When my not-yet editor Susan Rich first sent me Lindsay Mattick's manuscript for Finding Winnie, she described it as "full of wonderful things to bring to life; a sea of white tents at the army barracks, a parade of ships crossing the ocean in 1914, The London Zoo..."
From the very beginning I was excited to paint the parade of ships.
"Nobody had ever tried to float so many people and animals across the Atlantic Ocean before.
Thirty ships sailed together, carrying about 36,000 men, and about 7,500 horses...
and about one bear named Winnie."
I sketched the image above, which was how I imagined the parade. I read that Harry and Winnie had been on board the S.S. Manitou, one of the many merchant ships escorted by warships in formation across the Atlantic Ocean.
It was pretty easy to find an image of the S.S. Manitou.
I could have just made up the other ships, but I thought, there are people who are serious about ships, and they will know I just made them up. So I went looking for reference photographs of the convoy. This was the only one I could find. It was war, after all, and the Canadian army didn't want the enemy to know they were coming, so people probably weren't encouraged to take snapshots.Lieutenant Commander Norman Wilkinson,
called Canada's Answer, which gave me a few more clues.