Nose Art – Willie The Wolf

Halifax Mk. VII (serial NP707) was delivered to No. 432 Squadron where it was marked “QO-W” and flew its first operation on 11 July 44 to Thiverney. The aircraft completed 67 operations with the squadron, 24 of them by P/O A. Potter and crew. Perhaps they were the crew who gave her the name “Willie The Wolf.”

Harold Kearl (pilot) of Calgary who flew Willie The Wolf to Rawcliffe to be scrapped.

The nose artist was Thomas Dunn from Winnipeg, Manitoba. He had drawing talent but had received no training until high school when he enrolled in hand lettering. He was an RCAF airframe mechanic at East Moor, Yorkshire where No. 432 Squadron was based. Tom began painting Halifax nose art in the spring of 1944, and had completed seven when NP707 arrived on 5 July 1944. “Willie the Wolf” was a big hit with the squadron and for his nose art talents, Tom received five quid ($25 Canadian) which was a lot of money in 1944.

This is the largest nose art panel in the collection (11′ 3″ wide x 5′ 1″ high). On 10 June 1976, the War Museum allowed the RCAF Officers’ Mess in Ottawa to take loan of Canada’s largest original Nose Art.

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RCAF Officer’s Mess, Glouster St., Ottawa, 7 August 1991, Nose Artist Thomas Dunn stands beside the Halifax nose art he painted in England 46 years before. He did not know his original artwork survived until Clarence interviewed him in 1990.