Header images: Left: Vic Watts painting the original Kangaroo nose art onto Lancaster W5005 ‘AR-L’ in July 1943 when the aircraft had completed 12 ‘ops’. Right: The nose art replicated on BBMF Lancaster PA474 today, with 30 ‘ops’ recorded on the bomb log (as at 9th September 1943).
The man who painted the original cartoon of a Kangaroo in wellington boots playing the bagpipes, onto the nose of 460 Squadron Avro Lancaster W5005 ‘AR-L’, in July 1943, was the then Flying Officer Thomas Victor Watts RAAF. Vic, as he was known, came from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and was a navigator on 460 Squadron, which was based at RAF Binbrook in the Lincolnshire Wolds from 1943. As well as being a courageous airman, he was also a brilliant artist and painted many of the 460 Squadron nose art pictures on to the unit’s Lancasters, with style and humour, often signing them with his initials “V.W.” Vic was also a gifted musician and a fine singer, who played several instruments and fronted the squadron’s dance band.