While preparing research on F/L David Taylor and the crew of W/C W Pleasance, the faint artwork
on the aircraft appearing in the background of the photo from the Taylor family collection held my interest.
The noticeable but faint piece of nose art on the pilot's side was now more visible in this newest copy of the crew photo.
The aircraft is identified as "Lady Oboe" in one source.
The artwork completed in the style of Alberto Varga, an artist well know for his "pin-up" girl art has some very thin
and faint lettering to the left of the girl in the painting. I enlarged this newest copy of the crew photo and then
added filters to bring out the very thin lettering near the art. The filtering makes the lettering stand out. In the
photo as seen below the first
letter has the double curves found normally at the top of the capital "M". The letters following this are "iss" .
And there is no signs of the capital "L" or the other letters that make up the word Lady. When this photo was taken the artwork was
lettered "Miss Oboe" with the last line at the bottom being "Varga".
KB735 or KB748
The book which identified the nose art contained many examples of artwork painted on aircraft. One example of this
image is shown
both in the crew photo (shown to the right here) and a second photo with a fainter image of the same pin-up girl.
The book lists the aircraft as KB748 which is highly unlikely as KB748 was only with 419 Squadron starting
in October of 1944. The crew in the photo is that of W/C Wilbur Pleasance DFC, he and his crew had completed their Tour
and had left 419 Squadron for different assignments a month and a half earlier in August of 1944.
Another clue as to when the photo was taken is the number of operations painted on the side. Twenty-eight which makes it
August 9th. two days after W/C Pleasance crew had completed their Tour. The photo which is one of series
taken with the Pleasance's crew that day, possibly to celebrate the completion of their 30 sorties.
The aircraft which carried the VR-O during this time period was serial number KB735. An aircraft Wing Commander Pleasance
flew during the last
operations and a number of other times previously.
KB735 was the first Lancaster VR-O in the squadron and shows up
for the first time on the May 22/23rd. operation and continues on until October 4th.
KB748 the second and last Lancaster VR-O began operations two sorties later on October 6th.
A web source shows KB735 as crash landing on September 18th 1944. It makes no mention if it was heavily damaged or
repaired. Although the ORB shows KB735 completed three more operations starting on September 18th. completing its time
with 419 Squadron on October 4th.
Did KB748 become the "Lady Oboe"
If anyone has a photo which clearly shows the artwork with the lettering showing "Lady Oboe" and that can also
show the serial number of the aircraft, it may help sort out the story.
Was "Miss Oboe" simply forgotten about when KB748 became VR-O then KB748 become "Lady Oboe" with similar artwork?
KB748 was one of the aircraft brought home to Canada, it was flown home by F/L W.G. Manning.