Fort Ogilvie, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Tinning at Fort Ogilvie. Photo Credit: Frank L. Duberville, Photographic Unit, DND

On June 15th, 1943 Tinning accompanied two Public Relations officers to Fort Ogilvie – a defence installation in Point Pleasant Park at the south end of Halifax overlooking the harbour. Setting up his easel and a canvas the artist posed, palette in hand, for publicity photos. [At left is one found in Tinning’s estate.] A similar photo published in The Standard (Montreal) on July 17th, 1943 is captioned: “In the Canadian Army you meet everyone from cooks and engineers to artists. Here you see Lieutenant George Campbell Tinning, Montreal artist, who is attached to the Canadian Army Historical Section, at work on an oil painting of a camouflaged gun position at an Atlantic Command outpost…”

The photo illustrated an article “Canadian Artists in Action” written by Lieutenant R. Haviland, one of the Public Relations officers who accompanied Tinning to Fort Ogilvie, and published on Saturday, July 17, 1943 on the Art Page of The Standard newspaper

“Target! Vessel moving left; forty-five degrees; left two; at two hundred; fire!” The order is barked and the big coastal gun swings an arc as the men snap into action. But while the practise drill continues, down behind the gun stands an officer. In front of him, rather incongruously is a portable easel with a piece of canvas stretches across it. In one hand he carries a palette with dabs of freshly mixed paint, and in the other a brush. He is busy at work on an oil painting.

The scene is one of many, lonely Atlantic Command outposts, where men of the Canadian Army are on duty as are the soldiers. He is Lieut. George Campbell Tinning of Montreal. He is one of the group of artists attached to the historical section of the army headed by Col. A. Fortesque Duguid, D.S.O., whose task it is to record the activities of the Canadian Army both at home and overseas. They are a group of younger Canadian artists who are following in the footsteps of F.H. Varley, A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer and other well-known Canadian artists who did such splendid work during the Great War.

Camouflaged 4.7-Inch Gun 1943; oil on canvas; 45.5 x 61.0 cm; CWM #19710261-5415

While some, such as Captain Charles Comfort and Lieutenant William Ogilvie, both of Toronto, are already overseas, Lieutenant Tinning, for the present, is working in the Atlantic Command area, portraying in sketches and paintings the work of the soldiers who are guarding Canada’s eastern coast.”
The canvas that Tinning is working on in the photo is shown at right. It is is held by the Canadian War Museum.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *