Memphis Belle completed

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The newly completed B-17F Memphis Belle (left) nose-to-nose with B-17G Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby at Dayton on 14 March.
NMUSAF

On 14 March, newly completed Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress 41-24485 Memphis Belle was rolled out of the restoration hangar at the National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, 13 years after it arrived there. It was briefly displayed nose-to-nose on the tarmac with B-17G 42-32076 Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby. The Memphis Belle nose art was covered over and will be revealed when the bomber is unveiled on the morning of 17 May, exactly 75 years after its crew, led by Capt Robert K.

News May 2018 Morgan, completed 25 sorties over occupied Europe; they were the first to return home to the USA after reaching that total. The bomber is currently inside Dayton’s World War Two Gallery, but away from public view.

The new display will tell the complete story of Memphis Belle, addressing many myths associated with this most famous of all AAF aircraft. Artefacts from seven of the crew members will be on display, including several wartime uniforms, a flight suit, combat boots, flying goggles, dog-tags, pilot’s wings and other rank insignia. Rare colour archival film footage — some of which has never been seen in public before — has been incorporated. Museum lead curator Jeff Duford says, “Many of these objects have not been in the same place together with the aircraft since 1943”. The wartime uniform worn by director William Wyler, who directed the original Memphis Belle film, will also be on show.

B-17G Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby is eventually due to go on display in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Udvar- Hazy Center at Dulles Airport, Washington, but after Memphis Belle goes on show it will be put into long-term storage at Dayton. It flew 24 combat missions from Bassingbourn with the 91st Bomb Group.

”The Memphis Belle nose art will be revealed on 17 May, 75 years after its crew completed 25 sorties over occupied Europe”