History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. ~Winston Churchill

12 May, 2012

Airplane Art

A variety of squadron, plane, and personal emblems painted onto aircraft in World War Two (mostly). 

From the Imperial War Museum and LIFE archives. 

© IWM (CM 5005)

Wing Commader Ian Gleed in his Spitfire decorated with a cartoon of Figaro the cat batting a swastika, Tunisia, 1943. Source

© IWM (CH 9331)

Pinocchio on a Halifax recieving its latest mission completed symbol. The ice creams are raids on Italian targets and the key represents the plane's twenty-first mission. UK, 1943. Source

Walter Sanders, LIFE © Time Inc. 

A tornado on Capt. Howard Curran's fighter plane, Germany, 1948. Source

Jack Wilkes, LIFE © Time Inc. 

A Gurkha paratrooper in front of a plane with a drawing labelled "Gravel Gertie", apparently. Rangoon, 1945. Source

© IWM (H 9195)

A pin-up painted or glued onto a Hurricane. In 1941 this image was deemed too risque for publication! Scotland. Source

© IWM (TR 1000)

A caricature of the squadron's commanding officer on the nose of an Avro Lancaster, 1943. Source

 © IWM (CE 126)

"Dante's Daughter", an RAF Lancaster, with a 65th raid completed symbol being added. The ice cream symbols represent raids on Italy. c. 1943. Source

© IWM (CM 407)

An insignia made up of emblems for each member of a Vicker Wellington crew, headed by Flying Officer Lemon (of course). Egypt, c. 1942. Source

© IWM (CH 2718)

An RAF soda-syphon spraying bombs on a Vickers Wellington, c. 1940. Source

© IWM (CH 6614)

A train painted on a Handley Page Halifax, with a truck added for each successful mission, c. 1942. Source

© IWM (CBM 1261)

Dumbo painted on the nose of a Liberator, Egypt, 1942. Source

Walter Sanders, LIFE © Time Inc. 

A goggled face on the jet of Major Wallace Frank, Germany, 1948. Source

© IWM (CH 7135)

A dragon emblem on an Avro Lancaster of the RAF, c. 1943. Source

© IWM (TR 978)

A shark face on a Curtiss Kittyhawk of No 112 Squadron RAF, Tunisia, 1943. Source

© IWM (CH 1570)

The wasp emblem on Pilot Officer A V Clows' Hurricane, with a stripe added for each plane he shot down, UK, 1940. Source

© IWM (CH 13734)

Grumpy on a Mitchell, UK, c. 1943. Source

© IWM (CH 1934)

The Burmese flag painted on the Hurricane of Squadron Leader R. R. Stanford Tuck, UK 1941. Source

 © IWM (CM 2531)

Squadron Leader Billy Drake with his Hurricane, painted with his personal emblem "Zut". Sierra Leone, c. 1941. Source

Sam Shere, LIFE © Time Inc.

A bomber pilot with plane named "One Weakness", US, 1945. Source

© IWM (CH 4015)

This has been in the blog before, but I just have to include it again. Squadron Leader J A F MacLachlan lost an arm after being shot down in February 1941; by the summer he was flying again. His Hurricane sports his personal emblem: his lost arm waving the V-sign. I love how he is giving the sign back. UK, 1941-43. Source

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