Eckley Aviation Art
The art of Paul Eckley
 
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The paintings depicted below are being submitted for consideration into the Air Force Art Program.
All materials herein are the property of Paul W. Eckley, Jr., LTC, USAF, Retired.

Reproduction of any artwork depicted on this site without permission is prohibited.

 
Off to Moresby
Off to Moresby
15 x 18”, Acrylic on Board

A 19th Bomb Group B-17E crew prepares to depart their home base at Mareeba in Northern Australia. They will stage through Port Moresby, New Guinea to attack Japanese targets at Rabaul, New Britain.
Singosari Savior

Singosari Savior

15 x 25½”, Acrylic on Board

 

A P-40 pilot, having just arrived at his combat base, has to scramble and attack a Japanese bomber force. Now lost, he spots a B-17 landing and rolling across some railroad tracks on a camouflaged grass field. He does the same.

Morning Rush Hour

Morning Rush Hour
15¾ x 18¾”, Acrylic on Board

It is a dawn in April 1941 and the cadets of 41-I are taking to the air with their Graham Aviation instructors at Americus, Georgia. Busy place!

Rabaul Recce

Rabaul Recce
21½ x 27½”, Acrylic on Board

This B-17E crew of the 19th BG, 93rd SQDN is completing a third day of photographing Japanese installations and especially the shipping in Simpson Harbor at Rabaul. It is August 3, 1942 and they learned later that our Marines had landed at Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942.

The Dust-Off

The Dust-Off
16 x 32”, Acrylic on Board

Crushed coral was used extensively in preparing air fields and taxiways in the Southwest Pacific in 1942. In time it had the consistency of talcum powder. A superior officer is experiencing a dust-off in the high humidity of 7-Mile Airstrip at Port Moresby.

Incoming Friendly

Incoming Friendly
20 x 32”, Acrylic on Board

To ensure that the Australian flak batteries would not shoot you down on your approach to 7-Mile Airstrip at Port Moresby, you had to follow a certain procedure. Approach with landing lights on, wheels down and circle a sunken ship in the harbor, all at 500’.

Natal Refueling

Natal Refueling, January 1942
12 x 32”, Acrylic on Board

It is early January 1942 and Project “X” is underway to ferry new B-17E’s to the Phillipines via South America, Africa, India and Indonesia. In neutral Natal, Brazil an American fortress is being refueled by a hand wobble pump while a German airline still operates off this Pan-Air field.

Rabaul Night Raid

Rabaul Night Raid, October 1942
16 x 24”, Acrylic on Board

It is the night of 8-9 October, 1942 and the target is the town of Rabaul. The attack is at 6000’ below a solid cloud deck. The tracers make what looks like a Christmas tree into which a B-17 must fly on its bomb run.

On Alert at Wagoni

On Alert at Waigoni
20 x 32”, Acrylic on Board

Our B-17 had been diverted to Waigoni from landing at 7-Mile Airstrip at Port Moresby because a Japanese attack was in progress. Waigoni was a new fighter base and after sleeping in the plane all night I saw this scene of a fighter pilot on alert.

Mareeba Morning Departure

Mareeba Morning Departure
18 x 33”, Giclee on Canvas

Mareeba, in Northern Queensland, was our new base in August 1942. From there, inland from Cairns, we staged to 7-Mile Airstrip at Port Moresby and ran bombing missions to Rabaul and other targets for a few days before returning to Australia and turning the aircraft over to maintenance. After months of sand and flies it was a joy to be under a tent in the trees at Mareeba.

1942 In My Life

1942 In My Life
48 x 48”, Acrylic on Canvas

I have attempted to show incidents that I experienced flying a B-17 to Java and was later evacuated to Australia by a Dutch freighter. We ran missions out of Cloncurry, Longreach and Mareeba and I returned to the States to marry my college sweetheart in December.

Psalm 91

Psalm 91
39 x 51”, Acrylic on Canvas

En route to Java in January 1942 we blew a tire at Acera, Gold Coast and were delayed. A spare was finally salvaged off a B-17 that crashed at Sierra Leone and ferried to Acera enabling us to continue Project “X”. During the delay I read a book that had the 91st Psalm on the title page. I quickly realized that it was talking to me… “Ten thousand will fall at thy right hand… but it shall not come nigh thee!” This was painted fifty years later.

Moresby Night Raid

Moresby Night Raid, May 1942
22 x 28”, Kodak Velox Dyes on Cardboard

Spending the night at Port Moresby we were shown our motel – six bare iron cots placed in the 5’ high kunai grass under a tent. It was explained that three pistol shots would signal for an air raid. Three Japanese float planes dropped bombs that hit nothing and our flak failed to hit any of them. We were more comfortable in the slit trench. This painting was done on a piece of cardboard using Kodak velox dyes normally used to decorate black and white portraits.

Moresby Morning Maintenance

Moresby Morning Maintenance, August 1942
22½ x 40½”, Acrylic on Canvas

The ground maintenance crews at 7-Mile Airstrip at Port Moresby are insuring that their aircraft are ready for the day’s missions.

 

The DitchingJavascript Gallery by VisualLightBox.com v3.2

The Ditching
23 x 37”, Acrylic on Board

The time is August 1942 and this B17E crew of the 19th BG, 93rd Sqdn is lost and hunting for Horn Island, which has an emergency coral landing strip. Horn is just one of many small islands off the northern tip of Australia with no homing radio beacon to help. They are about to run out of fuel and the enlisted bombardier and the navigator have exited the nose. I have tried to capture the stress, anxiety, pressure and confusion as they are about to ditch the aircraft.

Mareeba Maintenance

Mareeba Maintenance
22 x 28”, Acrylic on Illustration Board

I wanted to depict the rather basic, in the bush, conditions our ground crews used to keep our aircraft flying.  The South Pacific coral dust caused a lot of trouble for our engines.  One day I planted myself against a eucalyptus tree at Mareeba, our home base near Cairns in Northern Australia and painted this view of mechanics working on one of our 93rd Squadron aircraft.  In the first six months of 1942 there was pretty much no supply pipeline to Australia.  We had to fly with what we had and our maintenance crews were continually patching, scrounging and salvaging to keep our heavy bombers in the air.

Bio
Bio

Displayed here are a few of the items that were a part of my life.