Help Peter Jackson Solve a WWI Mystery!

While Adam was in New Zealand filming the laser-tag dogfight episode of Savage Builds, Peter Jackson tells him of a discovery his team made while restoring a World War 1-era airplane. Hidden in plane wings that were made a hundred years ago was a drawn portrait of an unnamed pilot. We need your help uncovering who this pilot was!

Comments (11)

11 thoughts on “Help Peter Jackson Solve a WWI Mystery!

  1. Hi!

    I’d rather comment here because YouTube commenters are not always very… constructive

    What I am curious about is why everyone seems surprised by the quick results. All it takes is a google image search I’m guessing, a thing that surprisingly few people know about. But come on! Surely Peter Jacksons’ team or Adam’s would know about google image or any other reverse search engine, it’s not rocket science.

    The wikipedia photo was posted in February 2018, so how come no one found it? And why was it flagged for deletion a month ago?

  2. The formatting of my reply wasn’t working but there is more information on the Wiki nomination page.

    Anyway this is a bit fishy, was there a joke behind this whole thing? Why does that fac similé look so good? There is no way the original would be in such great condition after all these years What’s the story here. That’s just as interesting

  3. the video was shot months ago when they were filming. they might have found who it was and put the info up after it was already finished, but before they were allowed to upload the youtube video.

    the copy adam has is justy a print out, im SURE the original copy wasnt in that great of condition, but Peter Jackson has TONS of money to throw at someone to restore the original.

  4. It might be relatively straightforward to confirm the Wikipedia image by tracing the service history of the aircraft to see if that person’s timeline intersects the plane. Military records for big pieces of hardware like aircraft are typically pretty good. Mikey on the Plane Savers YouTube show has been able to find all manner of cross reference info on their fleet of DC-3s to confirm which of their planes flew on D-Day. I’d wager some similar digging would either confirm this Wikipedia person or at least narrow the search for who the actual pilot (or more interestingly the artist) might have been.

    To me, all the reasons that someone would have put this portrait into the airplane are more fascinating than who the person was. Was he a fallen comrade, and the portrait placed inside the wing so that in spirit he could continue to fly and fight with his brothers? Was this a tradition in the squadron where Billy the artist did everybody’s portrait and it was considered good luck to have your portrait inside your plane after a repair? Pilots and crews are a superstitious bunch, especially at war, so I’m just as curious about the why as the who.

  5. I agree with you. What was the reason it was placed in the plane wing? One more possibility is that the plane once was flown by him. Being such a celebrated war hero, it is possible the reason the plane survived is because it was stashed away some time shortly after his death. It could be that the drawing was done posthumously from a photo by a airman repairing the plane.Or it could have been done by someone trying to preserve the plane and its history after it was in service. Considering the striking similarities between the photo and the drawing, This may be the most likely scenario.

  6. Like all good mysteries, finding a (highly plausible) answer uncovers more questions! Was this plane flown by Mick Mannock himself? if not, why was a hand-drawn copy of the photograph placed in another pilots plane? Was it superstition and for good luck? And so on…and of course, where did the moustache come into the picture 🙂

  7. My thoughts as well. Seems like the drawing was made from the photo, not separately. I’d be curious to see if they could do some sort of test on the paper and medium used to draw the portrait and see if either are as old as 100 years. Certainly seems like the internet made quick work of finding the man, though. I also wonder if it couldn’t have been a “fanboy” airman getting a little luck from his hero, commissioning a sketch of the photo he had.

  8. The drawing is perfectly traced. Too perfectly by the way. But not from the Wikipedia picture of Mannock (I’ve checked that very closely) or from an exact 2D scan or an original from the WW I. It basically fits on the pixel exactly on the templates (Photoshop overlay shows that) – BUT it has a slight distortion. Strange … Why? And how? The distortion is exactly the same as in a smartphone picture by Pete Squires on Twitter: https://twitter.com/comdtcranwell/status/974684113058910209.

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