The "Return of the Mayflower" commemorates the arrival of the first American destroyers sent to aid the British in World War I. The painting shows destroyers approaching Queenstown, Ireland on May 4, 1917 to help hunt down German submarines that were fast cutting off transport to England. The fishermen in the boats on the left are welcoming the destroyers. The arrival of these American ships was commemorated in this historic painting by the British artist Bernard Gribble. [The So-Called]"Return of the Mayflower," the ship which over 300 years earlier had brought British settlers to the New World.
Franklin D. Roosevelt purchased the painting when it was completed and it was shipped to the U.S. Navy Department in Washington D.C. where Franklin D. Roosevelt had his office as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy. After Franklin D. Roosevelt left the Navy department, his painting was displayed in the entrance hall of his home in Hyde Park and later in the Oval Room of the White House.