WOW171 B-17 Memphis Belle


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WOW 171 The ‘Memphis Belle’ was a B-17F Flying Fortress used during the Second World War and inspired the making of two motion pictures: a 1944 documentary film Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress, and a 1990 Hollywood feature film, Memphis Belle. The aircraft was one of the first United States Army Air Forces B-17 heavy bombers to complete 25 combat missions. Captain Robert K. Morgan’s crew flew 29 combat missions with the 324th Bomb Squadron, all but four in the Memphis Belle. The aircraft was then flown back to the United States on 8 June 1943, by a composite crew chosen by the Eighth Air Force led by Capt. Morgan, for a 31-city war bond tour. The aircraft was named after pilot Robert K Morgan’s sweetheart, Margaret Polk, a resident of Memphis Tennessee. The 91st’s group artist, Corporal Tony Starcer copied the Petty girl as art on both sides of the forward fuselage, depicting her suit in blue on the aircraft’s port side and in red on the starboard. The nose art later included 25 bomb shapes, one for each mission credit, and eight swastika designs, one for each German aircraft claimed shot down by the crew. Station and crew names were stenciled below station windows on the aircraft after her tour of duty was completed.