In early 1944 the city of Buffalo decided to support the war effort by actively raising money, which would be used to buy a squadron of fighter planes. An article in the January 30, 1944 issue of the Buffalo Courier Express reported:
“A bombshell was tossed into the Buffalo and Erie County Fourth War Loan campaign yesterday – and probably will mean plenty of bombshells in Nazi and Japanese territories – when [the] chairman of the Retail Stores Division of the War Finance Committee, announced that his organization will present Uncle Sam’s War Department with a squadron of planes to be known as The Flying Bisons.
To accomplish this, retail stores of the city and county will have to sell approximately $1,500,000 in War Bonds and Stamps in a campaign, which will get underway tomorrow.
Many interesting angles have been developed to make this particular phase of Buffalo and Erie County’s Fourth War Loan campaign of particular import to area residents. Foremost is the symbol that each plane will bear – a winged bison created by Walt Disney, creator of Mickey Mouse.
In addition, adults purchasing War Bonds and children buying War Stamps will receive honorary membership cards in the flying Bison squadron. The cards will bear the Disney emblem.
Bond booths in all retail stores will be expanded for the remainder of the campaign and additional personnel will be enlisted to accommodate the expected rush. Appropriate window displays will be exhibited to spur the drive. Radio programs are being arranged and newspaper advertising will carry the messages of the retail stores.
A spokesman last night asserted that ‘Buffalo will be expected to back its own Flying Bisons to the utmost, and we know that this expectation will be fulfilled.’”
There is no record of whether or not the city did in fact purchase any airplanes. The “Junior Honorary Member of the Flying Bison Squadron” membership card mentioned in the newspaper article is extremely rare and only one example is known to exist. The front of this card gave “recognition of purchases of War Stamps or Bonds during the 4th War Loan Drive,” while the reverse stated, “The Flying Bisons – A squadron of fighter planes sponsored by retail merchants of Buffalo and backed by the war bond purchases of patriotic citizens during February 1944.”
If you look closely at the card, you can see the insignia that was mentioned in the newspaper article. According to my insignia database, the design was actually created by a Disney artist in October 1942.
Edited by disneydave, 07 July 2007 - 09:04 AM.