No. 426 Nose Art

Here is a collection of No 426 Sqn nose art, once a common practice, it virtually disappeared after the war. We will add more photos as we find them as long as we can confirm they are of No 426 Sqn aircraft. If you're interested in other squadron's nose art visit the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum at There you will find links to other collections and can even purchase 'Willie the Wolf' t-shirts.

"Queen of Spades", a Lancaster of the RCAF Bomber Group's "Thunderbird" squadron gets a tuning-up before taking-off on a raid. LAC A.H. Erickson of Shell Lake, Sask., is pictured standing on a ladder beneath the pilots cockpit, while LAC D.G. Lait (9524-102nd Ave.) Edmonton, Alta., perches on the wing as he works on an engine.

From left to right aeroengine mechanic LAC Jake Shantz, S/L B.D.C. Patterson, DFC, of Calgary, Alberta, airframe mechanic LAC Don Forster. S/L Donald B. Patterson was a Flight Commander and pilot with No. 426 Squadron. On 17 May, 1944 he first flew Halifax Mk III MZ-674. The aircraft appears to have become his personal aircraft because he flew it on seven operations, including one on D-Day and numerous other flights. The Halifax was marked "OW-W" and named, "Willie the Wolf from the West." This name was taken from the 1943 movie, "Riding High" starring Dorothy Lamour which featured a song titled, "Willie the Wolf of the West." S/L Patterson appears to have modified the title by substituting "from" for "of" as he was from the west. At the time that the name for the aircraft was chosen, the corresponding nose art was painted on the Halifax. Note that the wolf carries squadron leader designation on his tunic.

This replica of Willie the Wolf, on original skin from NA337, was presented to No 426 Sqn by Karl Kjasgaard, 10 Jun 2004. Accepting is LCol J.R. Anderson, CO.

The replica is on display in the main hall of Dishforth Bldg, 8 Wing, Trenton

TN73-306/OW "C" for Chesty, a mascot also decorates this Halifax. 

Shapely legs clothed in crimson stockings and vivid garter tell a story in the crest which adorns the fuselage at this crew's Lancaster of the Thunderbird Squadron. F/L W.H. “Wylie” Spafford  of Winnipeg (235 Ash St.) the pilot and veteran deputy flight  commander of the squadron. and his bomb aimer, F/O W.J. “Cam" Campbell (right) of Lethbridge, Alta. explain the crest as follows.

They are avid readers of the comic strips, particulary L’il Abner of Dog Patch fame.  Recently a ghost has been haunting him in the form of the legs at Flame McGoon, notorious flirt who had died. Spafford and Campbell explain that the legs remind them the haunting they are doing these days of Hitler's fortress and the shapely limbs have  skipped over a number of the most heavily defended targets in Europe. The crew have done 16 trips so far with this attractive crest as their inspiration.

P/O T.I. Dodsworth, Vancouver, in front of Halifax TN73-302.

Lancaster OW "B" for Beer finishes it's seventh sortie with one enemy fighter to its credit. Members of the ground crew are; LAC J.D. Paterson, Looma AB, LAC A. Omesklan, Capreol ON, LAC R.I. Coristine, Gage AB, and Sgt A.S.H. Games, Kelowna BC who painted the gremlin badge.

Halifax OW "E" for I'm Easy. Similar to the shapely legs on Spafford's Lancaster DS772/OW "E".

Vicky the Vicious Virgin, Halifax OW"V" with 17 missions completed. It is believed that this is the second OW"V", the first being shot down on the night of 28-29 Jun 44, during a raid on Metz, where one crew was killed but the rest evaded.

Our Mary, Lancaster OW"O", with over 32 missions completed. Unknown crew, the Thunderbirds lost an OW"O" on the night of 23-24 Aug 43, during a raid on Berlin with all crew lost, this photo is likely of that aircraft's replacement.