Aeroplane Art

In the autumn of 1942 American airmen arrived in Britain at bases in East Anglia for the start of bombing offensives in Europe. ‘The boys of [the USAAF 8th Air Force] personalised their planes with images and cartoons, preferring a curvaceous female to a military identification number. “Nose art” became all the rage. Few planes took off without a stunning girl smiling coquettishly from the fuselage, wearing almost nothing…..The art included not just women but Disney stars Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny, characters such as Turnip Termite and Popeye, as well as nicknames, home towns, home states, bald-bottomed monkeys and messages dishing it to the enemy…..The art boosted the spirits of men separated from home, marooned in alien England where the beer was warm and the natives standoffish.’  Robert Gore-Langton, 2012

Photo: Virgin Atlantic plane, March 2011

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