Hurry Home Honey

2009

18 x 40"

From a private collection.

Giclée prints available: image sizes are: 13 1/2 x 30" (75%) and 9 x 20" (50%)

5% of all print revenue will be donated to Blue Star Moms of Marin.

Major Richard Peterson and his aircraft "Hurry Home Honey", escorting a B-17 home in late 1944.

Richard Peterson flew with the 364th Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group. He was based at Leiston England,and flew two full tours, from January 1944 to mid-March 1945. He flew four Mustangs during that span - a P-51B, P-51C, and two P-51D's. All were named "Hurry Home Honey", which is the way his sweetheart and later wife signed all of her letters to him. Richard Peterson passed away in June 2000.

On at least three occasions during the war, Captain, later Major Peterson flew escort to battle-damaged American bombers. In at least one case he fought off Luftwaffe fighters that were trying to shoot down the bomber. In this case, the bomber, a B-17 of the 34th Bomber Group, had been crippled by flak. The sight of a P-51 Mustang, flown by an triple ace pilot, arriving to provide an escort home must have brought intense relief to the crew of the B-17. The name of the P-51 must have made it seem as though the Mustang and pilot were destined to be their savior.

This painting is closely based on a WWII USAAF photo, taken from the starboard waist gun window of the B-17. The low angle and direction of the shadows indicate that the two aircraft are flying west, returning to England. The Mustang was quite close to the B-17, causing some foreshortening of the aircraft. Major Peterson stuffed the flight plan or map into the gap between the coaming and the left pane of the windscreen. The Mustang is throttled back, the propeller turning over so slowly that it is nearly frozen by the camera.

In both photos (there are two, very similar), Major Peterson is looking over at the B-17, with his goggles up on his forehead.

Dedicated to Richard Peterson and my friend Grant Bird, who passed away on Christmas Day, 2008.

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Contact me at:bertopaintings@yahoo.com (Lively Whisper Arts) or 707-537-6884 for more information or to order.