USAAF Nose Art Research Project


Bigassbird II (The)
B-17F-120-BO 42-30799

100th Bomb Group, 349th Bomb Squadron


Nose art painted by
Ernesto LOVATO
100th Bomb Group, 349th Bomb Squadron
Thorpe Abbotts, England

Bigassbird II (The)

This was the second B17 to be given the name by Owen Roane. The first was the plane he flew to England but it was taken from his crew upon arrival. When he was assigned to a brand new Fortress after a few missions he named it and got Ernesto Lovato to paint the nose art.

William Flesh's crew took the Fort to Gelsenkichen on 5 November 1943 and took some flak which knocked out two engines. Several members of his crew were ordered to bail out but then the pilots regained control of the plane and managed to get back to RAF Tangmere and land successfully.

Other crews took the plane and continued flying missions until 6 March 1944 when the 8th Air Force struck Berlin. It was the first major daylight strike on the German capital but proved to be the last for "The Bigassbird II". Caught in the maelstrom of the Luftwaffe attack over Haseluenne, pilot William Murray was killed by a 20mm cannon shell exploding in the cockpit. The surviving crew members bailed out of the burning plane.


© Ray Bowden 16 August 2022