USAAF Nose Art Research Project


B-24J-180-CO 44-40749

494th Bomb Group


Copilot James Plackis became so sun-tanned after arriving the Pacific that his fellow crew members thought he looked like an Indian and nicknamed him Sabu after the star of the 1942 movie "Jungle Book".

The film star Sabu, whose full name was Selar Shaik Sabu, was born in India and was better known as Sabu Francis. In 1937 he appeared in the movie "Elephant Boy" and a year later in "The Drum" but his most famous roll came playing Mowgli in "Jungle Book". Other films followed, "Arabian Nights", "White Savage", and in 1944 he finally became a US citizen and joined the USAAF.

Sabu is known to have been a tail gunner in the 307th Bomb Group and completed several late war combat missions, but not in this Liberator which was assigned to 494th Bomb Group. Details of those missions and Sabu's fellow crew members are not known and information is sought.

The main image portrays the Liberator's most common nickname "Flying Boxcar" but the artist is unknown.

  Additional image Of  
The B24 was nicknamed "Flying Boxcar". Photo courtesy of J Ethell

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© Ray Bowden 24 February 2024