"QUEEN MAE" #44-40314
319TH BOMB SQUADRON, 90TH BOMB GROUP
IN THE SWPA DURING WW2

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visits since 9 September 2007

 


Photo: Dale R. Niesen Collection

Nose-art of "Queen Mae" #44-40314

B-24 Liberator #44-40314 was a standard bomber of the 90th Bomb Group, 319th Bomb Squadron. It was one of the "800-clubbers". Approximately 800 airframes built in the 44-****** serial range/contract which were the last of the modern B-24s to retain their older heritage details:-

B-24's after this batch had their navigator's window enlarged, the turret became the electric Emerson and the nose-wheel doors opened outwards.


Photo:- Bob Livingstone Collection

Colour photo of "Queen Mae" nose-art

Serial #44-40314 was accepted by the Army Air Force on 20 March 1944, and passed through the Tucson modification centre. It was then ferried to Fairfield, California to be united with its overseas ferry crew on 23 April 1944. On 29 April it left the USA and was accepted by the 5th Air Force on 10 May 1944 and eventually became "Queen Mae" with the 319th Bomb Squadron of the 90th Bomb Group.

"Queen Mae" is recorded as being salvaged in the Philippines, post-war, on 28 June 1945. No reason is given, but since it was not due to an accident or combat, it can be safely assumed that, as not the most modern B-24 available, it was considered to be "war weary", gutted for useful parts, and the hulk dumped in one of the many aircraft graveyards which were systematically stripped after the war by the scrappers.

There has been a deal of confusion about this aircraft due to the elaborate art work on its nose. Some have thought this elaborate art work to be another of the well known Bartigan-painted 6PRG aircraft, but Bob Livingstone has confirmed that it was not. Pete Johnston has subsequently confirmed that the nose art is the work of Al Merkling who was also responsible for the art on many of the 6PRG F-7 Photo recon versions of the B-24.

NOTE:- Sarkis Bartigan was the artist responsible for the wonderful artwork on a number of 43rd Bomb Group aircraft (not 6PRG) eg ("Dragon and Its Tail", "Michigan", "Cocktail Hour", etc).

 


Photo:- via Pete Johnston

Al Merkling's name can be seen below
the "M" in the "Queen Mae" artwork.

 


Photo:- via Pete Johnston

Close-up of Al Merkling at work

 


Photo:- via Pete Johnston

Al Merkling painting "Patched Up Piece",
which he subsequently had to retouch when they
stripped the Blue PRU paint from the aircraft.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Pete Johnston, Dale R. Niesen and Bob Livingstone for their assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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 Peter Dunn 2006

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This page first produced 9 September 2007

This page last updated 10 December 2010