Updated 20 July 2021
Here are the scans of LK828 Simcoe Warrior; I think it was an official gov’t photo as this one is in the War Museum in Ottawa. The letter on the back was from my father LW Bissell (1922-1998) who was an engine mechanic in 431 Sqn.
He is sitting on top 2nd man.
The censor stamp has faded, it was much clearer in the ‘70s. I noticed that the number of missions marked as tomahawks are the same as your colour photo, so taken same time.
Research by Clarence Simonsen
Halifax Nose Art
Click above for the PDF version.
Images will be added later.
RCAF “Halibag” WWII Nose Art
Constructed by Handley Page Ltd. at Cricklewood, London, assembled and test flown at Radlett, Hertfordshire, England, Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial NP755, was delivered to RCAF No. 432 [Leaside] Squadron 15 August 1944. Assigned code QO-A, she became “Avenging Angel” with a fully nude Canadian lady painted on her nose section. This image was taken on 16 October 1944, after she had completed her 17th operation [red hearts] and shot down one German night fighter aircraft. Between 31 August 1944 and 25 April 1945, “Angel” completed seventy operations and at the end of the war in Europe she was sent for disposal [Scrapping] on 29 May 1945. Her nose art was saved by RCAF F/L Harold Lindsay and transported to Canada on 7 May 1946, then placed into long-term storage at Hull, Quebec, for the next 56 years. On 8 May 2005, the Canadian World War Two Halifax bomber nose art collection went on public display at the new War Museum in Ottawa, Canada. Today this little nude lady wears a green two-piece bathing suit, as we can’t show today’s generation what WWII RCAF aircrew painted on their bomber in 1944. So, please be fairly warned, if you can’t look at 75-year-old nude nose art ladies, do not read my Halifax Blog history. I am showing and telling the real RCAF Halifax nose art history, no ‘fake censored museum history’ in the following factual pages.
In 1927, the British Air Ministry introduced a new official naming system for all aircraft, beginning with a single letter relating to the role each aircraft was designed for. The aircraft were next given official names which were assigned to the role they played. British RAF Bombers, [B] were assigned with names of inland cities and towns of the British Empire. “Halifax” became the official name assigned to the World War Two British Handley-Page B. four-engine bomber prototype which first flew on 25 October 1939, twenty-two months after construction began. The name “Halyfax” first appears in archived records in 1091, meaning coarse grass in nook of land, which later became a religious minister town in the Borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire, England. During WWII manufacturer Handley Page Limited was based at Cricklewood, London, where 1,589 bombers would be constructed, then transported to their airport facilities at Park Street and Colney Street, Radlett, Hertfordshire, for final assembly. The prototype Halifax L7244 [Handley Page Design 57] was flown by Chief test pilot Major J.L. Cordes on 25 October 1939, [RAF Bicester, Oxfordshire] followed by the second prototype L7245, which was test-flown as a fully armed heavy bomber [55,000 lbs.] on 17 August 1940. The first Mk. I production Halifax serial L9485 flew on 11 October 1940, the first production batch of fifty bombers officially Mk. I, series 1, serial L9485 to L9534, built October 1940 to June 1941. Photo public domain, [IWM #D7123] Halifax bombers being assembled Handley Page Radlett, 1942, where RCAF “Avenging Angel” was constructed two years later.
From 1941 onwards the Halifax aircraft became a subject of steady changing development and was in continuous service with the R.A.F. flying in ten different forms. The steadily growing production run of the Halifax bomber soon required several additional factories as Handley Page could not keep up with the demand. The London Aircraft Production Halifax Group was now formed led by the London Passenger Transport Board, to manufacture and assemble large numbers of the Handley Page Heavy Bomber. The parent company under managing director Sir Frederick Handley Page acted as the technical advisors and consultants to the Group as a whole. Four major firms now joined Handley Page to manufacture the new British Heavy Bomber. The English Electric Company Limited produced 2,145 bombers, the London Passenger Transport Company built 710, Rootes Securities Ltd. built 1,070 aircraft, and the Fairey Aviation Company Ltd. at Stockport constructed 661 bombers. By 1944, the Handley Page Group was comprised of 41 factories and dispersed smaller units, 600 sub-contractors, with a total production staff of over 51,000 employees. This huge work force was over 50% female [38,000] who worked around the clock shift work in artificial light, due to wartime blackout conditions. The Halifax bomber was designed and constructed in sections, what the British called “Split Construction Principal.” Most of these aircraft components were then moved by ten truck and trailer units to the main assembly factory at Leavesden Aerodrome for assembly and test flights. One complete Halifax bomber would arrive by a truck convoy at the factory and this appeared much like a row of luggage arriving at a U.K. train station. A factory worker [possibly a lady] stated another “Halibag” convoy has arrived, and the British bomber nickname stuck.
This ad featuring a Halifax Mk. III, appeared in Canada Maclean’s Magazine March 1944.
During the Second World War 249,662 Canadian men and women wore the uniform of the Royal Canadian Air Force, with 93,844 serving overseas and the majority serving in British RAF squadrons rather than RCAF squadrons. In August 1944, 60% of Canadians were serving in Royal Air Force squadrons, and 14,544 gave their lives in the service of Canada overseas. Of this total 12,266 Canadians were killed on active flying operations, with 1,906 killed while training in United Kingdom. The major overseas Canadian casualties came from RAF Bomber Command with 9,980 killed, 8,240 being killed on active bomber operations [mostly at night] and almost half of these aircrew members have no known grave.
No. 6 [RCAF] Group [formed 1 January 1943] flew 40,822 sorties [number of individual aircraft combat flights] with 80% of these taking place at night. In the total of over 37,000 operations flown, over 29,000 or 73% were flown by Canadians in the Handley-Page Halifax four engine bomber. No. 6 [RCAF] Group lost 814 bomber aircraft on active operations, 127 were Vickers Wellington bombers, 149 were Avro Lancaster bombers, and 508 were Handley-Page Halifax bombers. All fifteen squadrons in No. 6 [RCAF] Group were equipped with the Halifax bomber at one time or another, and most Canadians lost their life flying in the Halifax bomber.
I have spent the last fifty plus years interviewing over a thousand of the survivors of these bombing operations and the true danger of WWII operations is far too apparent. This special generation of young Canadian males spent eight or ten hours in a freezing metal Halifax bomber that could, and for far too many, become their casket.
All RCAF aircrew knew the survival odds [around 55-45%] were against them, but night after night they put on a brave look and did their duty for Canada and the United Kingdom. In 1941, the British RAF had come up with this “Lack of Moral Fibre” Memorandum which was directed at all aircrew members who could not face up to being killed in the air and yet were declared medically fit to fly and perform their duties. The punishment was very severe; with an airmen marched in front of his complete squadron, where he was stripped of his rank badges, wings, and his CANADA shoulder patches. He was then posted back to Canada, dishonourably discharged from the Royal Canadian Air Force and totally disgraced for a second time in the eyes of his family and friends. I have been told directly by a number of surviving WWII pilots and aircrew, this fear of being charged with LMF was what kept them going, while their fellow aircrew failed to return night after night. The air war over Europe was hell, and this harsh punishment was required to keep the aircrews flying under such great strain.
The movies today never show the petrified look on aircrew faces, the vomiting on return from operations, the airman who walked into an aircraft propeller to take his own life, or the great stress the young aircrew lived under during the continued bloodshed of WWII. During the massive air battles of 1943 and 1944 only .4 per cent of RAF Bomber Command were identified with LMF, while the others just found ‘their’ own way to carry on regardless.
Today evidence in old records and veteran interviews strongly suggests officers were treated more humanely than the Sgt/pilot and his non-commissioned aircrew. The old British class system played a huge part in this punishment, as some British RAF officers just didn’t like Canadians who they felt lacked the proper British old school values, which were a major part of early RAF administration policies. A few surviving RCAF veterans expressed to me [with a half-laugh or facial expression] the fact they were fighting the Germans at night and the British in the day. Many pre-war RAF administration officers looked down their noses at the Canadians, and treated them like slaves from the colonies. By 1944, the Canadian Government became aware that a number of Canadian aircrew were being classified as “Lack of Moral Fibre” and they did not deserve it. The Canadian Minister of Air [Power] created a new RCAF Memorandum on L.M.F. and most Canadians were now classified as ‘Inefficient” and returned to Canada where a good number became instructors in the BCATP. It is almost impossible today to make a new generation of Canadians [including many RCAF female pilots] understand the harsh treatment and fear of being categorized with “Lack of Moral Fibre” which became the powerful force used to push RCAF aircrews to continue facing death flying combat operations in a Heavy Bomber. As the bomber operations into Germany increased and the heavy bloodshed continued, [Battle of Berlin] some aircrew found an easy and more graceful way to abandon operational combat flying. The RCAF ranked second only to the American 8th Air Force as regular patrons to the British prostitutes, and No. 6 [RCAF] Group Daily Diary for each squadron reported the number of aircrew who contracted VD. In 1943, as the bomber deaths increased, the Canadian VD infection rate also increased to double that of RAF Bomber Command as a whole. There is little doubt that a good number of Canadian aircrew deliberately contracted VD and were then removed from combat operations, which in turn saved their life. The almost daily stress from operational combat flying and the very real possibility of an early and tragic death in the air wars also produced an aviation aircraft painted art form called ‘nose art.’
RCAF nose art reached its creative peak from 1942 until the end of the war in Europe, 8 May 1945, and I have studied the subject since 1967. This Canadian graphic art combined with just a simple name painted on an aircraft helped to fulfill a mix of male psychological needs, to defy military authority, to show crew success, to bring good-luck, and the most important reason it was allowed, it became an aircrew morale builder, it simply removed the fear of certain death just a little bit. The painting of each bomb symbol also helped the aircrew in believing they would complete their ‘tour of Ops’ and return safely to Canada. The same psychological effect as checking off the days on a wartime calendar.
The RCAF nose art portrayed the Canadian Maple Leaf, comic book and newspaper comic strip characters, flying eagles, Hitler in trouble, good-luck symbols, popular songs, movie titles, Walt Disney characters, and topless or semi-nude pin-up girls from Hollywood movies and American “Esquire” magazine pin-up paintings by Alberto Vargas and pre-war artist George Petty. The nude or semi-nude nose art images were allowed by RCAF Senior Command for the simple reason too many of these bombers and crew of seven or eight, would be blown out of the dark sky over Germany and no trace would ever be found. The other powerful reason was the fact that female nudity was treated as a thing of beauty by the British and became a normal part of their wartime living thanks to a young lady named Chrystabel Leighton-Porter, better know as “Jane.” This story will be detailed in a full history with many photos at a later date, it is just too long to attempt to describe in the Halifax nose art history. Cartoonist Norman Pett began his adult strip in the Daily Mirror in 1932, and by 1939, Jane was appearing six days a week in four frames per newspaper strip. In the last frame Jane would be scantily clad in her panties, sometimes topless, legs wide apart, but never fully nude until 6 June 1944. At the same time the real Jane toured the U.K. in a burlesque troop called Jane in the Mirror, and in the last scene always appeared fully nude [fixed pose] on stage for the Allied troops.
Artist Pett also published five Journals during the war which contained thirty or more nude sketches and nude images of Jane. Thousands of these nude photos were also signed by Jane and mailed to Allied Troops during World War Two. The British had one enforced law, the female vagina could never be exposed in photos, drawings, or live burlesque shows. Jane was always transported onto the stage in a fixed pose for the final act, and could never move until the curtain closed on her act.
Norman Pett completed hundreds of live nude posed sketches of Jane and also used photos to produce his wide range of cartoon strips, posters, and journals, which led to hundreds of nose art images of Jane painted on combat aircraft. The United States of American entered WWII on 8 December 1941, and thousands of Americans began to arrive in England by mid-1942. The relaxed laws and British attitude on nudity was a shock to the majority of Yanks, causing a major rush in painting nude and topless nose art ladies on USAAF aircraft. Another long forgotten chapter in history, which was in fact all started by British blonde haired Jane in 1938.
One original page from wartime 1940 Jane’s Journal.
Helliwells Ltd, was a British Engineering Company based at Walstall Aerodrome, which is pictured in the above 10 June 1939 advertisement. They used nude British ladies in their full page ads, and this was considered normal sexuality for the United Kingdom in 1939. Helliwells was the largest manufacturer of British aircraft components and would become a shadow factory producing many small parts for the new Handley Page aircraft bombers.
In April 1940, Helliwells Ltd ran their first full page ad in the leading American aviation magazine “Aviation Week” and this caused a bit of public concern, as this female nudity was far from normal in the United States of America. Americans had their underground porn, dirty magazines, nude or topless pin-up girls, and even a series of comic strip characters drawn showing full sexual acts. However, American male citizens were in fact living under a double sexual standard and now the British had stepped over the imaginary line in publishing their nude female images in American main-stream publications.
This second nude ad [Aviation Week] appeared in full color and I feel this was also a small British attempt to change the U.S. public attitude towards the Second World War. The power of the press in this art is very strong, however the American public opinion only found these images to be offensive, and it would take the Japanese to awaken the sleeping giant on 7 December 1941. Canadians had been exposed to this British sexuality [nudity] since late 1939, and Jane soon became a part of their Wellington and Halifax bomber aircraft nose art paintings from 1940-45.
No. 429 [Bison] Squadron was formed at East Moor, Yorkshire, on 7 November 1942, flying the Vickers Wellington B. Mk. III bombers. This early RCAF nose art featured the one and only Jane with name “Thank God I’m Pure” code letter “P” for Purity. Operations began in the Mk. III Wellingtons on 21 January 1943, and when they converted to Wellington Mk. X aircraft the nude Jane painting was cut from the original bomber nose and glued onto the new assigned Wellington B. Mk. X, serial HE430. The reason for retaining the original nude art was partly for aircrew good luck, but mostly for nude Jane.
Jane painted on WWII RCAF Norseman skin, which was painted black to look like Wellington skin from “P for Purity.” Private collection of Major Jay Medves, RCAF 1 Wing, Kingston, Ontario, June 2010.
Halifax B. Mk. III, serial MZ291, was constructed by English Electric Co. Salmesbury, Preston, between 31 March to 21 June 1944. First delivered to RCAF No. 434 Squadron she was transferred to No. 427 [Lion] Squadron and flew her first operation with crew of F/O K. A. McCaskill on 3 June 1944. F/O K.A. McCaskill [above left] and his aircrew completed their tour of operations in this Halifax MZ291, code “O” on 23 July 1944, and the Captain had his official photo taken 31 July 44 with F/O W.J. Coates [right]. This Halifax nose art combined two different pin-up ladies in the design, which also occurred on a number of American 8th Air Force aircraft in England. The pin-up pose is from the October 1943 Esquire magazine Varga painting gatefold. [Vargas dropped the “s” in his name during the war years] On 28 December 1944, Jane was taking off from Leeming [No. 63 RCAF Base] Yorkshire, when she burst a starboard tire, swung, crashed, and burnt.
Author painting on original Halifax skin from serial NA337, in private collection of Richard de Boer, Calgary, AB.
In 1941, Jane appeared on the tail of a RAF night fighter [right] and this Norman Pett drawing became a nose art winner. She was painted on this unidentified RCAF No. 425 Squadron Halifax B. Mk. II in England. Replica painted on Halifax NA337 skin in 1998 [left] for Karl Kjarsgaard and the Halifax Aircraft Association, Trenton, Ontario. [location unknown]
Even the German Luftwaffe loved Jane and her companion a dachshund called “Fritz.” On 21 June 1942, German night fighter pilot Priz zur Lippe-Weissenfeld shot down his twenty-seventh RAF bomber aircraft, and when he later inspected the crash site of his kill, the RAF nose art was “Jane” and Fritz. He cut the British fabric nose art from the Vickers Wellington bomber and kept it as a trophy of his air war victories. [Photo George Petersen]
“Just Jane” on the job, as the British said. These images were signed and mailed to thousands of Allied troops, and Jane received hundreds of marriage proposals, mostly from the Yanks.
