USAAF Nose Art Research Project


The Big (Ass) Bird (42-73113)

Big (Ass) Bird 2 (42-72801)

Black Magic (42-40393)

Black Magic ()

Morbid Moe (42-41071)


American Red Cross, attached to 380th Bomb Group
Fenton, Australia & New Guinea

I have been unable to locate very much information about Annette 'Toni' Robin but my thanks to Jim McIntire for the valuable information he provided.
If you have any knowledge or information on her, I would be delighted hear from you.

Annette Robin, known as "Toni" to her friends, was formerly a commercial artist in New York City before joining the American Red Cross. Her distinctive cartoon-style artworks helped to boost the morale of air crews and ground pounders in the basic and austere facilities of the Australian bases and the even more testing environment of bases in New Guinea. Ms Robin must have been actively engaged in her nose art painting as early as May-June 1943 since at least one of the aircraft she painted ("Black Magic") was destroyed in Australia during a bombing raid by the Japanese at the end of June.

Toni Robin wrote an article on the work of the Red Cross missions, it was published in the Red Cross Courier in February 1944. Eleanor Roosevelt, in her "My Day" column, recommended it to her readers for the insight it gave to the work of the girls, particularly in New Guinea and the Pacific arena.

Known affectionately as "Sis", Toni also sketched many of the wounded men she assisted and signed photos with this nickname. It was a pet name used by many Red Cross girls, it seems, perhaps enabling them to be close to their charges without suggesting any "romantic" aspects of the relationship. Men fighting far away in a harsh environment hankered for the softness of female company, especially where an American woman was an extreme rarity. Like much of the nose art, it reminded them of what they were fighting for.

Female nose art painters were few and far between and those working in a combat zone like the far-flung bases of New Guinea even more so. Further information is sought to clarify if Toni Robin was based at Fenton, Australia or at Port Moresby, New Guinea.... or both! She returned to the USA from Brisbane in July 1944 nursing combat veterans on board a hospital ship.

© Ray Bowden 15 July 2024
Information Update for Readers of
"Plane Names & Fancy Noses - 91st Bomb Group (Heavy)"