NARA Photos of "Shade Ruff # 2" and "Lassie Come Home"

By: COL Bruce E. Empric
On: 01/29/2004
To all:

  Using information provided by Scott McElvain, I contacted the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to order xerox copies of photos of "Shade Ruff" and "Shade Ruff # 2."  Here's what I can tell you after reviewing the copies I received:

Archive Number:  65451AC
Date of Photo:  7 April 1944
Plane Depicted:  "Shade Ruff # 2"
Description of Photo:  Left side nose/forward cabin shot.  The name "Shade Ruff" # 2" is painted at a 45 degree angle on the nose.  There are wife, girlfriend or crew nicknames painted in large letters on the outside of the plane near their respective crew positions.  Visible in the photo are "Betty Baby" on the chin turret (bombardier's position), "Nell" near the small side windows (navigator's position), "Punjab" below the cockpit side window (pilot's position) and "Anne" below the top turret (engineer/top turret gunner position).  There is no other nose artwork present.
Note:  Once my uncle's original plane ("Shade Ruff") was lost with another crew on 8 March 1944, it appears they then assumed "Shade Ruff # 2" as their principal plane. This appears to be confirmed by the fact that my uncle was the bombardier and the name "Betty Baby" painted on the chin turret corresponds to his wife's/my late aunt's name - Betty.  My uncle and the 1st LT R.O. Stine crew were shot down by flak just four days after this picture was taken - 11 April 1944 - while flying the "Gloria J." on the mission to Politz/Sorau.  

Archive Number:  A-65440AC
Date of Photo:  7 October 1944
Plane Depicted:  "Shade Ruff # 2"
Description of Photo:  Right side nose shot.  Crew 14 of the 615th Sqd is seen kneeling/standing in front of the nose.  The crew is not further identified.  The words "Shade Ruff # 2" are only partially visible as is the word "Betty" on the right side of the chin turret.

Archive Number:  B-65782AC
Date of Photo:  13 March 1945
Plane Depicted:  "Shade Ruff # 2"
Description of Photo:  Left side nose shot.  "Shade Ruff #" is visible.  The "2" is not visible - it has either faded away or has been painted over.  Although they are partially cut off in the picture, at least 42 mission symbols are visible.  The crew of 1st J.E. Fondren and three ground crew personnel are seen kneeling/standing in front of the nose.

Archive Number:  65460AC
Date of Photo:  27 March 1945
Image of Artwork on Rear of A-2 Leather Flying Jacket
Description of Image/Artwork:  This photo is the well known picture of the "Shade Ruff" A-2 leather jacket seen in both the "Pictorial Record of the 401st Bomb Group" as well as in Gary Valant's book on "Vintage Aircraft Nose Art."  The words "Shade Ruff", a Marilyn Monroe-like uplifted skirt woman's figure surrounded by two flak burst and 35 mission symbols are painted on the jacket's back.

Archive Number:  B-65705AC      
Date of Image:  25 March 1945
Image of Artwork on Rear of A-2 Leather Flying Jacket
Description of Image/Artwork:  A very close up shot of the "Shade Ruff" A-2 leather jacket artwork described above.
Note:  Based on the date of these two A-2 leather jacket photos, it's clear that the crew member wearing this jacket had been flying "Shade Ruff # 2" since the original "Shade Ruff" was lost on 8 March 44.  

Although I didn't request it, NARA also sent a xerox copy of "Lassie Come Home."  It's archive number is very similar to one of those for "Shade Ruff # 2."  Only the letter "A"  at the front differentiates the two.

Archive Number:  A65451AC
Date of Photo:  3 May 1944
Plane Depicted:  "Lassie Come Home"
Description of Photo:  Right front close-in nose shot.  The words "Lassie Come Home" are painted on a white cloud-like background midway up the nose just behind the right nose gun/right side nose windows.  Immediately below the right nose gun are painted four swastika symbols (representing downed German fighters) as well as 31 mission symbols (bombs).
Note:  "Lassie Come Home" was lost just four days later, 7 May 1944, on a mission to Berlin.

  I hope that this information may prove useful to those forum members interested in either of the two above aircraft.



Re: NARA Photos of "Shade Ruff # 2" and "Lassie Come Home"

By: Scott McElvain
On: 01/30/2004
There went my theory that negative numbers with the suffix AC were Aircraft photos......

Maybe include this kind of info on the plane or crew page.......

By: Scott McElvain
On: 01/31/2004
While not a priority, it would be nice to have this kind of info included on the plane and crew pages of the website.  I have the same info for the National Archive photos of Heavy Date and other planes that my dad flew and would be glad to give it to the website when time allows.  Kudos to our webmaster for the effort he has put in on the site.  It surely is the finest Group website on the net.