Senior RCAF officers up to the rank of Wing Commander flew many combat operations and fully understood the dangers of air war and high cost of battle in young Canadian lives. To name a person, place, or thing, is giving it power, an identity, to bring specific image to mind, and then when you add an image with the painted name, you increase the power and make the name stronger. Aircrew needed pride, devotion to duty, crew, morale, guts, and mostly pure luck to survive the air battles where the German enemy night fighters always had the advantage in fire power, range, speed, and darkness. WWII nose art paintings could and did provide all of those feelings to that brave generation of young men who went to war. Today Hollywood movies are still making Americans look glamorous and heroic, while our Canadian new generation thoughts and opinions are slowly being shaped by their internet history and powerful movies on how the United States won the war for Canada. The stress, fear, and death in RCAF WWII bombers are inconceivable in this modern day and age, and part of that problem is our present day Canadian War Museum history and displays. Like it or not, nose art nude ladies, other graphic art, or just a name helped fulfill a mix of psychological needs for aircrew and now we can look at some which I have repainted in attempting to preserve our RCAF Halifax WWII history.
In May 1945, the British Air Ministry ordered the scrapping of 21,842 surplus old WWII aircraft, including 565 Handley Page bombers. In January 1946, another 12,560 aircraft had been selected for Long-Term Storage, at selected Maintenance Units in United Kingdom, and this included 131 Handley Page bombers. Those saved were Mk. VI, Mk. VII and Mk. IX aircraft, plus 24 Mk. VI bombers selected and given to the French Government for their new formed Air Force. Unfortunately, in the following years all of the surviving Handley Page bombers were destroyed in crash landings or mostly sold for scrap, and although 6,176 had been constructed, not one example survived for any RAF museum. On 30 June 1973, Halifax B. Mk. II, serial W1048 was recovered from Lake Hoklingen, Norway, and today remains more or less as she was recovered, in Britain’s Royal Air Force Museum.
In 1977, I began nose art research at the old War Museum and the Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Centre located in the National Research Council, Building M23, in Ottawa. I was most fortunate to make contact with Ms. Janet Lacroix, a kind and very knowledgeable archive person. Over the next thirty years, Janet assisted me with locating impossible to find photos, and valuable records which I could not afford to purchase or travel to Ottawa for research. Without the help of this wonderful lady my nose art task would have been almost impossible.
In 1984, I met a Canadian Airlines International pilot, Captain Karl Kjarsgaard and we became aviation friends. Karl was then a member of the Yorkshire Air Museum, where they were slowly rebuilding a wartime Halifax, from a composite of three aircraft, [Hastings wings, HR792 fuselage, and other aircraft parts] which would become the only intact “Halibag” specimen in the world.
During his weekly pilot layovers in Britain, Karl became the Yorkshire museum scrounger for spare Halifax aircraft parts, and if you know Karl, finding airplanes is his real hidden talent. It also helped that off-duty airline pilots can fly around the world for free, a privilege the average aviation historian just can’t afford.
This image was taken by Karl Kjarsgaard in July 1988, at which time the Yorkshire Air Museum Halifax rebuild was in need of many missing parts. The fuselage was from Halifax Mk. II, with serial HR792, a No. 58 Squadron bomber which belly-landed on 13 January 1945. In 1981, two Norwegians, Tore Marsoe and Rolf Liebert began searching for a crashed Halifax bomber in Lake Mjosa, Norway, and Karl soon learned of their discovery. By 1988, Karl was attempting to acquire their crashed Halifax bomber from the Lake in Norway, however neither the Norwegian authorities or Karl Kjarsgaard could afford the cost to raise the WWII aircraft. That is where fate stepped in and the result became Canadian Aviation Halifax history.
It is possible this Halifax bomber would still be on the bottom of the Norwegian Lake, if it were not for a Canadian film miniseries produced by the CBC [Brian McKenna and Terence McKenna] and the National Film Board of Canada in 1992. The Valour and the Horror was a three-part two-hour series that first aired on 12 January 1992. The second part titled “Death by Moonlight: Bomber Command” aired on 19 January 1992, which attacked RAF Bomber Command for deliberately hiding the truth on RAF survival rates, the attack on civilians, and betraying the trust of Canadian aircrews. I have watched this award winning series three times and will only state – “The first causality of War is always the Truth.” Out of all the controversy, class action law suits, a Senate of Canada inquiry, and a number of investigations, these films still stir many historical debates in Canada today. Partly due to all this controversy, a group of RCAF veterans formed an aircraft association with the intent of having a Halifax bomber to exhibit to future generations of Canadians, which would tell their history much better than words and old photographs. In 1994, Karl Kjarsgaard requested a meeting with the two Norwegians in Oslo, to learn more about the Halifax bomber they had found, and he was offered the salvage rights to the entire bomber, as well as sonar maps of its location.
The Halifax Aircraft Association was now formed to raise funds to salvage the WW II Halifax aircraft NA337, and at 16:00 hrs, Sunday, 10 September 1995, the most complete original fuselage of Halifax A [Transport] Mk. VII, came to the surface of Lake Mjosa, Norway. The following summer the many sections of NA337 were laid out on the floor of a hangar at RCAF Museum Trenton, Ontario. This full restoration project story can be found on many websites, publications and magazine articles, but the RCAF Trenton proposed nose art display is totally lost and forgotten.
In 1997, the Halifax Aircraft Association was headed by Jeff Jeffery, DFC., as President and Karl Kjarsgaard as Vice-President and Project Manager. I had been painting replica nose art images on original aircraft skin for a number of years and over a few beers suggested to Karl the old Halifax panels should be saved and could be painted with RCAF Halifax nose art. This idea was passed on to President Jeff Jefferies [below] and approved by him, [plus eight directors] which included fax messages on suggested nose art images to be painted.
As soon as a new replica skin panel was manufactured to scale, the old original NA337 panel was selected by Karl, covered by cardboard and shipped from Toronto or Ottawa to Calgary by Air Canada Cargo. [Pilots get 80% off air cargo shipping costs] I would then clean, [with acid bath] and painted replica nose art from Halifax flown WWII bombers. The nose art panels were then packaged, and returned to Karl in Ottawa by Air Canada Cargo. At some later date these original Halifax skin panels would join the restored aircraft NA337, telling the history of the art painted on the RCAF Halibags during WWII. A few years later a major power struggle developed between Jeff Jefferies and Karl Kjarsgaard, and these details need not be repeated, as the volunteers at Trenton understand best what took place. Karl was removed from his position and instructed to leave, and when he walked out the door, so did the future planned RCAF nose art project.
In the past fifty years, I have completed well over 400 replica nose art images and most were painted on original WWII aircraft skin panels. I estimate at least eighty of these paintings were completed on original skin panels from Halifax A. Mk. VII, serial NA337. I have since learned all of the replica panels painted for RCAF Trenton Museum were given away to Halifax aircrew veterans, and it seems possible there were no plans to ever create a nose art exhibit alone side Halifax A. Mk. VII, NA337. My later attempts to create an RCAF nose art exhibit at the War Museum Ottawa, Ontario, or the Bomber Command Museum at Nanton, Alberta has totally failed, however Canadians can still look at what might have been. Both old veteran and new generation RCAF members want a replica WWII nose art panel to hang in their special room, yet, not one of these very same people will support a proper RCAF Museum to correctly display and preserve our RCAF connection to the Halifax Bomber.
It should never be forgotten, that the men and women on the ground were the ones who kept the planes in the air, and they also considered the aircraft to be theirs. Each member of the ground crew developed a real sense of comradeship with the aircrew, and they all shared together in the success of each and every operation. The larger percentage of nose art paintings [65-70%] were designed and painted on the bombers by these very same ground crew members who processed some artistic talent. From time to time, the aircrew would treat their ground crew with a night on the town and paid for all the drinks. Again, my attempt to preserve and display the history of these forgotten wartime artists has fallen on deaf ears. Not one museum in all of Canada will create a wall to honor these WWII artists, a group who had little training and very limited talent, but they did their best painting the Halifax bombers they serviced day after day.
No. 428 ground crew bombing up, taken by LAC Delbert Todd, Middleton St. George, August 1943, Halifax B. Mk. V, Series 1a.
This was an early RAF Target Bombing cartoon given to aircrews to fill out and keep as a record of their operations. This was for the aircrew of RCAF Halifax serial W7710, No. 405 [Vancouver] Squadron. [Author collection]
No. 405 Squadron was formed at Driffield, Yorkshire, England, on 23 April 1941, the first RCAF squadron formed overseas in WWII. They flew the Vickers Wellington Mk. II bomber until May 1942, when they converted over to the Handley Page B. Mk. II. They had 17 Halifax aircraft on strength 29 May 1942, and the next night flew the RCAF’s first four-engine Heavy Bomber operation, part of the first RAF 1000-plane raid against Cologne, Germany 30/31 May 1942. Halifax B. Mk. II, Series 1, serial W7710 [LQ-R for Robert] took part in this famous raid, and upon return the crew began painting their bomber train nose art. The train was chasing the obese Nazi head of the Luftwaffe, saying “Hey Goering, R-Robert is here again.”
Constructed by English Electric Co., Salmesbury, Preston, the little train nose art, “Ruhr Valley Express” became RCAF famous, adding a new bomb after each raid. [Author collection]
The RCAF Halifax nose art was even published in a WWII R.A.F. aviation article – “KITE CRESTS.”
This same style ‘The “Ruhr Valley” Express’ appeared on a Halifax B. Mk. II Series I, [Special] bomber in No. 419 [Moose] Squadron. [Author collection – Vince Elmer]
No. 419 [Moose] Squadron Halifax B. Mk. II, serial JD158, VR-H, shot down 17/18 August 1943. Painted by P/O Ley Kenyon for Australian crew member Sgt. D.M. MacPherson. [Vince Elmer]
In mid-1942, the Halibag came under a new test program where the front turret was removed and replaced by a nose fairing with two front ward windows. The mid-upper gun turret was also removed and this saved a weight of 1,450 lbs, giving the new bomber a gained speed of sixteen mph and a saving of 840 lbs of fuel. The new Halifax was designated B. Mk. II, series I, [Special] and entered operations with RAF squadrons in September 1942. No. 419 [Moose] Squadron RCAF received their first Mk. II [Special] on 3 December 1942, and had fifteen on strength by the New Year. Halifax B. Mk. II serial DT689, VR-N, flew her first operation on 15 January 1943, with Wing Commander M.M. Fleming at the controls. This bomber had very unusual painted nose art on the front fairing between the two windows. It was possibly painted for the Commanding Officer as it shows a Canadian Moose which has taken a bite out of the ass of Hitler, who runs away in fright. The removal of the front and mid-upper gun turrets were of little concern to the Canadian crews who welcomed the increased air speed. This was all explained to me by pilot Jack McIntosh, who was twenty years of age when he began operations flying the Halifax B. Mk II aircraft. On his first six operations his crew were almost killed three times and he lost his navigator, flight engineer, and rear gunner. He knew he would not survive the air war and his personal feelings had to be dealt with. This new Halifax bomber and new nose art “Medicine Hat” [his birth city] made him feel it was his aircraft and she would always bring him home. The Halifax serial JD114, “Medicine Hat” returned the McIntosh crew to base twenty-three times. [Vince Elmer image, author painting in private collection]
Goofy takes Medicine [bombs] from the Hat to drop onto Germany.
Halifax B. Mk. II, Series 1, [Special] serial JD114, VR-O, was constructed by Handley Page Ltd. Cricklewood and assembled at Radlett, between 22 April to 7 May 1943. She set a record in No. 419 Squadron for flying 50 operations and was shot down Leipzig, Germany, 20 February 1944, crew all killed in action. Photo Jack McIntosh collection, painting on skin from Halifax NA337, for Karl Kjarsgaard and the Halifax Aircraft Association 1998, Trenton, Ontario. [Location unknown]
Twenty-year old pilot Jack McIntosh, the youngest member of his aircrew, and the drawing of his Halifax “Medicine Hat” which hung in his home.
This RCAF No. 428 Squadron image clearly shows the Wireless Operator radio antenna lead in wire on the Halifax B. Mk. II, Series 1, [Special] aircraft, and the crew personal crest nose art.
Twenty-one-year old Sgt/Pilot Bill Gray [after his 22nd operation] in his Halifax B. Mk. II, [Special] serial BB323, VR-R, constructed by London Passenger Transport Board at Leavesden. The little Mermaid exploded over Venlo, Holland, 14 July 1943, after an attack by night fighter, killing the rear gunner. Sgt. Gray survived his tour of operations and my painting now hangs in his family collection donated by the author in 1995.
The Halifax nose art was inspired from this little lady who appeared as an Esquire Varga pin-up in December 1943, long after the Halifax was shot down. This original pin-up art first appeared in a series of Varga playing cards which were manufactured and advertised in the April, May, and June 1941 issue of Esquire magazine. This RCAF nose art Mermaid idea came from a 1941 Varga deck of playing cards, painted by ground crew Cpl. John McGregor. Design inspired by Cliff Wilby and Russ Harling. [Image from author calendar collection]
His Halifax was chosen to drop a 1,000-pound bomb on Dusseldorf, Germany, on behalf of a young Dutch refugee girl who was living in Ottawa. Her family had been killed by the Germans and she saved enough money to purchase this one bomb. This became the 1,000th Sortie flown by No. 419 [Moose] Squadron, 11/12 June 1943. Seven RCAF bombers were shot down that night, with 51 aircrew killed or POW. [Photos from Bill Gray collection]
Sometimes RCAF aircrew were shot down and killed, while their Halifax nose art survived to fly with other members of the squadron. No. 419 Squadron began to convert to the Halifax B. Mk. II bombers in early November 1943, with the first three arriving on 13th of the month. By the end of December, they had eighteen Halifax Mk. II aircraft on squadron strength, and many sported new nose art paintings by LAC Ley Kenyon. Halifax B. Mk. II, serial JB859 was constructed by Handley Page Ltd, Cricklewood, Radlett, and arrived with No. 419 [Moose] squadron 20 March 1943. She was flown by a number of different aircrews until 9/10 July 1943, when JB859 was assigned to the crew of J5535, F/O Stanley Mervyn Heard and flown on the next five operations – 13/14 July, 24/25 July, 25/26 July, 27/28 July and 29/30 July 1943. Pilot Heard was a 23-year-old farm lad from Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and this was reflected in his choice of nose art, a charging ‘Heard’ of Canadian bulls. On 17/18 August 1943, the Heard crew were assigned to fly Halifax JD158 [their fifteenth operation] on a secret moonlight raid to northern Germany, the Peenemunde test sight for the A/4 [V-2] rockets. They were shot down in the Baltic Sea near Greifswald, Bodden, Germany, one of 40 bombers lost that night. The crew are buried in Greifswald, war cemetery, Germany.
The Halifax “Thundering Heard” continued to fly operations until March 1944, when the squadron converted over to the Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X bombers. Her career continued with RCAF No. 1666 Heavy Conversion Unit, where she trained new rookie aircrews until the end of WWII in Europe. New crews flew the old veteran bombers on “Bullseye” raids over British cities to gain experience of evading searchlights and night fighters. They also flew “nickel-raids” which required finding a night target in France and dropping leaflets. This was also designed to draw German fighters away from the main target attacks. “Thundering Heard” was struck off charge by the R.A.F. on 1 November 1945, and soon after reduced to scrap.
