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Thread: How (plane) nose art and pin-ups boosted WWII USAAF troops' morale

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    Default How (plane) nose art and pin-ups boosted WWII USAAF troops' morale

    Wasn't sure where to put this, but it was interesting...

    19 August 2012 Last updated at 02:18

    How nose art and pin-ups boosted WWII USAAF troops' morale
    By Martin Barber BBC News, Norfolk
    USAAF serviceman and nose artist Don Allen said he wanted his art to tease
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    In the heat of battle, high over enemy lines, America's heavy bombers flew into occupied Europe with the images of loved ones emblazoned on the sides of their planes as reminder of home.
    The troops who were based in East Anglia during World War II said their lives became more bearable thanks to the talents of United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) artists who created highly personalised art for the nose cones of their aeroplanes.
    Don Allen was a nose artist and crew chief with the Fourth Fighter Group, based at Debden in Essex during the conflict.
    "Some of them wanted outright nudes - but I guess my Eagle Scout background gave me little bit of a puritan approach. I guess I tried to keep the necessary parts covered, even though I wanted to make a tease out of it."
    There were 200,000 US servicemen of the Eighth Air Force in England during the war. Based mostly in East Anglia the Mighty Eighth, as they were known, consisted of bomber and fighter groups.
    This weekend marks the 70th anniversary of the start of the USAAF heavy bombing offensives against Germany in World War II from USAAF Station 110 (RAF Polebrook) in Northamptonshire.
    'A bit saucy' The nose art created by Mr Allen, and the memories of the American servicemen who flew in the planes he painted, have been captured in Nose Art and Pin-Ups - a documentary by former Norfolk-based film-maker Gail Downey.

    The most famous example of nose art is Memphis Belle, based at Bassingbourn near Cambridge

    Capturing the veterans' memories on film became Ms Downey's own mission.
    "I was fascinated by the images the crews had chosen and what they meant to these young men facing deadly dangers every day.
    "I wanted to make sure their stories of life in East Anglia were preserved for future generations. If I didn't do this there would come a point when nobody was around to tell them, now I've got them recorded forever."
    From pin-ups such as Blondie, to girlfriends and wives such as Margie Darling, the aircrafts' nose art has become part of WWII history. The nose art united bomber crews and "gave them an identity".
    'Something to pat' Examples of the work are now displayed at the 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum at Thorpe Abbotts, near Diss, in south Norfolk.
    Museum curator Ron Batley said: "They did it to show it was their plane, their crew and painting their jackets with the same art showed they were a team.
    "It gave them an identity and it was something they could do to colour their lives - it was a great morale booster.
    "It was frowned upon by the top brass as it broke all the rules, but they tolerated it. You could say some of it was a bit saucy."
    Continue reading the main story
    Don Allen now lives in Ohio where he has replicas of all the images he painted during the war. He produced more than 100 piece of art in total.
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    Ms Downey spent five weeks travelling across America's East Coast to record the veterans' memories of service in East Anglia.
    "These were young men who faced death every day. They told me the artwork personalised their aircraft and gave them something 'to pat' before and after every mission," she said.
    "These men, now in their 90s, were once brave young men, who, in their own words, were just doing their job - but what a job they had to do."
    Supported by the USA-based Eighth Air Force Historical Society, Nose Art and Pin-Ups will be screened at veterans' reunions across America in October, with plans for it to be screened at independent cinemas throughout East Anglia.
    BBC News - How nose art and pin-ups boosted WWII USAAF troops' morale


    In Pictures: Don Allen's "nose art"


    Don Allen was a commercial artist who was drafted as a ground crew chief mechanic with the Fourth Fighter Group based at Debden in Essex during World War II. His paintings are to feature in a special documentary produced by Nose Art Films, about the pin-ups, cartoons and other images painted on aircraft noses by servicemen from the United States Eighth Airforce, known as the Mighty Eighth, during World War Two.


    2012 is the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Mighty Eighth in Britain. Through much of World War II, Allen painted artwork at the request of his squadron's pilots on the various aircraft. He was particularly upset at the death of Captain Vic France who was killed in action. As crew chief he had looked after Captain France's plane and knew him well.


    The pencil sketch of Miss Dallas was done before Allen started work on the aircraft. Given the chance he sketched each drawing before painting it and showed it to the pilot for his approval.





    Ten years ago, Allen recreated the original images in colour for the Air Mobility Command museum in Dover, Delaware.


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    Allen became famous for painting almost 100 aircraft while stationed in East Anglia. The paintings added some much needed humour and helped personalise the aircraft for men who risked their lives every day.




    Blondie was one of the most copied pieces of postwar artwork and was one of the last pieces Don painted before returning home at the end of the war. There are plans to show the documentary film in a selection of independent cinemas across East Anglia.
    BBC News - In Pictures: Don Allen's "nose art"
    Free Charmed.

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    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    I know Laughs and Oddities isn't the ideal category, but I had to move it from Misc which is technically a sub-category of celebrity stuff.

    This is cool!
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    Thanks Tati - I really didn't know where to put it.
    Free Charmed.

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    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    ^ Yeah, there's not a great place for stuff like this - an Art-type forum would be cool, but I'm not going to hold my breath!
    If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

    - Kahlil Gibran

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    I want to see this docu.
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

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    Cool story. I would love to be able to draw like that.

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