The Dark Side by Clarence Simonsen

A fascinating insight into the stories behind aircraft nose art.

Lest We Forget

War, Sex, VD, and “Piccadilly Princess”

The Dark Side 1

The Dark Side 2

These flying photos were taken on 18 May 1945, showing the nose art “Piccadilly Princess” on Lancaster NG347, No. 424 Tiger Squadron RCAF, artist was Mat Ferguson from Calgary, Alberta. This appeared to be a normal pin-up girl nose art but in fact it had a hidden message, and the code letter “P” could stand for “Prostitute” while the pin-up girl was a street-walker from Piccadilly Circus, London, England. After hostilities in Europe ended 8 May 45, No. 424 was assigned to No. 1 Group at Skipton-on-Swale, Yorkshire, and ferried British and Canadian troops from Italy to United Kingdom. I’m sure many of these same WWII combat veteran Army troops would soon visit the real Piccadilly girls in London.

The Dark Side 3

Image from Mat Ferguson photo album 2001, showing his normal pin-up girl art taken from Esquire magazine.

The Dark Side 4

During the war squadron artist Mat completed…

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