This replica nose art was repainted twice, one for a private collection [Nose Creek Valley Museum in Airdrie, Alberta] and the above nose art painted for Karl Kjarsgaard and Jeff Jeffery DFC, of the Halifax Aircraft Association, completed in July 1999. Location today unknown.
This painting was completed in 2004 on original skin from Halifax NA337, to honor the eight American citizens who came to Canada, joined the RCAF, and were killed flying in the British Halifax B. Mk. II aircraft of No. 419 [Moose] Squadron. My painting features a late model Mk. II, Series 1, with the Boulton Paul “C” dorsal top and nose turret with two .303 machine guns. In 2009, the Lancaster Bomber Museum in Nanton, Alberta, refused to create an exhibit to display and tell the history of WWII RCAF Nose Art. Two years later this painting was sold to a private collector of Coca-Cola Company memorabilia at Calgary, Alberta. [This lady was living, breathing, WWII nose art, if you know what I mean]
In May 1943, due to a shortage of the standard British Messier undercarriage for the Halifax Mk. II aircraft, it was decided to fit new constructed bombers with the Dowty suspension style undercarriage, and these aircraft were designated Halifax B. Mk. V. It was soon discovered the new Dowty castings had inherited a weakness for breaking upon landing and the bomber landing rate was thus restricted to 40,000 lbs. For this reason, the majority of RAF Halifax Mk. Vs were allotted to reconnaissance, maritime patrol, glider tug, and other transport duties, although seven RCAF squadrons were equipped with these aircraft for bomber operations, for a limited period of time, beginning in June 1943. Late production Halifax Mk. V aircraft flew with Merlin 22 engines, Morris Block Radiator, which had large ejector exhausts and four-bladed Rotol propellers. These bombers were also constructed with new enlarged vertical tail surfaces, [D-type] which were also retrofitted to the old bombers at the RCAF bases. The basic shape of the Halifax was changing forever and would now remain the same [with Halifax Mk. III] until the end of WWII.
Albert [Muff] Mills was an airframe mechanic [plus squadron nose artist] who arrived with No. 428 Squadron just after they moved to Middleton St. George, 8 June 1943. In early July, they began to convert from the Wellington bomber to the Halifax Mk. V, series 1, with the Dowty undercarriage. The serial numbers were EB205, 206, 207, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, all constructed by Fairey Aviation, Stockport. A few months later No. 428 received two late production Halifax B. Mk. V, Series 1a, which had many new modifications and Muff took this image which captures so much detail. The new Merlin 22 Engines, Morris Block Radiators, flame ejector exhausts, new clear nose cone with a .303 Vickers gun, and the four-bladed Rotol propellers. The serial numbers would be EB252 or EB274, both built by Rootes Securities, Speke, and the tail development featured the new enlarged vertical tail surfaces. Muff Mills reported that a few RCAF Halifax aircraft flew operations with four-bladed airscrews on the two outboard engines and the three-bladed airscrews on the two inboard engines. This was possibly something the Canadians experimented with, but I have never found any photo proof to confirm these reports. Muff repaired and serviced these machines, and I believe what he told me was the truth. The nose art painting is not clear; however, it was another full nude called “Lazy Jane.” The art was not painted by Muff Mills, and the artist is still unknown. Halifax Mk. V production was terminated in January 1944, with 904 produced by Fairey Aviation, Stockport, and Rootes Securities, Speke. Canadians in No. 405, No. 408, No. 419, No. 427, No. 428, No. 431, and No. 434 flew a good number of these bombers.
No. 434 [Bluenose] Squadron was formed at Tholthorpe, Yorkshire, England, on 13 June 1943, the 13th RCAF Bomber squadron formed overseas during WWII. On 3 July 1943, they had on strength fifteen Halifax Mk. V aircraft and most were constructed by Fairey Aviation, Stockport. Ally-Opp was a late production Halifax B. Mk. V, Series 1a, new clear nose cone, Merlin 22 engines, enlarged vertical tail surface, and Dowty landing gear. Constructed 10 December 1943, she was delivered to No. 431 Squadron, then transferred to No. 434 the following day. Flew her first operation to Berlin on 20 January 1944, P/O D. Morrison J19398. Cat. “C” crash on 21 January, and required major repairs. Returned to No. 434 on 31 March 1944, flying fifteen more operations, where above image was taken after operation number thirteen. Transferred to No. 1664 Heavy Conversion Unit on 12 May 1944, flying training for sprog aircrew. Ready for disposal 3 December 1944, flown to No. 48 Maintenance Unit, [RAF Hawarden] on 21 December 44. In May 1945, F/L Harold Lindsay came to No. 48 M. U. and photographed this bomber nose art and selected it for salvage and return to Canada. Below is the file card Lindsay prepared, which arrived in Ottawa, [Rockcliffe] Ontario, 7 May 1946, however this “Ally-Oop” nose art is not in the collection today.
This is the photo Roll 3, Print #6, [B & W] F/L Lindsay recorded in May 1945, and it was selected for returned to Canada, where an unknown number of nose art panels arrived one year later, 7 May 1946. This nose art is not found in the collection today, and I believe it was another nose panel cut from the fuselage, then taken by someone in Rockcliffe after 1946. Replica was originally painted for Nanton, Alberta, painted on original skin from NA337, August 2004. When Nanton refused to create an RCAF nose art exhibit in 2009, the art was donated to Alan Soderstrom, who I believe has the best No. 434 website on the Internet. Please check it out, RCAF 434 Squadron 1943-1945.
In October of 1943, a major tail development took place [modification 814] and a new D-type fin, enlarged vertical tail surfaces were introduced on the Halibag assembly line. By December 43, operational Halifax bombers were being retrofitted with the new tail surfaces at RCAF bases in England. This gave ground crews extra work, and confused the photo identity of many bombers for future historians, even today.
Original nose art photo of “Canada Kid” Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial NP759, No. 432 Squadron, from ground crew Russel Beach. This replica was painted on salvaged skin from Halifax NA337 and was originally created for the RCAF Halifax Museum in Trenton, Ontario. It was later donated to the Bomber Command Museum at Nanton, Alberta, where it remains with little history or educational value. This nose art revealed the chilling truth of the young age of WWII aircrews.
The first Halibag aircraft to wear code letters QO-C in No. 432 Squadron became Halifax B. Mk. III, serial LW597, shot down on her 2st operation 26 February 1944. The squadron began converting to the Halifax bomber on 7 February 1944, when the first two arrived, and by the end of the month they had twenty on strength. The first rookie aircrew had no time to even paint nose art, they were shot down over Augsburg, Germany, with five killed in action. Six of 52 attacking RCAF bombers were shot down that night.
Replaced 6 March, by another Halifax B. Mk. II, serial LW682, “C” she completed five operations, shot down by German night fighter Nurnburg, 31 March 44, crashed at Grossmaische, Germany. Four of the crew were killed.
Replaced by Halifax B. Mk. III, MZ590 on 30 April 1944, she flew nine operations wearing the letter “C”, then the squadron converted to Halifax B. Mk. VII bombers.
Replaced by Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial NP759 which was painted with nose art “Canada Kid.” This Halifax flew her first operation on 25/26 August 1944 and would complete another 31 until 1 January 1945.
In 1943, the RCAF dropped the enlistment age and education requirements due to heavy combat losses. This was reflected in the nose art painting showing a baby with a candy sucker in one hand and a gun in the other. Nineteen-year-old kids were now flying a huge four-engine Halifax bomber and dying for Canada in the bloody air wars over Europe.
Halifax B. Mk. III, serial NP759, QO-C, “Canada Kid” was shot down Hannover, Germany, 1 January 1945. [Five killed] Constructed by Handley Page Ltd. Cricklewood and Radlett between 1 August to 9 September 1944. Two previous Halifax bombers wearing code “C” had been shot down, killing ten aircrew members. Replica painted on Halifax NA337 skin for Karl Kjarsgaard, to be presented to “Canada House” Pub in London, England. Location today unknown.
More Halifax nose art which reflected on the age of the RCAF aircrew, “The Babe.”
Halifax B. Mk. V, Series 1a, serial NP736 was constructed at Rootes Securities, Speke, batch delivered between 1 August 1944 to 9 September 1944. Flew first with No. 426 Squadron and transferred to No. 408 [Goose] Squadron where she flew until May 1945. Scrapped 26 May 1945, and nose art not salvaged. Painted for private collection of the 92-year-old Halifax rear gunner in 2012.
Two more RCAF [Baby] aircrew parachuting to earth. From No. 432 Squadron ground crew Russel Beach, Halifax had flown 22 operations when image was taken, serial is unknown.
Manufactured by London Passenger Transport Co., Leavesden, between 1 - 25 April 1944. Delivered to No. 420 [Snowy Owl] Squadron and painted by nose artist Skip Rutledge, transferred to No. 1664 H.C.U. where it crash landed at Dishforth, caught fire and was sent for scrapping on 13 January 1945. Bomber Command Museum collection Nanton, Alberta.
Doug Penny DFC, flew rear gunner in two Halifax bombers which both carried the same nose art and name. The first was Halifax B. Mk. III serial LW596 and then Mk. VI, serial NP692.
Left is NP692, constructed by the English Electric Co., Salmesbury, Preston. Went to No. 434 Squadron, shot down Hamburg, 29 July 1944. Painted for Karl Kjarsgaard and Halifax Aircraft Association 1998. Right is LW596, constructed by English Electric, on returning from raid to Bottrop, 27 September 1944, made forced landing and burnt. This replica was signed by Doug Penney, DFC, and is part of Bomber Command collection in Nanton, Alberta.
Daisy Mae serial unknown. Painted on skin NA337, constructed Rootes Securities, Speke, containing rare original manufacture lettering. Private collection of Don Smith, Nova Scotia
Block Buzzter was a Halifax B. Mk. III, serial LK765, constructed by Handley Page Ltd, Cricklewood and Radlett, between 20 January and 16 February 1944. Assigned code letter QO-B she flew 59 operations. Scrapped by RAF at No. 45 Maintenance Unit, RAF Kinloss, Scotland, 16 February 1946. [Nose art replica in Nose Creek Valley Museum, Airdrie, Alberta.]
Halifax B. Mk. III, serial NR136 was constructed by Fairey Aviation, Stockport, between 29 September to 15 October 1944. First delivered to No. 433 Squadron, transferred to No. 425 Squadron, where the image was taken on 17 April 1944. The pin-up lady first appeared in the October 1942 issue of Esquire magazine, painted by famous Alberto Vargas.
The nose art replica was painted for Karl Kjarsgaard and President Jeff Jeffery of the Halifax Aircraft Association, Trenton, Ontario, in 1999. Painted on the early original aircraft skin from Halifax NA337, which was under complete restoration rebuild at that date. In 2009, Karl donated this Halifax replica nose art to the Auditorium Hotel bar saloon in Nanton, Alberta.
Peggy now hangs in a Country and Western Bar in the Auditorium Hotel at Nanton, Alberta.
Halifax B. Mk. V, serial DK186, ZL-L [L for Lana Turner] was painted with a flying M.G.M. Studios Lion for a special ceremony which took place 5 May 1943, at RCAF No. 63 Base at Leeming, home of No. 427 [Lion] Squadron. The squadron was adopted by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Motion Picture Studios and each Halifax bomber code letter was given the name of an MGM actress. The early serial and code letters were – DK185 [A], DK135 [B], DK184 [C], DK182 [E], DK190 [F], DK225 [J], DK191 [K], DK186 [L], DK184 [P], DK146 [Q], DK183 [S], DK181 [T], DK144 [U], DK192 [V], DK143 [W], and DK140 [Z].
Special nose art, London’s Revenge, DK186, painting on skin from NA337 for 427 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, “Gathering of Lions” 25 October 2003. Arranged thanks to Richard Koval.
Another original skin panel from Halifax NA337 painted for Karl Kjarsgaard and Jeff Jeffery DFC, the Halifax Aircraft Association, Trenton, Ontario, 1997. [location unknown]
In January 1944, No. 427 [lion] began converson training on new Halifax B. Mk. III bombers. The old Mk. V could only climb to 20,000 feet and now the Mk. III could reach 25,000 ft. the squadron was pleased. This is Halifax B. Mk. III, serial LW574, which was constructed by English Electric Co. Salmesbury, Preston, and first flew with No. 427 on 15 February 1944. Assigned to F/L W.A. Cory and crew who flew her four times in February with code letter “J” for Joan Crawford. The Halifax failed to return from a raid on Berlin, 25 March 1944, replaced with Halifax serial LV994. This Petty Girl was from the 1937 issue of Esquire magazine, but still pocessed her nude looking pin-up attraction.
When George Petty created his new American beauty in 1933; he also became the true father of the American pin-up, in more ways than one. Marjorie July Petty was born on 21 September 1919, and she grew up as part of her father’s pinup girl airbrush creation. From age ten  she began posing for her father’s girl illustrations, and continued until she married at age 24 years. Petty’s new Esquire magazine gatefolds [center fold-out page] established the future of all pin-up girl’s magazines, and she first went to war with Canadian RCAF fighter aircraft as early as the spring of 1940. Petty’s art reached new heights of popularity with troops as she appeared to be nude, but in fact George left that up to the mind of the viewing males, the secret power of his Petty Girl. This pose was created for Esquire magazine in early 1937, when Marjorie was seventeen years of age, and her pin-up power was still around in 1944. Marjorie was very much the equal to Jane in England, as she posed fully nude for her father’s girlie illustrations. Painted originally for RCAF Halifax Museum, Trenton, later donated to the Bomber Command Museum nose art collection at Nanton, Alberta.
Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial NP755, “Avenging Angel” assigned No. 432 Squadron on 15 August 1944, featured on my cover page. One of the few RCAF Halifax bombers to fly 70 operations and survive the night time air battles in World War Two. First operation flown on 31 August 1944 to Ile de Cezembre, France, and her last on 25 April 1945, Wangerooge. Flown to Handley Page repair depot, RAF No. 43 Group on 29 May 1945. Original nose art survives today in War Museum, Ottawa, Canada, however it has been painted over with a green bathing suit.
Replica nose art painted on original skin from Halifax NA337, July 1999 for Jeff Jeffery, DFC, and Karl Kjarsgaard, Halifax Aircraft Association, Trenton, Ontario. I have been told this nose art was presented to the man who cleaned, repaired, and refinished the most “Major Component” of Halifax A. NA337, the Center Wing/Center Fuselage, which looks like a cross section of a steel bridge beam. This supports the total weight of the giant bomber and was the first component of many to be restored or re-manufactured and assembled for the long rebuild program.
Canada declared war on the Axis powers on 10 September 1939, at which time Canadian citizens purchased and read a great deal more American periodicals than their own. It soon became a logical conclusion that a great percentage of nose art ideas, names, and paintings came from these same American publications. No. 432 Squadron wall mural art [bottom right] still remained at No. 62 [RCAF] Base, East Moor, England, in the summer of 1981. It came from American LIFE magazine in early 1944, and was adopted by the RCAF [Leaside] squadron, also appearing on two of their Halifax bombers.
This replica nose art [top left] was painted on original Halifax skin from NA337, for Karl Kjarsgaard and Jeff Jeffery in July 1999. This was one of the first Halifax B. Mk. III, serial LK754, code QO-Z, to arrive at No. 432 [Leaside] Squadron and flew her first operation on 24 February 1944. On take-off the Halifax swung and made a wheels up crash landing with Cat. “C” damage, which could be repaired. During the repair period the bomber received her name “Zombie” with nose art of Gremlin on a Double-Eagle. Constructed by Handley Page Ltd., Cricklewood and Radlett between 20 January and 16 February 1944, she flew her second operation with No. 432 on 13/14 March 1944. In September, Halifax LK754 was transferred to No. 76 Squadron RAF and replaced by a new Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial NP812, which received the same Gremlin on Double-Eagle nose art. Halifax LK754 was struck off charge by RAF on 24 January 1947.
Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial NP812, was constructed between 9 to 26 September 1944, by Handley Page Ltd. Cricklewood and Radlett. Arrived at No. 432 Squadron on 29 September 44, coded QO-T, and had a Cat. “C” accident on 30 December 1944. Completed eleven operations up to 20 March 1945. Flown to No. 45 Maintenance Unit [RAF Kinloss, Scotland] for disposal on 29 May 1945. Photographed and marked for delivery to Canada by F/L H. Lindsay, however this nose art is not in the War Museum collection today. I am positive this RCAF Halifax nose art was one of a few which were taken at Rockcliffe [The National Aeronautical Collection] in 1950’s, and remains in Canada as a private collection somewhere today.
PL40884, from Jack Dundas collection taken during filming by the National Film Board of Canada. The “Canada” was never part of the original art work on Halifax B. Mk. III, serial MZ813, QB-B of No. 424 Squadron. The crew wanted a nude blonde but pilot Dundas picked Bambi, painted by Mat Ferguson from Calgary, Alberta. L to R are LAC W.L. Poland, Sgt. W.C. Norris, mid-upper gunner LAC J. G. Bowman, and F/O H. H. Campbell. Below is 1995 replica nose art painted for pilot Jack Dundas which hung in his office for years.
During my years of nose art research, I became close friends with Jack Dundas, and he shared pages and pages of history for my files. Jack joined the RCAF in Hamilton, Ontario, on a cold February 1942. The rookie 21-year-old-pilot arrived with No. 424 [Tiger] in May 1944, and flew two operations as second pilot. On 5 June 44, he flew Halifax “H” LV998 to bomb the coast of France for the next day invasion [D-Day]. This was followed by eleven more trips to France in Halifax “I” LV170, “D” HX316, “L” LW169, “H” LV998, “U” LV991, “H” LV998, “J” LW131, “A” LV951, “J” LW131, “A” LV951, and “D” HX316 on 9 July his twelfth operation. Jack was now assigned a new Halifax B. Mk. III serial MZ813, with the code letter “B” which the crew wished to name her “Beer Barrel Betty” with a large nude painting. Jack said “No” and selected Walt Disney’s Bambi, which was the total opposite of war, killing, and nude ladies. Jack and crew flew Bambi ten times and completed their tour of 35 operations in October 1944, the very first crew to finish a tour and survive in No. 424 Squadron. Bambi was transferred to No. 158 Squadron RAF, crashed and burnt on 12 February 1945, 3 miles S.W. of Leiston, Suffolk, returning from raid to Worms, Germany. Halifax B. Mk. III, MZ813 was constructed by English Electric Co. Salmesbury, Preston, between 23 June and 14 July 1944. The replica nose art painted on skin from NA337 was signed by Jack and today is in the private collection of Don Smith, Nova Scotia. A third replica was painted on NA337 skin and donated to Bomber Command Museum at Nanton, Alberta.
From collection of pilot Jack Dundas [No. 424 Squadron] who flew Halifax B. Mk. III serial LW416 many times. Constructed in a batch of 35 by Handley Page Ltd. at Cricklewood and assembled at Radlett between 29 November 43 to 22 December 1943. Assigned to No. 424 [Tiger] Squadron she was assigned code letters QB-L and give the nose art name “Long Shot Lou.” Below is early 1998 replica, painted on Halifax skin from NA337, for Karl Kjarsgaard.
Lou, the black bear flew her first operation on 19/20 February 1944, and went on to complete eleven more until she made a belly landing on 27 March 1944. Repaired the Halifax was sent to No. 426 [Thunderbird] Squadron, wearing code OW-L and flew eight more operations until 17/18 June 1944. Transferred a third time to No. 420 [Snowy Owl] Squadron at Tholthorpe, Yorkshire, she received code PT-E for “Easy.” Most aircrew refused to fly the old veteran Halifax and she was assigned to a new crew of F/O Jim Tease from Winnipeg, Manitoba, on 21 June 1944. Jim and his crew liked the flying feel of the old bomber and she became their Halifax on 24 June 1944. F/O Jim Tease log book recording his 2nd operation, 1st flight in LW416.
The bear nose art was removed and repainted by ground crew LAC Jimmy Smith, the squadron artist. The crew picked the nose art name “Take Yer Time I’m Easy” to go with the call sign ‘E for Easy’ and the simple fact it was very easy to engage in sex with British ladies during WWII.
The large impressive nose art being painted by ground crew LAC Jimmy Smith, including British girlfriend names. [I wonder if they knew they were being advertised as easy ladies]
In the fall of 2008, I received an invitation from Shirley Render of the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg, to create a six-month RCAF WWII nose art exhibit.
I decided to honour and surprise 86-year-old pilot F/O Jim Tease, who in turn arrived [March 2009] wearing his 1944 RCAF uniform, and looking like he could climb into his Halifax and take off for Germany. A most enjoyable evening was had by all and the nose art exhibit was extended until March 2010. F/O Jim Tease was also surprised with a replica tail art painting which artist Jimmy Smith painted on Halifax LW416. This rare Snowy Owl tail art with five red Maple Leafs was the only RCAF Halifax tail fin painting I have found in over 50 years of nose art research. The replica nose art and tail fin painting on original skin from Halifax NA337 were donated to the Western Canada Aviation Museum, [today Royal Western Canada Aviation Museum] in honour of Winnipeg pilot Jim Tease.
The rare RCAF “D-type” tail fin art painting of a Snowy Owl on Halifax B. Mk. III, serial LW416, author replica painted in 2008, on original rare tail fin from Halifax NA337.
Sometimes a simple cartoon style nose art painting contained the special heroic actions of the pilot, such as Halifax serial MZ807, “C for Corkscrew Charlie.”
No. 433 [Porcupine] Squadron was formed at Skipton-On-Swale on 25 September 1943, the fourteenth and last RCAF bomber squadron formed overseas during WWII. [No. 415 was re-designated a bomber squadron on 12 July 1944] Halifax B. Mk. III, serial LV839 was constructed by Rootes Securities, Speke, between 14 January to 1 February 1944, delivered to No. 433 squadron where she was flown by assorted aircrews. On 28/29 June 1944, R70185, W/O H. G. McVeigh was the captain of LV839, part of 86 RCAF bombers attacking Metz, where seven would be shot down. The Halifax was attacked four times by German night fighters, and McVeigh managed to evade the first three attacks by the evasive action called ‘corkscrew’. On the fourth attack bullets struck the starboard fin and the rudder was shot off, his starboard elevator, aileron, and wing tip were destroyed, also major damage was inflicted on the starboard flaps, and main-plane of the Halifax aircraft. At 13,000 feet the bomber went into a tight spiral dive, and the pilot ordered his crew to abandon the out of control bomber. The Air Bomber and Mid-Upper gunner baled out before McVeigh regained control at 6,000 feet. He then set a course for England, and shortly after, the inner port engine quit.
Somehow he reached Woodbridge and made an emergency landing at 155 mph on three engines and saved his four remaining aircrew. The Halifax LV839 was sent for repairs and later transferred to No. 517 Squadron RAF, struck off charge 13 August 1946, and scrapped. No. 433 Squadron received a new Halifax B. Mk. III, serial MZ807, which was constructed by English Electric Co., Salmesbury, Preston, between 23 June to 14 July 1944. The McVeigh crew first flew this new bomber on 14/15 July 1944, and a few days later the British Flight Engineer, Sgt. Robert Hood painted the Halifax with special nose art “Corkscrew Charlie.”
This 3’ by 3’ original skin panel from Halifax NA337 was painted for Paul Dickie, Ottawa, Ontario, 27 February 2004, a special close friend of Karl Kjarsgaard.
A second replica nose art panel on Halifax NA337 original skin was painted as “Corkscrew Charlie” and donated to the Bomber Command Museum of Canada, Nanton, Alberta, nose art collection.
RCAF Nose Art Censorship was rare as the Canadians did not go crazy painting nude ladies, such as the American 8th Air Force in England. The Americans acted like kids in a candy store, however the Canadians had been introduced to Jane two years before, possibly the main reason for less nudity. On 18 May 1943, No. 428 Squadron received Group Organization Circular No. 8, directing the Squadron to move from RCAF Station Dalton, to RCAF Station Middleton St. George, effective 4 June 1943. The Squadron personnel, Wellington aircraft and equipment including M.T. vehicles began the move on 4 June, all air and road transfer was completed four days later. Air Frame Mechanic R168895, AC1 Delbert L. Todd, was part of the main party which consisted of 39 airmen in the ground staff, who settled into their new home on 8 June. The Squadron soon began conversion training in the new Halifax B. Mk. V, Series 1a bombers, and the first operations were flown 19/20 June 1943.
LAC Delbert Todd recorded the arrival of this new Halifax Mk. V in late June, before the bomber code letters could be painted on, below the No. 428 Mk. V’s on their hard-stands in July 1943.
This is my copy of the original photo in the album of LAC Delbert Todd, a rare find, captured and preserved in March 1944. In November 1943, No. 428 Squadron began converting from the Halifax Mk. V to the Halifax B. Mk. II, Series 1a bomber aircraft, and they had 23 on charge by the end of December 43. Halifax Mk. II, serial JN973, was given code letter “U” and flew her first operation on 22/23 November 1943. This image was taken by LAC Todd after her 16th operation, which would be between 3 to 6 March 1944, and she has received her new nose art – “U for Uncle Sam’s Peace Terms.” The three Axis leaders are lined up to kiss the ass of Uncle Sam, and Mussolini has just left his lip prints on Sam’s bare rear end.
LAC Todd recalled the nose art only remained on the Halifax for a few days, as No. 428 Squadron Padre, S/L Harry Coleman, ordered it removed immediately, as it was too political in nature. The real surprise is this Canadian nose art in fact told the complete postwar truth.
This replica nose art was painted in 2010, on the front floor escape panel from Halifax NA337, and it was completed in honor of AC1, Delbert Todd, No. 428 [Ghost] Squadron. This was the last nose art panel completed for the Bomber Command Museum at Nanton, Alberta.
On 18 April 1944, the aircrew of P/O Gordon William Lillico climbed into Halifax “U” serial JN973 and took off at 20:32 Hrs. The Halifax failed to return and the crew have no known grave.
The aircrew of No. 408 Squadron Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial PN230, EQ-V, the day the nose art was finished 27 February 1945. L. to R. – Mid-Upper gunner “Bob” Robert Crawford, [Rabbit] Rear gunner F/Sgt. B. Herring [Hairless Joe], Navigator F/O Art Larson [Gee Sam], pilot WO1 Ron Craven, [Dirty Old Man], Wireless A/G WO2 Art Dobbs, [Blood and Guts], FL/Engineer Sgt Charles Wong [Gasless] and the nose artist, Air Bomber WO2 Bert Evans [Scratch].
Bert Evans was born in Sault Saint Marie, Ontario, 29 March 1923, and from an early age showed talent in drawing and calligraphy. In 1943, he joined the RCAF and arrived in England with No. 408 [Goose] Squadron on 19 December 1944. On 22 February 1945, the crew were assigned a new Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial PN230. The crew could not agree on a name for their aircraft, then during discussions among the aircrew in regards to their amorous adventures with British ladies, someone stated “if there’s a virgin in all of England, she must be a very vicious lady.” That inspired the new bomber name – “Vicky the Vicious Virgin” [EQ-V] which Bert Evans painted in large bright red lettering, outlined with white, on each side of the Halifax nose. Next came the selection of a nose art pin-up lady, which was left up to the artist Evans to find and paint. On return from a raid to Wesel, Germany, 17 February, the Halifax was diverted to an RAF base [Chatterhall, Berwickshire, Scotland] due to bad weather, and Bert decided to get an American style haircut. While the barber worked on his hair, Bert noticed a good looking topless, red-headed pin-up lady on the wall, and he mentioned that would look very good on their new Halifax. Upon leaving the British barber give the pin-up photo to Bert and wished him good luck with his nose painting. [All photos from Bert Evans – 1999]
The crew of pilot R123205 WO 1 Ron N. Craven were posted from No. 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit on 19 December 1944. Pilot Craven flew 2nd Dicky in Halifax EQ-G, NR809 on 24 December 44, Dusseldorf/Lohausen Airfield, Germany. The Squadron [No. 408] had on charge seventeen Halifax Mk. VII aircraft and three Halifax Mk. III bombers. The Craven crew flew Halifax MZ495 EQ-V, 27 January 1945, Stuttgart, Germany. On 13/14 February they took MZ495 to Bohlen, Germany, and bombed Chemnitz the following night 14/15 February. On 17 February they flew Halifax NP717, code “W” to bomb Wesel, Germany, and were diverted to RAF Station Chatterhall, Berwickshire, Scotland, where the pin-up lady was given to Bert Evans. On 20/21 February 1945, they flew EQ-P, serial NP754 to bomb Monheim, Germany, followed by an attack on Worms, Germany, 21/22 February, in Halifax NP742, code letter “U.” Halifax “V” serial MZ495, was now transferred to No. 425 Squadron and replaced with a new bomber serial PN230, which was assigned to the Ron Craven aircrew on 23 February 1945. Ron Cravens log book records the nose art “Vicky” was completed by 27 February, when they took her to attack Mainz, Germany. [From Craven log book 28 February 1945] Craven noticed the black Halifax under surface was a vey rough paint and without seeking RCAF permission he obtained two buckets of British issue yellowish floor wax. The entire crew spent the day applying the wax to the Halifax bomber and then hand polishing the complete aircraft under surface. On 2 March 1945, they attacked Cologne, Germany, and Craven found the wax had increased his airspeed by 20 mph and prevented any icing. Vicky the Vicious Virgin landed at base 25 minutes before the other 408 squadron bombers. Pilot Craven was ordered to appear before his Commanding Officer, W/C F.R. Sharp, DFC, and questioned in regards to over-straining his aircraft engines. The floor wax experiment was explained and he was excused with no charges. 5 March 1945, 183 bombers left England in extreme icing conditions and 25 aircraft crashed due to wing icing. On 6 March, RCAF ground crews were ordered to apply floor wax to all bomber under surfaces.
This is the cover page from the WWII photo album of Sgt. Thomas E. Dunn, [top line is his lettering style] born 23 December 1912, at Winnipeg, Manitoba. In July 1990, I enjoyed a full afternoon with 78-year-old Tom and his wife, plus recorded long lost nose art history which was totally forgotten by RCAF historians. During High School, Tom enrolled in a correspondence course on hand letter painting and that was his total artistic training. On 31 October 1941, he enlisted in the RCAF at Brandon, Manitoba, and after training as an air engine aircraft mechanic, was later posted to Aylmer, and Rockcliffe, Ontario, then Debert, Nova Scotia, in 1943. In December 1943, Cpl. Tom Dunn was sent overseas and stationed at No. 62 [RCAF] Base, East Moor, Yorkshire, home to No. 432 Squadron.
The Squadron had been officially adopted by the Town of Leaside, Ontario, on 11 October 1943, and began to re-equip with Halifax B. Mk. III bombers on 3 February 1944. They would receive on charge 122 Halifax Mk. III and Mk. VII aircraft until the end of the war [Europe] 8 May 1945.
