USAAF Nose Art Research Project


The Shamrock Special
B-17F-60-BO 42-29591

91st Bomb Group, 401st Bomb Squadron


Nose art painted by
91st Bomb Group, 401st Bomb Squadron
Bassingbourn, England

The Shamrock Special Photo courtesy of Jack Gaffney
Photo courtesy of Jack Gaffney

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Plane Names & Fancy Noses

Originally assigned to 95BG at Framlingham, this B17F was transferred to 91BG in June 1943. Attributed with the name "Easy Aces" by its former operators, the plane became one of those tended by Assistant Crew Chief Gaffney after its arrival at Bassingbourn. Named by Jack, the Fort was a replacement for the recently lost "Invasion No.2". Jack's step-father was of Irish ancestry, hence the new title, and the nude pin-up on the right side clutched a carefully positioned shamrock to preserve her modesty. A second pin-up, kneeling with a bomb, was painted onto the left nose and, when in the sub-depot hangar for repair, a third was painted onto the tail fin. This near-lifesize nude was one of the very few examples of fin artwork to be seen in the 91BG. It was badly damaged in a taxi accident which almost finished Jack as well as "The Shamrock Special" when a another plane over-ran into the parked Fortress.

Repaired and returned to combat, this B17F completed 26 missions before being reassigned to Air Force Service Command due to the lack of long range Tokyo tanks.

  Additional image Of  

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Known Mission List

Date Pilot


11 Jun 1943K S KnowltonWilhelmshaven
13 Jun 1943J W Johnson / ?Kiel5 e/a claimed by (TG)x2, (RW), (TT), (BT) (B0895-369)
22 Jun 1943--Transferred to 91BG
29 Jun 1943H T Lay / E D ArpTricqueville (abortive)
14 Jul 1943T G Wlson / P BerkeyAmiens
17 Jul 1943T G Wlson / P BerkeyT/Op N.GermanyCat A - friendly fire
26 Jul 1943T G Wlson / P BerkeyHamburg
28 Jul 1943T G Wilson / P BerkeyKassel (abortive-wx)
30 Jul 1943T G Wilson / P BerkeyKassel(CP) WIA
15 Aug 1943W H Wheeler / H J BianchiFlushing/VlissengenCat B - flak + mg
24 Aug 1943Capt D E SheelerVillacoublay
27 Aug 1943F/O R A Pitts / K B RutledgeWattenCat A - flak + mg
3 Sep 1943Capt H T Lay / J GellesRomilly / Evreux(TG) destroyed Fw190
15 Sep 1943Capt H T Lay / J GellesRomilly
16 Sep 1943Capt E M Lockhart / H H EversNantes
23 Sep 1943Capt H T Lay / C R PhillipsNantesCat A - flak. 1 WIA
26 Sep 1943Capt H T Lay / N A DanielsMeulan (abortive)Cat A - flak
8 Oct 1943BremenR/E - (NS)
30 Dec 1943LudwigshavenR/E - (NS) spare?
31 Dec 1943W B Smith / H E KirbyCognac a/fCat AC - flak + shell cases. Me109 destroyed
11 Jan 1944R S Roberts / F L ButlerOscherslebenCat AC - flak + self-inflicted + shell cases, landed @ Deopham Green
21 Jan 1944Cherbourg (NS) - did not take off
29 Jan 1944FrankfurtCat A - flak
30 Jan 1944I Piacentini / J A RogersBrunswickCat A - mg . 1 WIA - 20mm blew off leg
3 Feb 1944I Piacentini / J A RogersWilhelmshavenCat A - flak
4 Feb 1944 F Rentmeester / W W BehrendFrankfurt
5 Feb 1944H H Evers / F/O P G McDuffeeAvord a/f
6 Feb 1944H H Evers / B D MooreNancy-Essey a/f (abortive)
20 Feb 1944R S Roberts / Maj C D LeeLiepzig - AscherslebenCat A - flak
21 Feb 1944P R Coleman / R A ThompsonAchmer
22 Feb 1944Bunde / Bielefeld(NS) Not despatched
24 Feb 1944J D Davis / A N MoreySchweinfurtCat A - flak
18 Apr 1944W S BurttOranienburgMinor BD - flak

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© Ray Bowden 15 June 2024
Information Update for Readers of
"Plane Names & Fancy Noses - 91st Bomb Group (Heavy)"