USAAF Nose Art Research Project


St Mary of the Mount


St Mary of the Mount

When the children of the St Mary of the Mount School in Pittsburgh began their War Bond drive their target was to raise sufficient funds to purchase one aircraft. By the time they had completed the collection they had raised enough to buy one B17 Flying Fortress, four Grasshopper flying ambulances, seven jeeps, one amphibious jeep and 35 ambulances. At the same time, their was also sufficient to fund five $3000 hospital units and $2000 of medical equipment.

Incredibly, the children of St Mary of the Mount raised a total of $447,804.64 in their campaign. This may have been more than any other school bond drive in WW2. To mark the purchase of their B17, the War Department sent a photo of a B17G embellished with the title of their school. Sadly, this was almost certainly simply a photo retouched with the title, like so many of the war bond planes at that time.

The pupils however had their christening ceremony none the less. Water drawn from the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongagahela rivers was poured over a model B-17 airplane in a proxy ceremony. A photo in the Pittsburgh Post Express (19 March 43) shows Father Thomas Quigley accompanied by several pupils of the school. 11-year-old Michael Hickey sold $49,000 of bonds, Raymond Streily sold $44,125 and David Harold added another £35,000. At the ceremony, all three high school juniors were made honorary generals for their efforts.


© Ray Bowden 9 August 2022