Nose Artist Cpl. Tom Dunn began his Halifax B. Mk. III nose art painting in April 1944, and his first nude creation was – “Moonlight Mermaid” [NP689], followed by “Queen of Them All” [LW595], “Oscar the Outlaw” [LW593], and “Leaside Lulu” [LW583]. This image was taken from one frame of a 16 mm film recorded by the National Film Board of Canada, which should survive in the archives someplace in Ottawa today, I hope. Tom was soon promoted to Sargent and would paint the nose art on at least thirteen Halifax aircraft. Tom also decorated many other Halifax aircraft with bomb tallies after operations. He charged five English pounds for each large nose painting, which was $25 Canadian, “a lot of money for smokes and beer” he said. He would mark off the bomber nose with chalk squares, then chalk sketch his design, completing his art with basic RCAF aircraft oil color paints, red, yellow, white, dark blue, and black.
The most operations flown by an RCAF Halifax was ninety-five by “M for Mike” in No. 429 Squadron, but she carried no nose art. The above No. 432 Squadron Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial NP705, was another veteran which carried no art on her nose, completing 82 operations, all the bombs were painted by Sgt. Thomas Dunn. Constructed between 16 June – 5 July 1944, by English Electric Co., Salmesbury, Preston, she was sent for disposal 29 May 45, and recorded by F/L H. Lindsay before she was scrapped at RAF Kinloss, Scotland, [45 M.U.] in June 1945.
“Utopia” was the final and 13th RCAF aircraft nose art painted by Tom Dunn, Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial RG478, arrived 5 February 1944, flew 17 operations.
Replica painting of “Utopia”
RG478 was one of eight Halifax Mk. VII bombers constructed by Handley Page Ltd. Cricklewood and Raddlett, first week of February 1945.
This panel from QO-U [Utopia] was selected by F/L Harold Lindsay for salvage and return to Canada. This is an author replica painting of what it looked like, and I believe it survives somewhere in Canada today. Flew first operation on 1 March 1945, pilot F/O W.P. Gregory, and last 17th operation to Wangerooge, Germany, on 25 April 45, pilot F/Sgt. P.C. Neville. Flown to No. 45 Maintenance Unit, RAF Kinloss, Scotland, for disposal on 28 May 1945, photographed by Lindsay in the next few weeks, 35 mm negative RE77-70, Roll #1, Print #3.
The largest original Halifax bomber nose art panel in the world is today found in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario. It is 11’3” wide by 5‘1” in height, and it was painted by Sgt. Thomas E Dunn in England, between 14 September and 5 October 1944. Today it hangs with no information or educational value, the most famous RCAF surviving bomber nose art in the world, and Canadian historians don’t care. [Most don’t even know]
Photo Thomas Dunn – July 1990. WILLIE “The Wolf” Mk. VII, serial NP707, QO-W.
No. 432 [Leaside] began converting from the Avro Lancaster B. Mk. II aircraft to the Halifax B. Mk. III bombers on 3 February 1944, when the first two Halibags arrived at Base No. 62. The last eleven Lancaster aircraft were flown out 9 February 1944. Three Halifax Mk. III aircraft flew with the code letters QO-W, the first serial LK779 completed four operations, [1 to 19 March 1944] shot down Frankfurt, Germany, 23 March 1944. Replaced by LW682, completed four operations [9 to 27 April 1944] shot down 27/28 April 44, Montzen, Germany. The third Halifax became serial MZ632, which completed 24 operations 8 May until 9 July 1944, then No. 432 Squadron converted to the new Halifax B. Mk. VII aircraft. [MZ632 went to No. 415 Squadron, 28 July 1944, and would become the 2nd WILLIE “The Wolf” nose art painted by Tom Dunn]
No. 432 Squadron received 27 new Halifax B. Mk. VII aircraft from a batch of 43 constructed by Handley Page Ltd, Cricklewood and Radlett, between 16 June to 30 July 1944. Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial NP707 [above] was delivered on 5 July 1944, and flew her first operation on 11 July, pilot J8973 F/L D. von Laufer, target Thiverney. The aircraft was assigned to the aircrew of J87003, P/O A. Potter on her ninth operation and they would fly her twenty-three more operations. On 13 September 1944, a sprog aircrew damaged the Halifax in a landing accident and the repairs were not being completed until 6 October 1944. During this repair time, nose artist Tom Dunn was commissioned to paint the bomber with a wolf chasing a nude lady and the name of WILLIE “The Wolf.” Halifax NP707 completed a total of 67 operations in a nine-month period of war, 11 July until 25 March 1945. During these nine months twenty-three different aircrews flew in this bomber, while 112 other RCAF bombers would be shot down, with 784 aircrew killed in action or prisoner of war. On 25 May 1945, the Halifax was flown to the former Handley Page Repair Depot, No. 43 Group at Rawcliffe village for scrapping. Around 29 May 45, F/L H. Lindsay arrived and selected this nose art for salvage and return to Canada. F/L Lindsay’s June 1945, record file card of NP707 operations follows.
After completing 13 operations, Halifax NP707 was involved in a training landing accident [a rookie freshman aircrew] on 13 September 1944. Tom Dunn was part of the repair ground crew, which also allowed him time to paint the new nose art on “Willie” while in the RCAF hangar, as this was a rainy month in United Kingdom. The idea came from the name Wolf, the term used for all the foreign servicemen who were chasing British ladies for a romantic encounter.
In early June 1945, Harold Lindsay recorded three images of NP707, WILLIE “The Wolf” on 35 mm B & W film Roll #6, Print #4, 5, and 6. These are on file somewhere in Ottawa, Canada, today, or were in 1977.
Above is the June 1945 image taken in England, and the original nose art panel arrived in Ottawa on 7 May 1946. On 10 June 1976, it was placed on loan inside the RCAF Officer’s Mess in Ottawa, where I first saw it in April 1977. The original artist Tom Dunn did not know his nose art survived, until I informed him during our 1990 interview. Forty-six years later, 7 August 1991, Tom Dunn made a visit to see his nude nose art lady in the RCAF Officer’s Mess.
What occurred next is still causing problems for our Canadian War Museum historians and many other researchers in England and Canada. In 1990, I had images of two different RCAF Halifax bombers with the same looking nose art and both were named WILLIE “The Wolf.” Tom explained the reason, he had painted both Halifax bombers at East Moor, Yorkshire, in September and October 1944. On 12 July 1944, No. 415 [Swordfish] Squadron was re-designated from a Coastal Squadron to a Bomber Squadron, and they moved to No. 62 [RCAF] Base where No. 432 [Leaside] Squadron was based. No. 415 received 28 old Halifax B. Mk. III bombers, and eleven flown by No. 432 were now transferred to No. 415 Squadron on the other side of the airfield at East Moor, and many came with ‘their’ original nose art. This has really caused many problems for historians and researchers, unless you interview the ground or aircrews, it can become very confusing to even the WWII veterans themselves.
Halifax B. Mk. III serial MZ632 was constructed by L.P.T.B, Leavesden, in a batch between 24 April to 11 May 1944. MZ632 was delivered to No. 432 [Leaside] Squadron, code QO-W, and flew her first operation on 8/9 May 1944, then went on to complete 23 more operations up until 9 July 1944. This Halifax aircraft contained no nose art painting or name, and was transferred to No. 415 Squadron on 28 July 1944. Halifax B. Mk. III, serial MZ632 kept her code letter “W” and began flying operations with No. 415 Squadron on 1 August 1944.
The twenty-eight veteran Halifax B. Mk. III aircraft which were on charge with No. 415 Squadron beginning 1 August 1944, and almost half [eleven] came from No. 432 Squadron.
A LL575 Ex No. 420 Squadron
B LK765 Ex No. 432 Squadron
C MZ590 Ex No. 432 Squadron
D NA582 Ex No. 420 Squadron
E MZ603 Ex No. 426 Squadron
F NA583 Ex No. 420 Squadron
F NR206 Ex No. 424 Squadron Fi-Fi Pink Elephant
G NA609 Assigned 415 Squadron
H LW680 Ex No. 425 Squadron
I NP935 Ex No. 433 Squadron
J MZ660 Ex No. 432 Squadron
K LK755 Ex No. 427-432 Squadron
L MZ654 Ex No. 432 Squadron
M NA583 Ex No. 420 Squadron
N LL576 Ex No. 425 Squadron
N NR199 Ex No. 408 Squadron Prune Finger RE77-85
O NA610 Ex No. 420 Squadron
P LK766 Ex No. 432 Squadron
Q LW595 Ex No. 432 Squadron
R NA517 Ex No. 431 Squadron
S LW552 Ex No. 424 Squadron
T NA611 Ex No. 420 Squadron
U NA600 Assigned No. 415 Squadron
V LK766 Ex No. 432 Squadron
W MZ632 Ex No. 432 Squadron – flew 24 operations, 8 May to 9 July 44, with 432.
X MZ690 Ex No. 426 Squadron
Y MZ586 Ex No. 432 Squadron
Z MZ585 Ex No. 432 Squadron
When Tom Dunn finished painting WILLIE “The Wolf” on Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial NP707 in No. 432 Squadron in early October, he was asked by the No. 415 aircrew of Halifax B. Mk. III, serial MZ632, if he would paint the same name and nose art on their bomber. This was completed between 7 - 11 October and now a pair of look-a-like bombers flew from East Moor, Yorkshire.
The second Willie “The Wolf” painted on Halifax B. Mk. III, serial MZ632, mid-October 1944.
The twenty-seven bombs tallies are for the following dates –
1 1 August 1944, V-bomb site, Ferme du Perestel, France. P/O O.E. Lindquist
2 3 August 1944, V-bomb site, Foret de Nieppe, France. P/O O.E. Lindquist
3 4 August 1944, V-bomb site, Bois de Gassan, France. P/O R.W. Gingrich
4 5 August 1944, V-bomb site, St. Lou D’esserant, France. P/O O.E. Lindquist.
5 7 August 1944, Caen, P/O O.E. Lindquist.
6 9 August 1944, V-bomb site, Foret de Nieppe, France. P/O G.T. McKean.
7 14 August 1944, Falaise, Bons Tassilly, France. P/O O.E. Lindquist.
8 14 August 1944, Falaise, Bons Tassilly, France. P/O O.E. Lindquist.
9 18/19 August 1944, Bremen, Germany. F/O B. H. Roberts.
10 25/26 August 1944, Brest-Pte-des Cornouailles, France. P/O Ron Sierolawski.
11 27 August 1944, V-bomb site, Mimoyecquez, France. P/O G.T. McKean.
12 31 August 1944, Ile de Cezembre, France. F/O B.H. Roberts.
13 3 September 1944, Volkel, German airfield. P/O J.D. Little
14 11 September 1944, Castrop-Rauxel, France. P/O O.E. Lindquist.
15 12 September 1944, Wanne-Eickel, Germany. P/O O.E. Lindquist.
16 15 September 1944, Kiel, Germany. P/O O.E. Lindquist.
17 27 September 1944, Bottrop, Germany. P/O D.D. MacNeil.
18 6 October 1944, Dortmund, Germany. P/O O.E. Lindquist.
19 12 October 1944, Wanne-Eickel, Germany. F/O Ron Sierolawski.
20 14 October 1944, Duisburg, Germany. F/O Ron Sierolawski.
21 23/24 October 1944, Essen, Germany. F/O S.W. Moores.
22 25 October 1944, Homberg, Germany. F/O O.E. Lindquist.
23 28 October 1944, Cologne, Germany. F/O O.E. Lindquist.
24 30 October 1944, Cologne, Germany. F/O O.E. Lindquist.
25 1 November 1944, Oberhausen, Germany. F/O O.E. Lindquist.
26 2/3 November 1944, Dusseldorf, Germany. F/O O.E. Lindquist.
27 4/5 November 1944, Bochum, Germany. F/O O.E. Lindquist.
WILLIE “The Wolf” [Number Two] Halfax B. Mk. III, serial MZ632, flew 15 more operations with No. 415 Squadron, the last on 9 February 1945, for a total of 42. She was transferred to RAF No. 1665 Heavy Conversion Unit and crashed at Tilstock, Shropshire, England, on 17 March 1945. THE NOSE ART WAS NOT SALVAGED.
On 30 October 2011, a nose art story appeared in the Ottawa Citizen Newspaper, by Dave Brown, titled – Bomber Nose Art carries a story. It can be read online, and tells the story of 88-year-old Ottawa pilot Ron Sierolawski and the bomber he flew named WILLIE “The Wolf.” The sad part is the fact this proud WWII Halifax pilot believed the nose art panel in the Canadian War Museum collection was the one he flew three times during 1944. In fact, the Canadian War Museum online info still incorrectly lists pilot Ron Sierolawski with this No. 432 Squadron nose art panel. That’s why we need history with the Canadian RCAF nose art collection, to educate, and preserve the truth, for future generations. [and even our veterans] I rest my case.
Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial NP707, [In War Museum, Ottawa] No. 432 Squadron, WILLIE “The Wolf” flew 67 combat operations with 23 different RCAF aircrew members from 11 July 1944 until 25 April 1945. Thirteen aircrew flew her on one operation, five flew two operations, one flew three operations, four aircrew flew her on four operations, one on five operations and one crew [F/O Potter, who named her] flew their ‘Halibag’ on twenty-four operations.
P/O Harold Kearl flew “Willie The Wolf” NP707 on 25 March 1945 to bomb Munster, Germany. Harold joined the RCAF in November 1942, and did his elementary training at No. 5 EFTS High River, Alberta, then moved on to No. 15 SFTS Claresholm, Alberta which was nicknamed Windy Wings. He began pilot training in class #89 on 18 September 1943, graduated ‘above average’ on 17 January 1944. Ten days later, Harold was informed his older brother F/Lt. Elden E. Kearl, pilot of Lancaster Mk. II, EQ-P, serial DS709, had been shot down over Berlin and killed in action. It was the birthday of Elden, who turned 23 years of age just hours before he perished.
On 8 August 1944, P/O Kearl was posted to No. 24 [OUT] Operational Training Unit at Honeybourne, where he picked his first aircrew flying RAF Wellington Mk. III trainer bombers.
On 2 January 1945, this sprog aircrew were posted to No. 1664 Heavy Conversion Unit, Dishforth, Yorkshire, where they trained in veteran flown Halifax B. Mk. III aircraft. On 23 February 1945, they were posted to No. 432 [Leaside] Squadron at East Moor, Yorkshire, flying Halifax B. Mk. VII aircraft. Kearl’s log book records he flew his first 2nd Dicky operation with S/L K.A. France in Halifax Mk. VII, serial PN229 “C” on 1 March 45, target Mannheim, Germany. The crew flew their third operation to Dortmund, on 12 March 45, in Halifax NP755. “Avenging Angel” which was a full nude, and survives today in the War Museum collection, wearing a green bathing suit. P/O Kearl flew 15 operations in eight different Halifax bombers, the last on 22 April 45, Halifax “G” PN208.
The very last entry [a 30 min. flight] in the Harold Kearl log book was written by him on 29 May 1945 – “W”, Willie the Wolf. Graced the sky for the last time. She was no longer needed as the war was over. I flew her to Handley-Page, Clinton Dome, near York, her birthplace and to her end. Hundreds of aircraft were assembled there to be scrapped, bulldozed, and burnt. Such a fatal ending for a Halifax bomber that gave so much to so many Canadians in Yorkshire, and over the wartime skies of Germany and Europe.
It would be another 45 years until No. 432 Squadron pilot Harold Kearl learned the nose art of WILLIE “The Wolf’ in fact survived in Ottawa, and they have it listed with the wrong RCAF Squadron and pilot. What a total disgrace for a proud RCAF veteran.
