Frank Stevens was 45 years old when he was drafted into the USAAF. His full name was Phrone Garrett Stevens, born 1899 in Myrtle Township, Custer, Nebraska but in later years he preferred to called Frank. He was originally registered for the draft in September 1918 just as WW1 came to an end. In 1942, he was again called to serve at the age of 45 at which time he was working as a sign painter in Aurora, Hamilton County, Nebraska.
Being older than most of the men on the base at Thorpe Abbotts he was recalled as being less boisterous and kept himself to himself for much of the time. He painted most of the earlier nose arts for the 351st Squadron. Working in the Sheet Metal Shop as the squadron carpenter, Stevens was not assigned to any particular ground crew but moved around to wherever he was needed. This gave him easy access to the planes in his squadron area. In late 1944, Frank Stevens was taken ill and eventually transferred back to the USA. The 100th Bomb Group sorely missed his talent and skill.
Although most of his work was painted directly onto the aircraft's skin at least one example, "Our Gal Sal", was completed on a sheet of canvas which was then pasted onto the curved nose. This applique method was unusual and most examples involved much smaller imagery such as photographs or magazine cut-outs.
Frank Stevens died in 1962 and is buried in Aurora cemetery, Hamilton County, Nebaska. If anyone can offer further information about Frank Stevens or has photos of him please make contact.
© Ray Bowden 27 October 2021