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WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

The Navy Art of Standish Backus


Corsairs Fringe Fuji
Standish Backus #16
Watercolor & , 1945


Mount Fuji, for all that it means to the Japanese, has proved a warm friend of American pilots not only during wartime raids but during the occupation. During routine patrols Marine pilots often went out of their way to buzz the sacred slopes.


The Emperor’s Cruiser Aoba
Standish Backus #17
Watercolor, 1945


Near the great Kure Naval Base lies a dozen capital ships--on the bottom. When the bottom is near the surface these ships resemble tangled briar patches as torn as they are by bombs and torpedoes. Enhancing this effect are the quantities of dead branches and latticework applied in futile attempt to camouflage. Among them is Aoba.


Yokosuka Airfield and Tokyo Bay During the American Occupation
Standish Backus #19
Watercolor, 1945


While units of the U.S. Third Fleet and/or The Fifth Fleet ride at anchor off shore and in the tight little harbor, planes of Marine Air Group 31 operate from the field. This field was the Japanese main naval air experimental station and possessed many advanced types and facilities. Typical of Japanese terrain development is the cut-and-fill construction seen here. There are large hangars and shops dug back under the hills. To the left is a boneyard of junked Japanese planes including a few shot-up United States jobs.


Hiroshima, 1945
Standish Backus #20
Watercolor, 1945

At 1:45 AM on August the sixth, 1945, the B-29 "Enola Gay" took off from Tinian Island; at 8:15 it dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima which killed 78,150 Japanese. This total is the recorded number.


This was Hyuga
Standish Backus #22
Watercolor, 1946


She sits like an old hog with a burned bristle right on the bottom of the Bay of Niro - near the Naval Kure Base. She had been converted to part aircraft carrier and in the latter years of the war accomplished very little. From the manner in which she has been battered one would doubt that she even had a chance - or the men aboard her.


Garden at Hiroshima, Autumn
Standish Backus #23
Watercolor, 1946



Uncompleted Flattop on the Bottom
Standish Backus #26
Watercolor, 1946


This large size carrier never got to sea but was relieved of further duties by Admiral Halsey's planes in their strike at the Kure area in July 1945. Somehow it did look a lot better on the bottom, aesthetically and otherwise.


Here, Near Kure, They Found the Soryo
Standish Backus #28
Watercolor, Pen and Ink, 1946



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01 August 2001