This photo was taken 27 March 2019, and 96 year-old- Harold Kearl holds a model of his loved Halifax WWII bomber. I am so honored to have known Harold and his wife Marilyn for the past thirty years, and shared so many hours of enjoyment. Each November 11th, this proud Calgary couple attend a local school and speak to the new generation of Canadians, educating them on the tragic effects of war, and even RCAF Halifax nose art.
Torchy Tess Todd – Halifax Nose Art
Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial PN237 came from batch #A0608 of 45 constructed by Fairey Aviation, Stockport, 3 February to 4 May 1945. Delivered to No. 432 Squadron on 27 February 1945, she swung at East Moor at 14:59 Hrs, 16 April 1945, and crashed landed. Repaired and re-assigned to No. 415 Squadron on 2 March 1945, the bomber was assigned to the crew of pilot Lew Minkler, from Edmonton, Alberta. The nose art name and image came from an American Army Camp Newspaper [Fort Hamilton, New York] issue which featured a sexy Blonde lady called Tess Todd, [insert] and her comic strip was just called “Torchy.” The lead-in cartoon frame read – “Why would a little G.I. like you want to dance with a BIG girl like me?”
Lew Minkler was born in British Columbia on 27 October 1923, and the following year his family moved to Lacombe, Alberta, where he graduated from High School in June 1942. Lew enlisted in the RCAF in July, and completed all his pilot training in Alberta. No. 5 EFTS at High River, and received his wings at No. 37 SFTS at Calgary, October 1943.
Arriving at East Moor, Yorkshire, home of No. 415 Squadron, F/O Minkler flew his first operation as 2nd Dicky with F/L C.A. Chartick, 13/14 January 1945, Halifax “J” NR249. From 16/17 January to 7/8 March 1945, the aircrew flew thirteen operations in eleven different Halifax bombers serial in order – NR172, MZ586, MZ947, MZ632, MZ946, NR146, NA181, NP938, NA201, NR145, and LW122.
On 8 March, they were assigned a new Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial PN237, code 6U-T, and flew their first operation on 8/9 March 1945, when 82 bombers attacked Hamburg, Germany. The Halifax received the nose art name and painting of “Torchy Tess” from ground crew Air Engine Mechanic LAC Boris Nicklehoff. [From interview with pilot Minkler in Edmonton, Alberta, 1999]
Pilot Minkler took this photo which cut off the nude Tess, he didn’t want his mother to see the sexy nude nose art. It’s hard to believe the majority of WWII RCAF bomber pilots were 20-24 years of age, younger than many of their aircrew comrades, and they were the Captain of their own four-engine Halifax bomber aircraft.
Tess Todd [Torchy] was created by artist Pte. Bill Ward for the Camp Army Newspaper at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, New York, in 1942 and entertained troops until the end of WWII.
The Minkler aircrew flew 30 operations and fifteen were in Torchy Tess, between 8 March to 25 April 1945. Lew “Lou” Minkler photo. Operational bombs were never painted on his Halifax.
Lew Minkler image taken at end of WWII, around mid-May of 1945. The Halifax was flown to No. 41 Group storage, possibly No. 29 Maintenance Unit at High Ercall, then No. 48 Maintenance Unit, RAF Hawarden [storage and scrapping site] on 29 May and scrapped in June 1945.
The art was selected for salvage and shipment to Canada, and it is possible survives today by some RCAF Officer’s relatives. How many original RCAF nose art panels were simply taken by Senior RCAF Officers in summer of 1946 many never be known. I do know that this impressive nude of “Torchy Tess” had to be saved and kept by someone. Maybe that’s why the War Museum in Ottawa, keep many negatives and records hidden from Canadian amateur historians such as myself, and you really have to dig to find the truth. Below is the original file card on Halifax PN237, completed by F/L Harold Lindsay in June 1945, and today in the war archives at Ottawa, Ontario. Copied by author in 1977.
In March 1946, Torchy debuted in her own comic book series, which can be found free online, and by 1952 Torchy had lost all her clothing.
Bill Ward next created a nude [large chest good-girl image] “Torchy” using pen, ink, charcoal, and wax. Prints such as this now sell for $5,000 to $6,000 [US] each, and he drew thousands.
It took the United States fifteen years to catch up with 1938 British nude Jane, and of course the American nude “Torchy” had much larger Breasts.
Halifax B. Mk. III, serial MZ876, “Happy Valley Harlot” another Canadian nude with connections to Happy Valley, Labrador, Newfoundland. [plus Blue-Nose Squadron] Newfoundland was a self-governing colony of Great Britain; it seems possible one of the RCAF crew members came from Goose Bay. Constructed by English Electric Co., Salmesbury, Preston, in a batch of forty built between 14 July and 29 July 1944. Delivered to No. 434 [Blue Nose] Squadron on 1 August 44, she was assigned the code letter “Y” and completed 41 operations between 10 August to 18 December 1944. The first four new Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X bombers arrived at No. 434 Squadron on 7 December 1944, and by 17 of the month they had seventeen on charge. With conversion training in full effect Happy Valley Harlot flew her last operation on 6 December 1944, pilot P/O A. Kiehlbauch. On 18 December 1944, RAF Bomber Command Instructors School [BCIS] was formed at RAF Station Finningley, Yorkshire and Halifax MZ876 was transferred to the school on that same date. The new instructor’s course lasted eleven weeks and featured the most experienced RAF aircrew as the students. Halifax MZ876 was given the code letters XI-K and joined old veteran Wellington and Lancaster aircraft in teaching flight training instructions. On 26 April 1945, the war was coming to an end, and MZ876 was flown for disposal at No. 41 Group, storage field at No. 29 High Ercall, where she was photographed by F/L Lindsay [above] 35 mm film roll #3, print #5. The Halifax was selected for salvage and return to Canada, however this nose art lady is not in the War Museum Ottawa collection today. The Halifax was scrapped at No. 48 M.U. RAF Hawarden in June-July 1945.
Author collection replica painting of Happy Valley Harlot.
The 1945, F/L Lindsay RCAF file card on the little red-headed lady from [Happy Valley] Goose Bay, Labrador, Newfoundland.
A nose art painting can also become a living memorial to a loved one killed during World War Two. Chuck Tolley is a military historian from Yellowknife, N.W.T., and a trusted friend who provided me with nose art records from RAF No. 158 Squadron [Strength in Unity]. Chuck’s Uncle, F/O Andrew Sharp, #J37536, was a navigator on a training flight in a Halifax B. Mk. III, serial number HX356. Six members of the Crew were all Canadians, [one RAF F/Engineer] serving in No. 158 Squadron, taking part in a normal training flight on 8 November 1944. After take-off the bomber climbed to 400 feet, then rolled over and dove into the ground killing all of the aircrew. The crash site was two miles west of the runway at Lissett, East Yorkshire, and near the village of Gembling, England. The Halifax bomber was constructed by Handley Page Ltd., Cricklewood and Radlett, assigned code letters NP-G with 158 Squadron, named “Goofy’s Gift”, having completed 22 operations. Painted on original Halifax skin from NA337, this nose art became a special memorial gift to Chuck for his RCAF Navigator uncle, 29-year-old F/O Andrew Sharp, born Point Edward, Ontario.
Six months before the ending of the war in Europe, 8 May 1945, the British Government began to prepare for the scrapping of a vast number, almost 22,000, obsolete surplus WWII aircraft. RAF Maintenance Command was officially formed on 1 April 1938, followed by No. 40 Group formed within the Command on 3 January 1939. No. 41 Group was formed in early 1940, and they took technical control of all aircraft delivered from the factory and flown to airfields across United Kingdom. [Many were British female ferry pilots] They also had technical control of all stored aircraft with eleven major airfields in U.K. No. 42 Group became responsible for the storage, movement, and issue of all RAF munitions, oxygen, and fuel, with 95 aviation fuel depots and five ammo dumps spread across the United Kingdom. No 43 Group [Salvage] was responsible for aircraft salvage and repair, with 35 units spread across the United Kingdom.
In regards to my RCAF nose art history concerning the original collection in the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, it is very important to understand No. 41 Group and No. 43 Group RAF both came under direct control of the British Ministry of Aircraft Production, and that is where and why, our present day Canadian WWII Halifax nose art collection in Ottawa was preserved.
When the war in Europe ended, combat squadron pilots began to fly the veteran Halifax aircraft to selected RAF Maintenance Units, for scrapping, while others were placed into long-Term Storage. I have interviewed a number of RCAF pilots who ferried the veteran Halifax aircraft to these Maintenance Units. One pilot and one navigator flew three to five trips a day, and then returned to base in an Avro Anson aircraft. By January 1946, a list of British aircraft ordered scrapped totaled 21,842, with another 12,560 placed into long-term storage. This included 77 captured German aircraft of sixteen different types, all of which were placed into long-term storage. Wellington Mk. VII bombers were obsolete and 1,528 were flown to a M.U. where 1,118 were placed into long-term storage, then scrapped by February 1954. The Tiger Moth Mk. II aircraft totalled 1,020, with 643 placed into long-term storage, then 100 were sold in 1954, the remainder were scrapped. The Handley-Page Halifax bombers Mk. II , Mk. III , Mk. V , and Mk. VII , were no longer needed, and out of 914 combat survivors only 67 would be placed into long-term storage, the remainder were scrapped along with their nose art images. This group of 914 combat veteran Halifax bombers included the last and very best of RCAF Canadian nose art images, [some which I have replica painted on Halifax NA337 skin] and soon they would be smelted into British pots and pans. Nobody cared, but then one RCAF officer took matters into his own hands and decided to save what nose art he could for future RCAF historical merit. That’s the reason our Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, has the largest and rarest collection of Halifax RCAF nose art in the world.
The 1949 classic film “Twelve O’clock High” starring Gregory Peck, is my all-time outstanding Second World War aviation bomber command film. Based on the true history of the American 8th Air Force in England during WWII, it is a thoroughly convincing human drama, which also superbly touches on the psychological effects of wartime stress and the use of B-17 Flying Fortress bomber nose art 1942-45.
The opening moments of the film are the most perfectly conceived of all wartime films, with the war songs “Bless’em All” and “Don’t sit under the Apple Tree” playing in the background as ex-Major Harvey Stovall [Dean Jagger] takes a nostalgic walk on his old hay-covered abandoned British airfield. While these opening American movie scenes were fictional, they capture the very real actions of Canadian F/L Harold Lindsay as he walked down two hay covered English airfields from early April to mid-June 1945.
Canadian Officer F/L Harold Hunter Lindsay #C11987 was the RCAF Operations Officer stationed at High Wicombe, RAF Bomber Command. In early April 1945, he read official RAF orders that directed the ferrying of all RCAF Halifax bombers to two large Maintenance Units in England, where almost all of these veteran Canadian flown Halifax bombers would be reduced to scrap. At once he realized it was extremely important to save a few of these Canadian nose art images painted on the British bombers before they were cut into sections for smelting. F/L Lindsay approached his commanding officer, Wing Commander W. R. Thompson, A.O.C. of RCAF Operations, and received permission to travel to each graveyard, photograph the RCAF Halifax nose art and select the best examples for preservation and shipment to Ottawa, Canada. Lindsay selected one of the British civilian employees [Robert Goodwin] who was part of the British scrapping operation, and directed him to mark each nose art panel, which was first selected by Lindsay. Later Mr. Goodwin would cut the art image nose section from the Halifax fuselage, crate the nose art paintings, and ship to Department of National Defence for Air, Lisgar Building Ottawa, Canada, RCAF Air Historian War Museum.
These once proud RCAF Halifax bombers had been flown from their Canadian base in England by normal combat Canadian pilots, landing at their assigned Storage Maintenance Unit, where they were parked and forgotten. The largest number of RCAF Halifax bombers were ferried to No. 43 Group [salvage] controlled M.U. which was the former Handley Page Repair Depot at Rawcliffe, Yorkshire. The first grass airstrip was established on 27 May 1933, in an area known as Clifton Moor. In September 1939, the aerodrome was taken over by the Air Ministry and used as a satellite station by RAF Station Linton-On-Ouse, to store aircraft in case of German bomber attacks. Because of the large numbers of Halifax four engine-bombers in Yorkshire, the British Ministry of Aircraft Production decided to establish a Civilian Repair Unit at Clifton in the spring of 1941. By the fall of 1942, major construction and expansion had been completed, with 12 Blister hangars, three concrete runways, a perimeter track, and two large aircraft hangar complexes, one on the west side near the village of Rawcliffe, and a second on the south end of the Yorkshire airfield. Over 2,000 Halifax bomber aircraft would be repaired at Rawcliffe until 8 May 1945, then thousands more were flown in to be scrapped in the following two years. F/L Lindsay arrived at Handley Page No. 43 Group [Rawcliffe] in a small British truck driven by his friend Robert Goodwin, however the exact date is not clear, possibly early April 1945. Many veteran RCAF Halifax bombers were lined up one after another on the airfield runway, awaiting the scrapping operation to begin. Lindsay walked each row of the forgotten bombers and captured 49 Black and White 35 mm images of their RCAF nose art, on seven rolls of film, containing eight prints per roll.
R.A.F. No. 43 Group, Northern England, [salvage and scrapping] Rawcliffe, [Clifton] Yorkshire, May 1945-1947. No. 3 Ferry Pilots, Air Transport Auxiliary, moved hundreds of aircraft for scrapping at Rawcliffe.
F/L Lindsay next selected at least twelve nose art paintings [and one tail art] for salvage and return to Canada. What is still confusing today to many historians is the simple fact two very rare aircraft paintings, [nose and tail] were both removed from the same Halifax Mk. VII, bomber, serial LW207, No. 426 Squadron, named “Willie the Wolf from the West.”
1. Film roll #1, Print #1 Ville de Quebec Halifax NP957
2. Film roll #2, Print #2 Archie the Archer Halifax LL575
3. Film roll #2, Print #6 Jake Sent Me Halifax LK828
4. Film roll #2, Print #7 Fangs of Fire Halifax LV953
5. Film roll #4, Print #1 Jumpin’ Jimmy Halifax PN236
6. Film roll #4, Print #3 Notorious Nan Halifax NP747
7. Film roll #4, Print #6 Ol’ Daid Eye [tail art] Halifax LW207
8. Film roll #4, Print #7 Willie the Wolf from the West Halifax LW207
9. Film roll #5, Print #1 Drum Major girl Halifax NP714
10. Film roll #6, Print #1 Willie Wolf Halifax NP717
11. Film roll #6, Print #3 The Avenging Angel Halifax NP755
12. Film roll #6, Print #4 Willie the Wolf Halifax NP707
13. Film roll #7, Print #1 Indian Head Halifax MZ655
Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial LW207 was from a batch of fifteen bombers constructed by English Electric Co. Salmesbury, Preston, between 31 May and 14 June 1944. The Halifax was first assigned to No. 420 [Snowy Owl] Squadron on 13 June 44, then returned to No. 45 Maintenance Unit two days later, reassigned to No. 426 [Thunderbird] Squadron on 16 June 1944. The first operation was flown on 21 June 44, to St. Martin L’Hortier, France, by pilot WO2 R.A. Lamb. The second operation to Bientque, France, was flown by S/L B.D. Patterson from Calgary, Alberta, and this Halifax became his aircraft coded OW-W which he flew her nine more times.
The original No. 426 [Thunderbird] Squadron Halifax B. Mk. III, serial MZ674, wearing code OW-W was test flown by the Patterson crew on 17 May 1944, and this became their original bomber with name “Willie the Wolf from the West, and a large portrait of a Wolf pilot [Patterson] as nose art. They flew MZ674 on seven operations, the last on 15 June 1944, to Boulogne, France, then No. 426 [Thunderbird] Squadron converted over to the new Halifax B. Mk. VII aircraft on 16 June. The Patterson crew received their new Halifax OW-W serial LW207, on 22 June 44, and flew her to Bientques, France, the following day.
