Nose Art Themes
The mythical and mischievous little characters called Gremlins seem to have originated in the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the term was used to describe the multitude of problems often presented to mechanics servicing aircraft. My father, an RAF mechanic, recalled the term was in common use in the 1920s when he was serving in the Mediterranean on one of the early aircraft carriers. Gremlins caused mysterious blockages in pipelines, snapped wires, broke connections, froze instruments and generally created havoc.
It was an RAF officer Flight Lt Roald Dahl who is considered to have been the person who broke the Gremlins out of the RAF into the wider world. Dahl, who later became a famous children's author, became an Assistant Air Attache in Washington DC in 1942 and wrote his first story book 'The Gremlins' based on the tiny little characters who inhabited aircraft. He also called their wives Fifinellas which later became the popular name for the American WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots). The manuscript was shown to Walt Disney and the first edition from Random House sold 50,000 copies. A projected animated movie did not come to fruition due to copyright issues and was cancelled at pre-production stage in August 1943.
However, Dahl's Gremlins inspired several other movies during and after WW2. One such cartoon involved Bugs Bunny in conflict with a Gremlin at an airfield while another showed Russian Gremlins sabotaging Adolf Hitler in his airplane. Several USAAF training films used the characters to explain how to cope with the many situations which could occur during servicing and flying aircraft. It was natural, therefore, that the name and characters would appear in nose art in a variety of forms and titles.
Walt Disney Studios created the character of Gremlin Gus for their unfinished animated film which was used on a 388BG Fortress. They also designed a Fifinella emblem for the WASPs and which was copied onto a 91BG Fort, and some B24 Liberators.
|Big Gremlin (The)||43-35420||UC-64A Norseman||387th Bomb Squadron|
|Gerty the Gremlin||42-7649||B-24H-1-FO||446th Bomb Group, 707th Bomb Squadron|
|The Gremlin||41-24110||B-24D-20||11th Bomb Group, 42nd Bomb Squadron|
|The Gremlin||42-5145||B-17F-35-BO||301st Bomb Group, 32nd Bomb Squadron|
|The Gremlin||42-104200||P-38J-15-LO||367th Fighter Group|
|Gremlin (The)||41-24035||B-24D-15-CO||376th Bomb Group. 514th Bomb Squadron|
|Gremlin Castle||B-17||99th Bomb Group|
|Gremlin Garage||Unknown||B-25||12th Bomb Group|
|Gremlin Gus||42-5904||B-17F-30-VE||388th Group, 560th Squadron|
|Gremlin Gus II||42-30595||B-17F-110-BO||388th Group, 560th Squadron|
|Gremlin's Haven||42-40653||B-24D-85-CO||5th Bomb Group, 394th Bomb Squadron|
|Gremlin's Holiday||41-30041||B-25D-5||345th Bomb Group|
|Gremlin's Roost||41-29601||B-24H-1-CF||486th Bomb Group, 832nd Bomb Squadron|
|Gremlin's Roost||44-49577||B-24L-10-FO||392nd Bomb Group, 579th Bomb Squadron|
|Gremlins||391st Bomb Group|
|Gremlins' Castle||41-18264||B-26B-10-MA||17th Bomb Group, 37th Bomb Squadron|
|Grisley Gus Gremlin||B-25||12th Bomb Group, 83rd Bomb Squadron|
|Jersey The Gremlin||B-24|
|Red Gremlin (The)||41-24444||B-17F-10-BO||97th Bomb Group|