m a r k e r i c k s o n p a i n t i n g s Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson Air Corps 1942 - 1945
Click to view Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson's complete thirty five mission list and twelve B-17 Flying Fortresses flown between March 27th thru August 26th, 1944 out of Horham Airfield, England.
This is an unusual photographs taken by my father, Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson of 95th BG during his Air Corps days. It was shot during a five mission shuttle run while he was piloting the B-17 'Lili of the Lamplight,' somewhere over Italy in August of 1944.
The close up of the propeller-head of a spinning three-bladed Hamilton Standard propeller is an interesting subject. I have come to call this my dad's "B-17 Propeller Abstraction.'
The 11 feet by 7 inches in diameter propeller blades are a beautiful thing to behold. The B-17 powered by four 1,200-horsepower Wright Cyclone engines rumbled in my father's dreams for decades after the war. He loved the B-17 and whenever he had a chance to fly one when he was working at Lockheed Aircraft he jumped at the chance. Not far from his office a Vega B-17 would be parked on the airfield at Lockheed in Burbank, California. He enjoyed going out at lunch sometimes and talking with the mechanics.
Just two days after his 22nd birthday, on August 6th, 1944, Lt. Erickson began a 5 mission shuttle run flying the "Lili of the Lamplight' (44-6085) with the 334th Squadron. The ten day flights would take him and crew on two missions over Poland, landings at Poltava Airfield in the Ukraine. A third mission over Romania followed and then back to Poltava. A final mission in the area and then they were off to Foggia Airfield in Italy. After a few days there a final mission of the 5 was completed over Toulouse, France before they headed back to Horham Airfield in England.
My father spent time in Italy after completing four of the missions. It was his longest assignment that spanned the width of the European continent.
The 3rd image below is called, 'Mayhem Over Berlin' is a fitting title for a situation very few of us would ever imagine encountering ourselves. Yet this scenario is another incredibly intense situation my father experienced during his combat flying days in England in 1944. I grew up contemplating what it must have felt like flying a B-17 in combat. Here in the painting in that mid-day over Berlin one can sense the chaotic times during that mission.
The original concept of the piece came from a page from my father's mission notes from May 24th, 1944 on a mission over Berlin. That sheet is below the painting. The words he writes are filled with intensity and action. To imagine being up there with him and the crew is extreme.
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