USAAF Nose Art Research Project


A Bit o' Lace (42-97976)

L'Il Eight Ball (42-107215)

Sarah Gray (42-102567)

Cpl Nicholas H FINGELLY

447th Bomb Group, 709th Bomb Squadron
Rattlesden, England

Nick Fingelly was assigned to 709th Bomb Squadron after completing armament training in November 1943 and joined the ground crew team of M/Sgt Michael Kaschak. He had always been deeply interested in drawing and his greatest satisfaction came from depicting wildlife and aircraft. Such a talented artist soon attracted the attention of those in the 447th Bomb Group base who wanted someone to paint nose art onto their Fortress. During his spare time on the airfield at Rattlesden, Fingelly painted about ten aircraft. His first was the plane he was assigned to as ground crew. Named "Lil Eight Ball" it was inspired by a cartoon character featured in a popular comic strip entitled "Nazdrowie" -- Polish for "To your good health". Others followed but his most famous nose art painting was undoubtedly "A Bit of Lace", reportedly undertaken for John Bauman's crew. Working from a personalised sketch sent to the crew by Milton Caniff, Fingelly completed his masterpiece in about six hours and included Caniff's own famed signature block as part of the design. He later flew with the skeleton crew who delivered the aircraft to the scrap yard.

Other aircraft known to have been painted by Corporal Fingelly were "Big Ass Bird", "Bugs Bunny Jr", "Miss Minookey", "Sandusky Jo" and "Hurry Home". I have been unable to locate photos of Mr Fingelly, and am always seeking more examples of 447BG nose art, so if you can help I would be delighted to hear from you.

© Ray Bowden 18 July 2024
Information Update for Readers of
"Plane Names & Fancy Noses - 91st Bomb Group (Heavy)"