Many, if not most, of the crowd which attended the Arts Alive reception for the opening of a display of George Frayne’s art at the Northumberland Public Library in Heathsville Friday evening didn’t realize the breadth of his talent. Since Frayne retired to Reedville a quarter of a century ago, his posters advertising events at area institutions have been seen all over the lower Northern Neck. His serious water colors, line drawings and World War II sketches haven’t been. They were at the library.
Frayne, who is old enough to have contemplated joining the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, was a bomber pilot in North Africa and Italy, said he almost didn’t put his war sketches in the show, but he did and they drew great interest from the crowd. Small, they depict bombers flying into flak, airmen in various uniforms and a P-51 from the Red Tails, the Tuskegee Airmen.
Frayne said the Red Tails flew cover for his bomber group and the Germans were afraid to try and get through them and at the bombers. He said he and his fellow bomber crewmen didn’t realize until late that the Red Tails were all black. (They weren’t all African-American. Five of them were Haitians and one from Trinidad.)
Pick up a copy of the November 8 edition of the Northumberland Echo to read the full story