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USAAF Nose Art Research Project


Alice Blue Gown (43-38400)

Bobby Sox (44-8158)

Carolina Moon (43-37907)

Looky Looky (44-6893)

5 With Breakfast (43-38728)


490th Bomb Group, 850th Bomb Squadron
Eye, England

Although self taught Sgt Jay Cowan, an aircraft mechanic, became a highly skilled artist who created several impressive pieces of work all with a highly graphic appearance. To date five examples of his nose arts have been identified, at least three of them carrying his signature. Whether he completed other examples or perhaps also painted crew men's A2 jackets has yet to be established. Such an accomplished artist must surely have been in great demand. As a mechanic working on the B17s at Eye, Cowan was awarded a Bronze Star for his work. The airplanes for which he was responsible reputedly accomplished 64 combat missions by the end of the war.

After the war, Cowan joined the Army's Corps of Engineers and worked as an architect in numerous overseas locations. In his later years he became a very successful business man and professional architect. If anyone can provide any further knowledge about the man, or any further examples of his work, please share information with me.

 Additional image Of  

Information Update for Readers of
"Plane Names & Fancy Noses - 91st Bomb Group (Heavy)"

© Ray Bowden 23 April 2019