A few weeks later, [the second] duplicate nose art painting of Wolf pilot and name “Willie the Wolf from the West” was painted on Halifax Mk. VII, serial LW207. S/L Patterson was from the West, Calgary, Alberta, and was a bit of a wolf in chasing British ladies. This information was taken from the log book of S/L Bedford Donald Chase Patterson J10296, DFC, Officer Commanding “B” Flight in 1944, and my interview with his mid-upper gunner P/O William Francis Bessent J88434, who I had the pleasure to meet at Nanton, Alberta. W/C Cliff Black, DFC, a friend for years, also provided detailed input, as he was C.O. of No. 426 Squadron during the last four months of World War Two.
Top is original image of Halifax Mk. VII, serial LW207 nose art from Mid-Upper Gunner P/O Bessent, who is the man at bottom left. The man on the right is Wing Commander Cliff M. Black, DFC, the Commanding Officer of No. 426 Squadron, 29 January until 24 May 1945. They have just unveiled the author replica life-size nose art painting on Halifax Mk. VII, serial LW207 in honor of Calgary’s S/L Patterson and his aircrew. The original hangs in War Museum, Ottawa.
The very rare Halifax LW207 [serial number showing] tail art from collection of P/O William Bessent, Mid-Upper Gunner. This rare tail gun art painting came from the crew of P/O P.A. LaBelle, rear gun Sgt. E.M. Strauss, who first flew Halifax Mk. VII, serial LW207 on 7 July 1944.
The crew of pilot J85882 P/O P. A. LaBelle flew Halifax LW207 on 18 operations between 7 July until 6 October 1944, a raid to Dortmund, Germany. The bomber was involved in a training flight accident on 10 October 1944 and did not return to operations until 28/29 January 1945. The Halifax code letter was now changed to “K” for her remaining nineteen operations. For some unknown reason LW207 was transferred to No. 408 [Goose] Squadron on 13 May 1945, then the rear gunner of Halifax NP717, had his photo taken with the tail art of Ol’ Daid Eye.
Years of historical confusion followed because P/O C.L. Humphreys from 408 [Goose] Squadron had this photo taken with Ol’ Daid Eye, however he never flew in Halifax LW207. [PL40133]
The image taken by F/L Lindsay in June 1945, [Rawcliffe] negative RE77-76, Roll #4, Print #7. A bit of humor was added when his Hillbilly male scrotum was painted between his legs. This was painted over when the panel went on public display in the Canadian War Museum in 2005.
The rear gun tail-art idea came from a 1944 Hillbilly cartoon for spark plugs.
This is the June 1945, Halifax LW207 record file sheet of operations prepared by F/L Harold Lindsay. S/L Don Patterson was the Officer Commanding “B” Flight of No. 426 [Thunderbird] Squadron from May to August 1944. During this time period he flew his “Willie” on ten operations, and this was the same time the nose art appeared on his bomber. [I believe it was painted between 8 to 14 July 1944] The nose art appears in a photo with S/L Don Patterson taken on 17 August 1944, displaying bombs for 25 operations. The RCAF nose artist name is unknown and most likely was a ground crew member with very good artistic talent. The rear gunner tail art was painted between 7 July to 6 October 1944, and was completed by possibly another artist who was paid by rear gunner Sgt. Edward Strauss.
On 10 October 1944, Halifax LW207 was badly damaged in a flight training accident, and when she returned to operations, 28 January 45, the Halifax squadron code letter was changed to OW-K. On 24 February 1945, the navigator in LW207 was struck by flak, which hit his watch in the breast pocket of his uniform. Luckily, his watch took the full force, breaking one rib, but saving his life, a hundred million-to-one chance. The lucky RCAF navigator was # J13844, F/L P.K. Deane, wounded on the only operation he flew in “Ol’ Daid Eye.”
The bottom right image was taken on 17 August 1944, S/L Don Patterson, DFC, stands under his Halifax LW207, which is showing 25 completed bombing operations. The S/L had just received his DFC at Buckingham Palace on 11 August, and returned to No. 426 Squadron. The RCAF ground crew are LAC Jake Shantz on left and fitter LAC Don Forester on right.
Willie the Wolf from the West flew her 58th and last operation on 25 April 1845, to bomb Wangerooge, Germany, pilot F/L G.V. Rouse. No. 426 Squadron was re-designated Transport Squadron on 25 May 1945, and they were slowly converting to the Consolidated Liberator C. Mk. VIII aircraft. On 13 May 45, LW207 was transferred to No. 408 [Goose] Squadron where it remained for only three days. On 16 May 45, the Halifax was ready for disposal, but in that short period of time, someone painted over the name “Willie the Wolf from the West” and added fourteen white bombs, then painted over the lower body of the Wolf RCAF pilot uniform and aircraft control stick. The reason for this is still unknown, as LW207 flew no operations with any other RCAF squadron. On 23 May 1945, LW207 was flown to Handley Page Repair Depot, No. 43 Group [salvage depot Rawcliffe] and parked. A few days later, F/L Harold Lindsay came along and took two photos of this rare bomber tail and nose art paintings, then marked each for return to Canada. The above image [negative RE77-75] was taken by Lindsay showing the Wolf Head and incorrect bomb markings with name removed. This is the nose art panel you see in the Canadian War Museum today, however, without the proper RCAF history it might as well be displayed on the Moon, as it means nothing to either the public or military historians.
The painted over nose art of “Willie the Wolf from the West” as seen and captured on 35 mm film at No. 43 Group, Handley Page Repair Depot, Yorkshire, June 1945. This was then marked for salvage and shipped to Canada where it arrived 7 May 1946.
The original [Wolf Head] “Willie the Wolf from the West” as seen today in the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa. Please Ottawa, use my research, and place this nose art panel properly with the rear gunner tail art [Ol’ Daid Eye] and give these panels the correct RCAF WWII history to educate, rather than confuse future Canadians. This would be a most impressive Halifax model.
Another very rare and one-of-a-kind nose art panel displayed in the War Museum is called “Jake Sent Me” Halifax B. Mk. III, serial LK828. F/L Harold Lindsay image taken in June 1945.
Halifax B. Mk. III, serial LK828, was from a batch of 25 bombers constructed by Fairey Aviation, Stockport, between 19 March and 11 April 1944. Five of these new Halifax Mk. III’s were assigned to No. 431 Squadron, and LK828 arrived at Croft, on 20 March 1944. The Halifax flew her first operation on 18 April 1944, to bomb Noisy-Le-Sec, France, which was the very first operation flown by No. 431 Squadron using twelve Halifax Mk. III aircraft. Just eight days before, [10 April] No. 431 Squadron had been officially adopted by the City of Simcoe, Ontario, and took the official title of Iroquois. The City of Simcoe adoption motion had been passed in November 1943, however with Christmas season and no official word from RCAF Ottawa until February 1944, the official adoption was not made until 10 April 1944.
The naming of Iroquois is much too long to be mention at this time, but in short the City of Simcoe, Ontario, was named for British Army General John Graves Simcoe [1752-1806] who became the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada in 1791. Simcoe was part of the 35th Regiment of Foot who were dispatched to the Thirteen Colonies and later was promoted to Captain and saw action in the American Revolutionary War in July 1776. He was an early leader in the abolition of slavery in Canada, plus in 1777, attempted to form a Loyalist regiment of free Blacks who had escaped slavery from the Boston area to fight for the British. His Southern-Ontario history and the forming of Canada are well worth reading, as he was well ahead of his time in many areas. He was most successful in forming an anti-American coalition with the six nations of Indigenous people known as the Iroquois, and now all this past history would be inherited by No. 431 Squadron, and translated into WWII bomber aircraft nose art and names. The official badge and name in Iroquois [The Hatiten Ronteriios] Warriors of the Air, still flies today with 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, “Snowbirds.”
Shortly after the official adoption [10 April 1944] Halifax Mk. III, serial LK828 received the nose art of an Iroquois Indian Head and the name “Simcoe Warrior.”
RCAF photo PL29675, taken 14 May 1944, the ground crew of “Simcoe Warrior” Halifax B. Mk. III, serial LK828 proudly sit on the famous bomber they service.
Shown left to right are: Sgt. Len Coolican, LAC Lloyd Bissell. LAC Johnny Lougheed, Cpl. Bill Wilson, LAC Harry Natowich, LAC Dick Lacey and in the pilot seat is Sgt. Pat Lassardo.
The first aircrew of F/L J.M. Hill, who flew LK828 on her first operation 18 April 1944. The Halifax bomber completed twelve operations until 12 May 1944, and then a change of command took place. On 14 May, S/L H. R. Dow J4893 was promoted to Wing Commander and officially took over command of No. 431 [Iroquois] Squadron.
Wing Commander W.F. Newson, DFC, right, relinquishes his command of No. 431 Squadron to W/C Hank R. Dow, left, 14 May 1944. In the background sits Halifax B. Mk. III, serial LK828, with code letters SE-S. The proud bomber will complete 40 operations, the last on 27 September 1944. No. 431 [Iroquois] squadron was now converting over to new Canadian built Lancaster B. Mk. X bombers and Simcoe Warrior was sent to No. 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit, for training on 29 September 1944. Her full combat flown operations follow:
The final stop in the RCAF training process was the Heavy Conversion Unit [HCU] where the sprog crews learned to operate the large four-engine Halifax bombers they would fly on operations. On 14 March 1943, No. 419 and 424 Squadrons were moved out of RAF Station Topcliffe, Yorkshire, to make way for the creation of No. 6 [RCAF] Group Training Base. The first RCAF unit at Topcliffe became No. 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit, arriving in April 1943, training new sprog bomber aircrews from No. 6 [RCAF] Group airfields in England. At the H.C.U. new crews flew various exercises designed to prepare them for the realities of combat operational flying over Europe. These training spoof raids took place over British cities at night, or mostly the coast of France on “Nickle” raids where they dropped leaflets. By 1943, many spoof raids were designed as part of major attacks on Germany, designed to take night fighter attention away from the main attacks. The code name for these spoof raids was “Bullseye” exercises, which were flown from active RCAF operational bases. The H.C.U. young inexperienced aircrews were flying old combat Halifax veteran overworked aircraft, many of which should have been scraped, but its wartime England. The casualties from training accidents were often many times higher than those flying combat operations, and my pilot friend Jack McIntosh [419 Squadron] recalls he attended eleven RCAF funerals during his two weeks of operational training. The RAF administration H.Q. never counted bomber command spoof raid accidents unless they occurred well beyond British shores, which kept the operational casualties count down, and the British/Canadian public never knew the actual death figure. Many of the veteran RCAF Halifax bombers contained original nose art and this was most times just left on the Halifax aircraft during the training spoof operations. Halifax LK828 arrived at No. 61 [Training] Base, Topcliffe, Yorkshire, home of No. 1659 H.C.U. on 30 September 1944. This veteran Halifax received her new code letters RV-P, and began flying spoof raids with new aircrews in early October 1944. For some unknown reason, the RCAF ground crew painted over the original nose art of Simcoe Warrior and repainted a red and green Maple Leaf with words “Jake Sent Me.” I’m positive this had a special meaning to only the ground crews involved and had nothing connected with the sprog aircrew who flew the bomber. The ground crew then recorded each of the spoof “Bullseye” raids [ten] with a green Maple Leaf, yellow bomb, and a code letter for the spoof target, and even one German night fighter kill. On 27 November 1944, Halifax LK828 over-shot while making a three-engine training landing, crash landed, and was salvaged for repairs at the Handley Page Repair Depot at Rawcliffe. On 23 December 1944, the veteran bomber was designated for disposal and parked at the airfield at future No. 43 Group Rawcliffe. On 6 June 1945, LK828 and hundreds of other Halifax veteran bombers were ordered for RAF disposal and scrapping. A few days later, F/L Lindsay took the B & W photo of this nose art and marked it for salvage and return to Canada, where it safely arrived on 7 May 1946. Forgotten, misunderstood, plus with confusing RCAF post-war records, it remains today on the cement wall in the Canadian War Museum a complete embarrassing unknown WWII Canadian nose art. “Jake Sent Me” is the rarest original RCAF WWII Halifax nose art panel in the complete collection. It is the original Halifax skin panel from the earlier famous “Simcoe Warrior” and the only rare surviving RCAF spoof “Bullseye” WWII nose art in the world.
If that is not enough, hidden under a layer of black wartime paint remains the famous nose art of the original No. 431 Squadron “Simcoe Warrior.” A wonderful RCAF history saved by F/L H. Lindsay, but totally lost and forgotten, for the past 75 years. These are the very roots of our famous “Snowbirds” but even these present-day jet pilots have no idea or really care.
The June 1945 file card from F/L H. Lindsay records the full history and this has been in Ottawa RCAF archives for the past 74 years.
Bill Heron is the historical author of an excellent book – “A Yorkshire Squadron History No. 431, 1942-45.” Bill’s brother F/Sgt. A.B. Heron #1568971 was rear gunner in the No. 431 crew of pilot F/L F.A. Badgery, flying Halifax B. Mk. III, serial NA499, SE-W [Big Chief Wha-Hoo] and they also flew in Simcoe Warrior on five operations. This was painted on skin from NA337, [March 2005] to honour F/Sgt. Heron and brother Bill knows under the paint of “Jake Sent Me”, hanging in the War Museum Ottawa, is the original nose art of “Simcoe Warrior.” Now, it’s time to educate interested Canadian historians and the general public who visit and view the RCAF nose art collection.
The total number of RCAF Halifax nose art panels marked for saving was never recorded, but I believe at least twenty or more were crated, and shipped to Canada where they arrived one year later, 7 May 1946. I have heard that a few RCAF panels never left England, however I have no facts to support those claims. Mr. Robert Goodwin and his assistants Mr. B. Bayter and Mr. R. Smith cut the panels from the Halifax bombers and before they crated them, signed their names on the back or scratched their names in the rear painted surface.
I have never been allowed to inspect all of the nose art paintings and have no idea if all of the panels contain the three British worker’s names, but I believe they do.
Little is known about F/L Harold Hunter Lindsay C11987, who joined the RCAF in Quebec City, and was living at 31 Belvedere St. Quebec City, Quebec, in 1948. He is a forgotten Canadian hero who stepped forward and did his best to record, honor, and preserve the very best of our Second World War Halifax bomber nose art. We may never know how many nose art paintings were selected by Lindsay for preservation and return to Canada, as no confirmed total can be found in documentation at Ottawa. Thanks to this RCAF officer, Canada owns the largest collection of original Handley-Page Halifax bomber nose art in the world, and the second largest collection of WWII aircraft nose art in the world. Part of this photo collection also contains WWII RAF Halifax history, and nine of the bombers are in fact British R.A.F.
Before F/L Lindsay returned to Canada he completed a record card for each aircraft which contained the date it was constructed, delivered to an RCAF squadron, date of any accidents, and its final disposal and location. Next he compiled a list of each pilot who flew the bomber, the target, and other information such as enemy fighter shot down, lost an engine, crash landing, crew member wounded or sick, and these were glued to the rear of the original nose art panels, where they remain today in Ottawa. [Yellow, faded, partly missing, and a little hard to read but original, with RCAF historical value] Robert Goodwin recorded his name and address on a number of panels, where they remain today. Robert Goodwin, 4 Lilac Grove, New Earswick, Yorkshire, England. His English helpers were B. Bayter, 14 Bede Ave. Burton Lane, Yorkshire, England, and R. Smith, 18 Ouseburn Ave. Acomb, Yorkshire. I believe these three workers also received permission to save one or more Canadian nose art panels for themselves, which most likely survive in United Kingdom today. I hope the relatives of these three forgotten heroes possibly have a photo album in U.K. with more RCAF history. If so, please make contact with the author and help me preserve our confusing and misunderstood RCAF WWII nose art forgotten history.
