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War Around the World

Preparing to Leave

At Sea / England

North Africa / Middle East

India & Ceylon


Going Home

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War Around the World Introduction

On June 12, 1942, Griff flew out of Pearl Harbor and returned to New York. He spent the next 16 months catching up on his painting and writing Victory at Midway. Someday I will go back and cover this period but I want to get to the part of his story that prompted me to start this project in the first place.

This section is taken from his weekly and fortnightly progress reports that he sent in to the Captain Leland P. Lovette (Director of Public Realations for the Navy). The reports for the previous year had been pretty minimal, just reporting which painting he was working and other activities. It was just the bare facts.

Griff was anxious to travel around the world visiting the different war zones gathering material for more paintings and another book. He left on this trip December 2, 1943. At this time his reports became very detailed since he was planning on using these reports as a basis for the book. He returned to Washington, D.C., June 17, 1944. On June 22 he wrote the following letter to Captain Lovette with the subject: Report of Duty recently completed and Recommendations for Future Employment.


1. In accordance with the orders of the Navy Department, I departed from New York on December 2, 1945, in S.S. QUEEN MARY for the United Kingdom, requesting orders from Admiral Stark as per instructions from my Office in Washington, to continue eastward to the Southeast Asia Area, and having carried out my duty to the best of my ability and having got all the material that I could hold, I followed Paragraph 2 of my basic orders; "2. Upon completion of this temporary duty and when directed by proper authority, you will return to Washington, D.C., via such transportation as may be available, including via air, and resume your regular duties." It turned out to be most advantageous to my duty to continue eastward around the world and I arrived in Washington on June 17, 1944. During this period I submitted fortnightly reports of my activities to the Director of Public Relations. This paper embodies the highlights of my trip and recommendations for my future employment.


(a) I proceeded from New York to the United Kingdom in the S.S. QUEEN MARY. During the voyage I served as Commanding Officer of naval personnel embarked as passengers.

(b) I spent from December 9, 1945 to January 4, 1944, in the United Kingdom; mostly in London. During this time I visited many of the principal headquarters, and discussed current operations and general conditions with many officers of the various services.

(c) I proceeded by air from London to the Cairo Area via Marrekech and other points along the North African coast.

(d) I arrived in Cairo on January 6th and during my stay had ample opportunity to collect data for painting and to visit and observe all the principal military activities, using this city as a base to operate from to cover naval installations in Alexandria and other eastern Mediterranean ports.

(e) From Cairo on March 3rd I proceeded by air to the Southeast Asia Command in India, where I visited Karachi, New Delhi, Colombo, Trincomalee and other military areas, where I obtained much data for paintings. Again I had unsurpassed opportunities of visiting military installations and personages, including the privilege of having lunch with Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, I remained in the Indian and Ceylon Areas from March 4th to April 15th, and in a British combat ship under that jurisdiction until April 23rd.

(f) From the Indian Area I proceeded to Freemantle, Australia, in H.M.S. CUMBERLAND (a heavy cruiser). The ship was engaged in anti-raider activity and convoying two big American troopships across the eastern portion of the Indian Ocean. This phase was particularly interesting as it gave me an opportunity to observe Royal Navy customs and practices in the light of our own.

(g) I remained in the Western Australia Area from April 25rd to May 15th, largely under the kindly patronage of Rear Admiral Christie. During this period I went by U.S. Submarine from Perth to Exmouth Gulf (returning by air), as submarines are doing by far the most important duty in this area.

(h) From Perth I proceeded in the submarine tender, U.S.S. PELIAS, to San Francisco, as the best possible way of completing my submarine coverage and affording further opportunity of adding to the painting record of the whole submarine operation. En route the ship's only touch with land was a three day stop at Pearl Harbor. From San Francisco I returned to Washington by commercial air.


As a professional painter and in my capacity as a Public Relations Officer of the United States Navy, I was constantly on the lookout for colorful and interesting material. In accordance with my general verbal directive from the Office of Public Relations and with the written confirmation in Commander Long's letter of February 1st, passing the word from Captain Lovette to continue my long carefully detailed reports in the same way, I managed to return confidentially by pouch some 150,000 words that can be used, if the Office so wishes, together with some fifty paintings, as a book similar to the two previous ones which I have had published, since joining the Navy, "North Atlantic Patrol" and "Victory at Midway". (...)


Griff's superiors didn't think a book was warranted and it never happened. I understand that he did start a manuscript but it was never finished. This section will be the 150,000 words that he wrote in his progress reports. 

This was not reporting the military in battle; it was reporting the day to day life of the soldiers and sailors between battles.

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