Robert Merchant Collection: A Nebraska Aerial Photographer’s Experience in the Pacific during WWII
Nose art was used during WWII to boost morale by illustrating loved ones and characters that served as a reminder of home. Nose art varied depending upon the crew’s personal tastes. Some favored cartoon characters, or drawings similar to the style of political cartoons, while others preferred pin-up girls. Like other airmen, the Jolly Rogers decorated the noses of their planes, mostly B-24 Liberators.
The Butcher Boy (serial number: 41-24108)
Two men presumably assigned to this particular B-24 pose next to the artwork from the cockpit.
Naughty Blue Eyes
Gone With The Wind (serial number: 41-24286)
This B-24 crashed somewhere en route from Australia to Hamilton Air Force Base, California. It was deemed officially lost on December 19, 1943.
Patched Up Piece
Artwork by Al Merkling
Ready Willing and Able (serial number 42-41078)
This B-24 is marked with having participated in 59 bombing missions, and having shot down three enemy fighters and one ship.
How’m-I-Doin’ (Serial number 42-41223)
This B-24 was part of the Jolly Rogers’ 320th Bomb Squadron.
The artwork of this B-24 is based on Margie Stewart, the only official U.S. Army pin-up girl.
The Strip Polka (Serial number: 42-40970).
Jolly Roger Express (serial number: 42-109996)
Come And Get It
Donald Duck of Disney fame is painted on this B-24. Disney cartoons were commonly used for nose art during WWII.
Mission Belle (serial number: 42-40389)
The crew of the B-24 Mission Belle pose by their plane, which features Hedy Lamar’s character Tondelayo from the 1942 film White Cargo.
The Redhot Ridinhood
This nose art is a risqué reimaging of the 1943 cartoon character of the same name. The cartoon character was a nightclub singer and the big bad wolf clad in gentlemen’s attire.
Big Emma (serial number: 41-23715)
The large number of bomb and plane decals indicate that this plane has already flown several missions and destroyed several enemy aircrafts.
Temptation was shot down during a mission in the Pacific. Two of its crew were never found.
The Hangover Haven II
This nose art was drawn and signed by artist Al Merkling.
Joltin’ Janie II (serial number: 42-40233)
This B-24 was a part of the 321st bomb squadron.