CF 44-44272 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ R0-1


Port (Left) Side - Color Image - Restoration/Representation of J-1 FO (42-50551) 8/389/566 (RR R+)
Shown with Original Pilot William C. Graff and Wife, "Doris"

Contributor - Kelsey McMillan
The day at Duxford in 1975 was June 1, 1975, when a B-24 named "DELECTABLE DORIS" was there along with the real live Doris and her pilot husband who christened his B-24 with this name. And yes, Jimmy Stewart was there too. The occasion was the 28th reunion of the Second Air Division Association, which was held in Norwich from May 30, to June 14. There were over 350 members who attended this convention, and the day trip to Duxford.
The B-24 at Duxford that was painted with the DELECTABLE DORIS nose art and trimmed with 389th Bomb Group markings was not the original B-24 named DELECTABLE DORIS. But more about the history of that particular Liberator later. First the history of the real DORIS. She was named by Capt William C. Graff, 566th Squadron pilot, in honor of his fiancée, Doris Falconer of London. Miss Falconer did not pose for the nose art, however, as she was quick to point out with blushed cheeks. The painting was based on pinup art:
"I was sent to Liverpool Depot to ferry a replacement B-24 to Hethel. We picked up a Ford-built B-24J. At Hethel, I discovered she was assigned to me with a new crew chief, Sgt Svec. Sgt Svec came to my barracks one evening with a roll of paper. He said, 'Skipper, I've got a proposition. I've got a friend, a painter, who wants to paint a nose art picture on our new ship to top them all,' and he unrolled the picture. A beautiful nude, artistically posed, but blonde. I said, 'Okay Svec. Tell him it's a deal if the price is right, and if that blond becomes a brunette.' Svec said, 'Skipper, the price is right. He just wants to do it for free.' Graff said, 'Okay, Svec, the name is DELECTABLE DORIS.' I had to write it down for him to make sure."
There were two artists, actually, one was Sgt Harry H. Darrah:
"I drew a girl on the plane and my buddy, Michael Otis Harris Murphy from Montgomery, Alabama, did the painting. There was not a brush stroke showing. Murphy ran the colors together and then dabbed with the end of the brush to blend the colors. It was an amazing work of art. He even had the reflection on her nails and lips. The picture was on a Vargas calendar that I talked the top sergeant out of its position in headquarters. I painted the name on using the style from a Carnation Cream can and Doris was the girlfriend of the pilot. I painted a large Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval just below the rock she is seated on."
DELECTABLE DORIS was lost to flak on the February 3, 1945, mission to Homburg, Germany.
Now for the history of the DELECTABLE DORIS imitator that was at Duxford in 1975. It was originally delivered to the Royal Air Force under lend-lease as number KH-401. It served with the RAF in India, and flown to 322 M.U. at Chakeri for disposal after VJ Day. It was acquired by the Indian Air Force, refurbished and put into service with the IAF, given the IAF serial number HE-771. It served with the IAF as aircraft "P" of No. 6 Squadron until it was retired in 1971.
HE-771 was then acquired by American collector David Tallichet in 1973 and registered with the FAA as N94459. It was flown to the UK in October 1973 needing maintenance work before an Atlantic crossing could be attempted. It was lodged at Duxford while it was repaired by volunteer members of "Friends of the Eighth". Repairs included the change of No. 3 engine. Tallichet gave the volunteers carte blanche to give dress the Liberator up in colors and nose art that would pay tribute to a 2nd Air Division bomb group. After consulting with 2nd Division veterans, the volunteers decided to go with the 389th's DELECTABLE DORIS and completed the tribute with the original serial number (42-50551), 566th Squadron markings (RR), and call sign (R+).
The repairs and painting had been completed in time for the Second Air Division Association reunion attendees to see it when they visited Duxford that summer day in 1975. The commemorative DELECTABLE DORIS left Duxford on August 27, 1975, for Prestwick where the nose wheel collapsed on landing. A Scottish aviation group accomplished repairs, and she left Prestwick on September 11, 1975. She arrived in the U.S.A. on Sept 15 at Rentscher Field, Connecticut. There's a long history of this plane after that, most of which I have little or no knowledge. I believe the plane is no longer flight worthy but is on display in Florida at the "Fantasy of Flight Museum". If anyone wants specific details about the history of the plane from 1975 until the present, I will have to refer you to others.

Kelsey McMillan
389th Bomb Group Official Historian

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B-24 Best Web. Published on Veterans Day 11/11/97. Last modified: 27-Mar-2021