In this, the second chapter on the subject of nose art in WW2, I am going to write about phrases or names used on the aircraft. The pilots and crews used their imaginations, intelligence and humour to convey their thoughts and emotions.
Some crews sent a message to the enemy, others used the opportunity to remind themselves of loved ones. Probably the most famous of these names was on the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb, the “Enola Gay”. This aircraft was named in honour of the mother of the pilot, Col. Paul Tibbets.
A lot of the pilots used a phrase that they thought best described their aircraft and the work it did, or the results they wanted; the following picture highlights this.
This also lets us know how many planes this pilot had gone through. Flying the Typhoon became one of the deadliest jobs in the Air Force and our Canadian boys became some of the top Typhoon pilots in the war. Another example of the task assigned to an aircraft is exemplified by this Spitfire mkIX of 412 Sqn.
Many pilots remembered their wives or girlfriends by placing her name on their planes. The following two pictures are examples of this; the first of these is a Beaufighter of 252 Sqn. The second is a Boulton Paul Defiant of 410 Sqn.
One of my favourite pilots is Chuck Yeager, the first pilot to go through the sound barrier. From the moment he was assigned his first aircraft he named it and all subsequent aircraft after his wife “Glamorous Glennis”.
Some pilots put the name of a movie star, such as this Kittyhawk of 5 Sqn,
Others were surprisingly romantic, such as the following,
From the research that I have done it seems that the Canadian crews were some of the first to personalize their aircraft. They were also very proud of their heritage and country as told by the following photo, a Spitfire mkV belonging to 403 Sqn.
As seen in the above pictures from a book from our library, the men who chose the names and phrases managed to convey such a large set of emotions. They found strength and maybe a great deal of luck from knowing that they were carrying the wishes and prayers of those that cared from them.
The next and final chapter is going to cover Looney Toons and other cartoons; till then don’t forget to come in to visit us. See you soon.