Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Nose Art and Pilot Portraits

'George Rarey's nose art appeared on all the aircraft of the 379th FS, as well as on many of the planes in the 377th and 378th. He painted a watercolor of each insignia on 12 x 18 inch paper, each insignia accompanied by a portrait of the pilot. For a time these paintings hung in the Nissan hut ready room at Wormingford. The nose art and portraits above have been scanned from the originals.'
'This past summer [2002] the EAA Museum in Oshkosh WI mounted a magnificent exhibit of Captain George Rarey's original artwork. The exhibit has been extended and will run through April of 2003 [note: it has now become a permanent installation at EAA].'

Unfortunately, Damon Rarey, the author of the site, passed away on December 15, 2002. The site only exists at the Wayback Machine where only some of the art is preserved. There is no mention of the artwork at the EAA museum website but I've sent them an email asking if it's still available from the library.

The illustrated journal is well worth reading too. [tearful spoiler inside]


tellurian said...

Rarey's last letter: June 21, 1944. (KIA June 26, 1944)
Every night I crawl into my little sack and light up the last cigarette of the day and there in the dark with the wind whippin' around the tent flaps I think of you - of your hair and eyes and pretty face - of your lovely young body - of your warmth and sweetness. It isn't in the spirit of frustration but of fulfillment. I've known these things and knowing them and having them once, I have them forever. That wonderful look in your eyes when we'd meet after being apart for a few hours - or a few weeks - always the same - full of love. Ah, Betty Lou, you're the perfect girl for me - I love ya', Mama!

tellurian said...

A reply to my email:

The entire George Rarey collection was donated to EAA by the Rarey family following Damon's passing. We digitized the collection two years ago and a current project is preparing transcripts of all the letters. The eventual goal is to make some or all of these materials available on the web. There is no timeline for that yet as a retooling of the organization's web efforts must be completed before that can occur.

Ron Twellman, Curator of Collections