This is the third and final chapter covering the topic of aircraft nose art. It’s been a topic that is never ending with so many stories and tales to explain the reasons why it was used or the emotions and reasons for using it.
it wasn’t just Disney characters that were used, as you can see from the photo above, many aircraft painted looney tunes to send a message. This painting was on a Ventura, based on Argentia, NL. What’s special about this painting was that it was done at the factory in Burbank, California by the studio artists themselves.
Another two popular characters are those seen above, Popeye and Olive Oyl. I used the olive Oyl picture because it shows the humour often seen in these paintings, as olive beats the behind of Hitler. This was painted on an RCAF lane piloted by P/O D.J. Sullivan.
Many of the planes were adorned with stylized pin up girls such as “Lonesome Lola” seen here. She was on a mk1 Lanc of no.9 Sqn. This a/c finished 97 ops!
Some of these girls were very much on the line of what could be accepted and what could not, even to today’s standards! The following two pictures highlight this well.
“I’m Easy” was lost on 31July 1944. The unnamed nude was on a B24 belonging to 159sqn.
Some of the paintings were very intricate, covering all of the nose or most of the aircraft. The following picture shows an RACF B24 mkIV serial #3742. The inspiration came from a USAAF B24j with a similar scheme.
In closing, I have been quietly proud of the RCAF as they seemed to have taken the lead in painting these images. They were funny, touching, creative and inspirational. They give you an insight into the minds of the aircrew who we have to remember were so very young. I must also say that it was not only the aircrew who did these paintings; many of the ground crew took such pride in their planes and aircrew that they painted some amazing designs too.
There is so much more to say and research on this topic but I have to stop here. I hope I have given you enough to encourage you to do your own searches on the web. You will find that numerous aircraft were repeatedly painted with a certain picture time and time again as the planes were lost many times over. This is one of those topics that is fun to look at and be amazed at the history you will find. As always you can and hopefully will come into our museum to look at our pictures and artifacts. With summer fast approaching it will be a great place for you all to come to to meet our great volunteers and staff; we look forward to seeing you.
Much of the information and pictures were found in a book by Clarence Simonsen, the title of which is “RAF & RCAF Aircraft Nose Art in World War II.”