I honestly believe Robert Goodwin cut possibly seventeen to twenty original panels from the nose section of RCAF Halifax veteran bombers, which has confused historians and researchers over the past seventy-five years. This is still an RCAF mystery which may never be solved or explained, however the original panels still contain valuable information, if anyone in Ottawa cares to conduct proper historical research. By following the record of 35 mm film images taken by F/L Lindsay in 1945, it becomes clear not all of the nose art panels are found in the War Museum collection today. Even some of the original 35 mm negatives are missing, which could have been committed to cover up the theft of a few nose art panels. I am not alone in believing some RCAF veteran Halifax nose art images were taken possibly in United Kingdom or most likely later at the [Canadian] National Aeronautical Collection located in the postwar years at Rockcliffe, Ontario. It is well known that two German WWI bomber aircraft engines and other aviation items went missing from Rockcliffe and possibly were sold during the 1950’s.
British author and artist Mr. Philip J. R. Moyes is known as an authoritative aviation expert on his books written for both Air Force History and for the general aviation reader. In July 1945, he obtained British Air Ministry permission to visit the two grave yards in England, the former Handley Page Repair at Rawcliffe and the second site located at High Ercall, Shropshire, No. 29 Maintenance Unit. During his visit he learned that a number of RCAF Halifax nose art sections had been cut off the airframes and would be returned to Canada for preservation.
This article by Philip Moyes appeared in England, I believe possibly in a 1969 issue of Aircraft Illustrated, editor and founder Mr. Michael Stroud. Famous aviation expert and editor Michael Stroud had visited Rockcliffe, Ontario, and met with Squadron Leader A.P. Heathcote of the RCAF Historical Branch in Ottawa. He had also visited the Aeronautical collection at Rockcliffe, Ontario, [Ottawa] and witnessed in person a few of the original Halifax nose art salvaged by S/L H. Lindsay in May and June of 1945.
Both of these British aviation experts knew some of the Canadian nose art panels were missing, and this appears in the Moyes article, “but by no means all of those known to have been saved from scrap.”
This a photocopy of the file letter I found in Ottawa in 1977, but sadly it gives no record of the number of RCAF Halifax nose art panels which arrived on 7 May 1946. Today, the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, display a total of thirteen nose art panels, and one tail art, [taken from thirteen Halifax aircraft] and all contain a serial code number painted on each panel which reads 2-3-1 to 2-3-14. I believe this was painted on the panels by the old National Aeronautical Collection at Rockcliffe, possibly to confuse and cover-up the theft or loss of a few RCAF nose art panels in the 1950’s.
When you follow the order in which F/L Lindsay took his RCAF 35 mm Black and White aircraft photos in 1945, it reveals an interesting story.
Roll # Print # Serial # Nose Art Name Postwar Number – Ottawa #
#1 #1 NP957 Ville de Quebec 2-3-8
#2 #2 LL575 Archie the Archer 2-3-5
#2 #6 LK828 Jake Sent Me 2-3-10
#2 #7 LV953 Fangs of Fire 2-3-6
#4 #1 PN236 Jumpin’ Jimny 2-3-4
#4 #3 NP747 Notorious Nan 2-3-3
#4 #6 LW207 Ol’ Daid Eye [TAIL ART] 2-3-7
#4 #7 LW207 Willie the Wolf from the West 2-3-14
#5 #1 NP714 Drum Major Girl 2-3-2
#6 #1 NP717 Willie Wolf 2-3-1
#6 #3 NP755 The Avenging Angel 2-3-13
#6 #4 NP707 Willie the Wolf 2-3-12
#7 #1 MZ655 Indian Head 2-3-11
In total F/L Lindsay recorded 48 photos of Halifax bomber nose art at No. 43 Group, Rawcliffe, in late May and early June 1945. Only one Halifax aircraft LW207 contained nose art [Wolf Head - “Willie the Wolf from the West”] plus rare rear gunner tail art called “Ol’ Daid Eye.” In total 42 RCAF nose art images were taken and one RCAF tail art, plus six other RAF Halifax nose art images were captured. I do not know exactly how many RCAF nose art paintings were selected for salvage and return to Canada, but today [War Museum] Canadians have the above twelve nose art images, and one rear tail art painting, which were cut from the fuselage of twelve different RCAF Halifax bombers, which were being scrapped at No. 43 Group, Rawcliffe, Yorkshire, England.
In the 1980’s, I began to realize a few most impressive RCAF Halifax nose art panel paintings from Rawcliffe, Yorkshire, were not saved and today are not in the collection in the War Museum. When you look at the Rawcliffe images taken by F/L Lindsay you find most of the Halifax bombers had been partly scrapped, with four-engines, main wings, plus some large tail fins removed. Only the aircraft fuselage with RCAF nose art remained, and that would be chopped up in just a few weeks. On Film Roll #1, Print #8, Lindsay snapped the artistic nose art of Halifax B. Mk. III, serial NR271, code letter KW-N, No. 425 Squadron, with name “Nuts for Nazis.” The American pilot [F/L Charles Lesesne C3879] had been killed flying in another Halifax bomber, serial MZ418, and over the next twenty years, I would paint his replica nose art four different times. I still can’t believe this art was not saved, but I will leave that up the readers to decide what they think. It is possible this art was scrapped before it could be cut from the Halifax bomber nose and salvaged, but I think not. Or, it could still remain in Canada as a private hidden RCAF Halifax nose art panel taken from Rockcliffe in 1950’s.
Top is original photo taken by F/L Lindsay in 1945, [Roll #1, Print #8] and replica painted on original skin from Halifax NA337, private collection – Caitlin McWilliams.
This 1945 F/L Lindsay file data card and the above photocopy image were both taken by the author in the spring of 1977, at Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Centre, National Research Council, Ottawa. This caused major confusion for many years in my RCAF research, as the Green Dragon panel survives today in the original nose art collection, however records show it was never at No. 43 Group at Rawcliffe, Yorkshire, where the other thirteen panels were removed from the Halifax bombers before they were scrapped. RAF No. 41 Group had eleven large aircraft storage depots located around United Kingdom, one being No. 29 Maintenance Unit was at High Ercall, Shropshire, which was never an aircraft scrapping location. This RCAF Halifax B. Mk. V, serial LK947 [Green Dragon] was taken on charge by No. 41 Group on 21 January 1945, and slated [record card] for scrapping at No. 48 Maintenance Unit, RAF Hawarden, arriving 9 February 1945.
RAF Hawarden airfield was established on 1 September 1939, and by March 1941, had three concrete runways used for training Hurricane and Spitfire operational fighter pilots. During the Battle of Britain, it was classified as the very best and most dangerous operational fighter training base in all of the U.K. In May 1945, the RAF re-numbered this base No. 48 Maintenance Unit, and between June and September, over 1,000 Halifax bombers were cut up and scrapped at this location, including the “Green Dragon” RCAF Halifax Mk. V, Serial LK947.
I now began a search for a second RCAF photo collection taken at No. 29 M.U. High Ercall, Shropshire, which was finally located at the Ottawa Joint Imagery Centre of the National Research Council, by staff-member Janet Lacroix in 1993. This answered many unknown questions thanks to both Lindsay 35 mm nose art images and data record cards he filed in 1945. F/L Lindsay had in fact visited the large aircraft storage area under control of No. 41 Group, named No. 29 Maintenance Unit [storage field] at High Ercall, Shropshire, England. Row after row of WWII surplus Halifax aircraft were parked side by side awaiting orders to be assigned to an RAF scrapping location. Lindsay walked the aircraft row picking our RCAF bombers, taking a photo and marking nose art paintings to be saved and shipped to Canada. Lindsay then completed file data cards on each Halifax bomber and on each recorded the location where the bomber would be scrapped in United Kingdom. The RCAF Halifax bombers would be scrapped at two locations, No. 45 M.U. at RAF Kinloss [N-E Scotland] and No. 48 M.U. at RAF Hawarden.
This is the 35 mm film roll and print order in which F/L Lindsay recorded his nose art photos and file cards, most likely in early June 1945, at storage field No. 29 Maintenance Unit, High Ercall, Shropshire, United Kingdom. They were all scrapped at RAF Kinloss, Scotland, No. 45 M.U. by 1947.
Film # Print # Halifax Serial # Nose art Name Scrapping location
#1 #1 NP812 Gremlin on Double Eagle #45 M.U.
#1 #2 LW381 Bull #45 M.U.
#1 #3 RG478 Utopia #45 M.U.
#1 #4 NP694 Cross with bible text #45 M.U.
#1 #5 NP705 82 Ops [bombs] no art #45 M.U.
#1 #6 LV967 Beer is Best #45 M.U.
#1 #7 LK765 Block Buster #45 M.U.
#1 #8 MZ672 Honey Chile #45 M.U.
#2 #1 LW541 RAF - [Free French] #45 M.U.
#2 #2 MZ951 City of London #45 M.U.
#2 #3 Missing from Ottawa files
#2 #4 Missing from Ottawa files
#2 #5 HX266 RAF - Life Begins at 40 #45 M.U.
#2 #6 MZ731 RAF - U’ve Got It Jane #45 M.U.
RCAF Halifax B. Mk. III, serial MZ951, PT-L, was photographed by Lindsay Roll #2, Print #2, and selected for salvage and return to Canada in June 1945.
The file card [top] and photo are in Ottawa, along with the 35 mm negative #RE77-72, plus 8” by 10” print of nose art. RCAF flown Halifax airframe scrapped at RAF No. 45 M.U. Kinloss, Scotland, original nose art panel is not in the collection from War Museum, Ottawa.
These first fourteen photos contained nine known RCAF Halifax nose art and all bombers were selected for scrapping at No. 45 Maintenance Unit RAF Station Kinloss, Scotland. Not one of these nine nose art panels are known to survive today. The film continues, with the next thirteen RCAF Halifax aircraft bombers being selected for scrapping at No. 48 Maintenance Unit, at RAF Hawarden. In total six Lindsay original negatives are missing from Ottawa files. They could also possibly be part of the stolen or lost RCAF nose art panels.
#2 #7 NR199 Prune Finger #48 M.U.
#2 #8 RG477 Star-Eyed Sue #48 M.U.
#3 #1 PN237 Torchy Tess #48 M.U.
#3 #2 PN227 Carol Dean #48 M.U.
#3 #3 PN239 Vulture Vengance #48 M.U.
#3 #4 NR206 Fi-Fi #48 M.U.
#3 #5 MZ876 Happy Valley Harlot #48 M.U.
#3 #6 LL177 Ally Oop #48 M.U.
#3 #7 Missing from Ottawa files
#4 #1 Missing from Ottawa files
#4 #2 Missing from Ottawa files
#4 #3 Missing from Ottawa files
#4 #4 LK947 Green Dragon #48 M.U.
RCAF image PL28610 taken at No. 434 [Blue Nose] Squadron on 4 April 1944, shortly after nose art Green Dragon was painted by ground crew artist, LAC Alex Basaraba.
The “Green Dragon” LK947 was the second constructed by Fairey Aviation, Stockport, in a batch of 32 constructed between 30 September to 26 October 1943. First assigned to No. 428 [Ghost] Squadron on 30 September, flying 1st operation to Kassel on 22/23 October 1943. Transferred to No. 429 [Bison] Squadron 11 January 1944, then to No. 434 [Bluenose] on 5 May 1944. Received her Green Dragon nose art by 4 April 1944, [LAC Alex Basaraba] flew 1st operation five days later. In total the Halifax flew eighteen combat operations with three RCAF squadrons and sported eighteen yellow bombs. Transferred to 1659 Heavy Conversion Unit on 8 May 1944, then to No. 1669 H.C.U. on 15 October 1944. The veteran Halifax flew six training exercises called “Bullseye” and these were added to her combat total showing 24 operations, which has confused many historians for a number of years. Ready for disposal on 21 January 1945, transferred to No. 41 Group, and flown to No. 29 M.U. for storage at High Ercall, Shropshire. Photographed by F/L Lindsay 35 mm film roll #4, print #4, then marked for salvage and return to Canada. Halifax was flown to No. 48 Maintenance Unit at RAF Hawarden on 9 February 1945, and scrapped some date in June. This veteran RCAF nose art “Green Dragon” was cut from her fuselage, crated, and arrived in Ottawa on 7 May 1946. From a total of thirteen recorded RCAF Halifax nose art paintings scrapped at No. 48 M.U. [RAF Hawarden] this is the only known survivor today. Where did the others go?
Marked with postwar Ottawa serial 2-3-9 it hangs today in the War Museum with no information or history. Painted with a large red tongue, this veteran nose art also sends out a very large ‘red flag’ to support the possible theft of RCAF Halifax nose art at postwar Rockcliffe, Ontario [Ottawa]. Maybe that’s why the Bureaucrats running our Canadian War Museum refuse to create a proper RCAF Halifax display based on original WWII RCAF records.
Please remember what British Aviation expert Mr. Philip J. R. Moyes wrote in his article “From Radcliffe to Rockcliffe” in 1969. He knew some original RCAF Halifax nose art panels were missing fifty years ago.
“HOWEVER, IT IS SOME CONSOLATION TO KNOW THAT THIRTEEN ORIGINAL PANELS [BUT BY NO MEANS ALL OF THOSE KNOWN TO HAVE BEEN SAVED FROM SCRAP] TODAY ADORN ONE OF THE WALLS OF THE MUSEUM AT ROCKCLIFFE, ONTARIO.”
This is an incredible site. Thank you for putting all of this material together. I’ve already passed along the Nose Art link to my aviation friends. Blair
I will add the images later on the Word version… that’s time consuming but worth it. The PDF version has it all, and is much better to read as a PDF. The Word version is useful for a Google search.
You must be aware by now that there are two Preserving the Past, as the first one had no more space to add images. All the amazing research of Clarence is featured on both.
Hello Pierre, thank you for summarizing this research on the bomber art, this was a great read and very informative. I was especially excited to see you even had the info about my grandfather, rear gunner Edward Strauss, part of 426 Thunderbird squadron, who had ole dead eye painted at the tail of the plane. The Canadian War museum was recently generous enough to have the tail art transported down to Kitchener so he could see it. Let me know if you are ever interested in some more info about his time in the service or Ole dead eye, I can ask him, send some photos from the war or recordings I have done of his memories.
I will contact you Kevin.
This is a very interesting web site…Thank you for taking the time and effort to produce such a wonderful historical archive. I have in my possession, a photo given to my mother taken during the war of her then boyfriend and two other airmen are posing on the nose of a Halifax bomber named ‘Vicky’, The Delivery Gal. It looks like the bombardier’s name was Nash and the names on the back of the photo are Mic, Rae & Charlie.
I remember my mother telling me the aircraft was shot down and the crew were all killed during a mission in 1944. I would certainly appreciate any information about the bomber and her crew. If you wish, I will send you a copy of the photo.
I will contact you.
‘Simcoe Warrior’ LK828 first time I’ve seen it in full colour – I have an original 1944 b & w of it with all ground crew sitting on top, my dad included – it has a letter he wrote home on the back « crashed on aerodrome 8 Aug ’44 back in service in 3 weeks,15 Sept ’44 came home from 37th op with 76 flak holes, finally pensioned off after 39 ops »
The RCAF Censor’s approval stamp is also visible although fading
Can you scan it and send it? I will contact you.