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Canadian Nose Artists

Lloyd Christmas was born in Hamilton, Ontario, on 21 July 1919. Drawing and painting became a major part of his life from a very early age. Upon entering High School Lloyd began art classes, then due to the depression and family problems he was forced to leave school and go to work. He became an apprentice in a silk screen- printing company, which at least give him experience in the graphic arts.

Lloyd entered RCAF Manning Depot at Brandon, Manitoba, in February 1941, reported to Toronto the next month and began two months guard duty at Camp Borden in June. In August he reported to Trenton, where - "they tried to make everyone a Wireless Air gunner." Next was a train trip west to No. 2 Wireless School at Calgary, Alberta. "Not having finished High School caused me my problems in the Air Force -long on the art but short on the Math." Lloyd was now sent to Trenton, and a new trade, Air Gunner, arriving at No. 6 Bombing and Gunnery School, Mountain View, in December 1941. Upon graduation he was posted overseas to 408 Squadron.

"I do believe we thought up the nose art idea of painting something while we gathered in a pub at Leeming, which was adjacent to 408 Squadron". "It never came to fruition until we received a brand-new Halifax Mk. V, [Halifax "G", EB276] in No. 434 [Bluenose] Squadron.

"We had quite a bit of free time while No. 434 was getting itself organized. We went on leave and I was able to go hunting on the squadron property. I also had time to paint my first [and last] aircraft nose art." "I had to first scout around to find someone who could give me the German words that we needed, and I still don't know if those words are correct?" "I had much difficulty painting with the coarse brushes I borrowed from the ground crew."

Todt Kompt Bei Nacht
by Lloyd Christmas

On the night of 18 August 1943, a force of 597 aircraft attacked the German V-weapon research establishment at Peenemunde on the Baltic. One Canadian Halifax bomber carried "German" lettered nose art - "TODT KOMPT BEI NACHT" which translates to, "Death Comes at Night."

Bomber Command Museum of Canada