image: The crowded deck of a ship, all watching the events of the Neptune Ceremony. On the right is Neptune and men are being pushed into the swimming pool as a penalty.
Gross began an eight-week voyage on board 'Highland Monarch' in late November 1941. The ship sailed from Avonmoth to Suez via Sierra Leone, the Cape, the Indian Ocean and Aden. He finally made his base at Cairo in early 1942. On board the ship, Gross completed his 'Convoy Series', depicting mess decks, parades, scenes of instruction and entertainment on board ship. The Neptune Ceremony is an old seafaring tradition when a ship crosses the equator. Those on board who have never crossed before must undergo a trial and punishment from Neptune, ruler of the sea. Once the penalty has been carried out, the sailor gets a certificate to say that he has joined the brotherhood of seafarers.
War Artists Advisory Committee commission
Anthony Gross 1941