Eva & Edith signature found in WWII-era P-47D Thunderbolt
Plane completed in 1944 in Indiana, but wing was manufactured in Buffalo, New York
Their identities may have been lost in time, but now the search is on for two women who scrawled their names inside the wing of a WWII-era fighter plane.
A grease pencil signature says “Eva & Edith” and was found on a P-47 Thunderbolt by AirCorps Aviation, who is restoring the plane.
The specific plane, model P-47 D-23RA, that had the Eva & Edith signatures was completed in 1944 at Republic Aviation’s Evansville, Indiana plant, according to the AirCorps website.
But the Eva & Edith wing panel was actually built at the Curtiss-Wright Company in Buffalo, New York. Due to high demand, some plane components had to be built in other factories, Sara Zimmerman with AirCorps told CNN.
Thousands of women worked at the plants as part of the US war effort. Their work was immortalized as the iconic “Rosie the Riveter.”
“A lot of times, you hear about the folks that flew them, the Aces and the missions they took part in. But, often, the folks that went to work here at the home front kind of get a little overlooked, military historian Kenneth Grant told CNN affiliate WFIE.
More than 6,000 Thunderbolts were manufactured at the Evansville factory during the war. The plane, also known as T-Bolt or “Jug” – short for Juggernaut, was a large and fast fighter/bomber that saw combat in Europe and the Pacific.
Notes, signatures and measurements were often written on the inner surfaces of aircraft during the manufacturing process – sometimes for convenience and sometimes for posterity, AirCorps said.
AirCorps is asking anyone with information about Eva and Edith to contact them.
“Could these two ladies have possibly fathomed that 72 years after becoming part of the ‘army at home’ their signatures inside a P-47 would still exist as evidence of their contributions?” the website mused.