: A Vision of History

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26 April 2000