Cpl Dick EBBESON
380th Bomb Group, 528th Bomb Squadron
Richard "Dick" Ebbeson was an aircraft armorer and the squadron artist for the 528th Bomb Squadron.
Born on 29th April 1912, of Scandinavian parentage, Ebbeson grew up in Bangor, Maine. He was initially deployed, with the 380th, in May 1943 and was a corporal for much of his service time at Fenton, Australia & New Guinea - promoted to sergeant on 9th September 1945. In March 1946,
after hostilities had ceased, Dick Ebbeson married an Australian girl and they returned to live in Pembroke, Maine. Dick painted all his adult life until he died at the end of October 2001. His work is still in demand and frequently appears at art auctions.
At Fenton, his artistic abilities did not go un-noticed for long and he was soon in great demand. At least ten B24s of 528th Squadron can be attributed to him and his finesse and reputation increased with each newly painted Liberator. His earlier nose arts favoured a single female figure superimposed on a circle or rectangular block of colour but two of his later works featured elaborate and complex designs in a more illustrative cartoon style incorporating great detail. "A Wing an' 10 Prayers" includes no less than nine detailed caricatures of crew members and the tramp in "Bread Line in '49" is a work of complex detail and modelling. By contrast, his earlier female figures are portrayed in a skilled simplicity, with perfect finely drawn outline and subtle shading in of shadow to create the form. It is no wonder he was in such demand!
Unlike some nose artists, Ebbeson was, it seems, also an accomplished calligrapher and he developed a distinctive style of lettering to complement many of his beautiful artworks.
My thanks to Damien Mardon for his detailed biographic study of Dick Ebbeson and the provision of the photo of the artist.
© Ray Bowden 2 December 2023