The image is reproduced again below but in higher definition.
Fig. 1. Babcock, R. F. “Join the Navy the Service for Fighting Men” 1917
Fig. 2. Ruther, P. “Chet Johnson on Lipstick & Whiskey” (2011)
The distinctive feature of Babcock’s image is the sailor’s pose. He is in effect, riding the torpedo. The image reminds me of a rodeo rider. Figure 2, above, illustrates such a rider (Chet Johnson). The similarity of the poses are clear to see.
I suspect that for most British people of my age, the first meaning assigned to an apple is the christian one of temptation and sin. This is beautifully illustrated by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; please refer to figure 1 below.
Fig. 1, Michelangelo “The Downfall of Adam and eve and their expulsion from The Garden of Eden” (1509)
This is not, however, the only christian symbolism assigned to the apple. In figure 2 below, the infant Christ holds an apple as a symbol that he will not be tempted by sin; a sign that Jesus has come to conquer evil.
This apple ambiguity can be seen in other forms of symbolism. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but when snow white succumbed to the offer of an apple she fell into a long sleep.