This work is a secondary version of Gribble's massive original painting which now hangs in the United States' Naval Academy Museum at Annapolis, Maryland, and which was executed for Rear-Admiral William S. Sims, U.S.N., after the Great War.
The paintings commemorate the arrival of the squadron of six American destroyers off Queenstown on 4th May 1917 which had been sent by Sims in response to an urgent request for aid from the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. The squadron was under the command of Commander Joseph K. Taussig, U.S.N., and had been ordered to prepare for its transatlantic mission on 10th April, a mere four days after the formal declaration of War between the United States and Germany. The arrival of this first squadron to assist the hard-pressed Royal Navy during Germany's unrestricted U-boat campaign against merchant shipping was timely in the extreme and, as further squadrons followed, the tide of battle in the North Atlantic gradually began to turn in the allies' favour.
The allusion to the Mayflower in the title to these works is a reference to the legendary early sixteenth century vessel which carried the so-called 'Pilgrim Fathers' to the New World in 1620; the arrival of the American destroyers to assist in the fight against Germany in 1917 was seen by contemporaries as something equally profound and an action which would have the same far-reaching consequences.
Coincidentally, the preparatory oil sketch for Gribble's original picture was recently offered in Christie's Maritime Sale in New York on 10th February 2004 (lot 138).