USAAF Nose Art Research Project


Lady Luck
B-17F-50-BO 42-5434

303rd Bomb Group, 360th Bomb Squadron


Nose art painted by
Sgt Samuel P. RODMAN
303rd Bomb Group, 360th Bomb Squadron
Molesworth, England

Lady Luck

One of two known tail art paintings done by Sam Rodman. This languishing beauty adorned the tail fin of a Fort which carried the simple title of Lady Luck on the nose -- perhaps one of the most popular and understandable names chosen by numerous air crews across the world. Standing on the horizontal stabiliser of the Fort and painting onto the huge tail would have made the task of painting much easier for Rodman (and other artists) and it is surprising that the tail was not used more often for embellishment.

This particular B17F arrived at Molesworth via the South Atlantic route to England having passed through Marrakesh, North Africa. Assigned to the 303BG on 6th March 1943, it began combat flying with a mission to Wilhelmshaven on 22nd under the command of Lt Griffin. It was lucky 13 for 1Lt Loyd Griffin, later made Captain, as he completed that number of sorties in Lucky Lady before finishing up in mid-July. Thereafter, nine different crews took the Fort to targets across France and Germany until misfortune over took Robert Cogswell's crew. On a recalled mission to Nantes in France on 26th September 1943, they experienced a runaway prop on #4 engine which subsequently caught fire and forced them to abandon the aircraft over England. The pilot Lt Cogswell stayed with the ship until all his crew were safely out and then jumped himself -- too low by then -- and he sustained severe back injuries as a result. Lady Luck crashed near Winchester -- a sad end for a veteran of some 25 missions. Robert Cogswell returned to combat flying but was tragically killed in action flying a B29 during the Korean conflict in 1951.

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© Ray Bowden 20 July 2024