A site dedicated to my favorite WWII aircraft

  B-17 "MEMPHIS BELLE" Story
1st Eighth Air Force WW II Bomber to complete 25 Combat Missions & return to the United States

The B-17 Flying Fortress "MEMPHIS BELLE" (Serial No. 41-24485) was one of 12,750 B-17's built by the Boeing Aircraft Co. The BELLE was the most famous because she was the first heavy bomber in Hitler's European war theatre to complete 25 combat missions and keep her entire crew alive. She flew for 10 months from November 7, 1942 to May 17, 1943. The command generals had set 25 missions as an incentive for air crews to go home. Morale was extremely low because 80% of the bombers were shot down during the first three months of America's combat flights over Europe.

The 26th mission of the BELLE was to return to the States during the summer of 1943 on a public relations tour to thank the American public for supporting the war effort. The crew visited more than 32 cities where they received a heroes' welcome. Their mascot, a Scotty dog named "Stuka", traveled across the Atlantic with them and participated in the PR tour.

After the public relations tour, the Belle flew stateside in the training command. In 1945 she ended up in an aircraft boneyard in Altus, OK. An enterprising reporter saw her, wrote a story of her plight, and contacted the Mayor of Memphis. The City bought her for $350 and on July 17, 1946, she was flown home to Memphis.

from www.memphis-belle.com
In 1999 Col. Robert Morgan e-mailed me and sent this autographed photograph.

Hello Bob

I just looked at your B-17 site today. Well done.

I was the pilot of the Memphis Belle. I was a bit miffed by the guy who critiqued the Memphis Belle documentary and movie and sent him a lenghty e-mail. He was wrong about a number of things.

Also I have a web site at www.memphis-belle.com you might want to look at.

Col. Bob Morgan
He also sent a copy of this letter and an autographed photograph of his B-29 and crew in 1944.

Last updated 06/06/04