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Gildwiller1918

Memphis Belle Pilot

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Most people have heard of the Memphis Belle, maybe not it's pilot so much, Robert Morgan. The Memphis Belle gained fame in WW2 by being the first US bomber in England to complete 25 missions and return the US. The Memphis Belle, a Boeing-built B-17F-10-BO, manufacturer's serial number 3470, USAAC (United States Army Air Corps) Serial No. 41-24485, was added to the USAAF inventory on 15 July 1942, and delivered in September 1942 to the 91st Bombardment Group at Dow Field, Bangor, Maine. She deployed to Prestwick, Scotland, on 30 September 1942, moving to a temporary base at RAF Kimbolton on 1 October, and then finally to her permanent base at RAF Bassingbourn, England, on 14 October. Each side of the fuselage bore the unit and aircraft identification markings of a B-17 of the 324th Bomb Squadron (Heavy); the squadron code "DF" and individual aircraft letter "A."

Morgans crew flew a total of 29 missions, however on 25 were flown in the Belle. in which they were credited with 8 enemy aircraft shot down. Upon the return to the US, the Belle and her crew embarked on a war bonds drive to help fund the war. Afterwards, Morgan, newly promoted to Major, went on to command the 869th Bomb Squadron in the Pacific Theater. He flew the B-29 name "Dauntless Dotty" named after his third wife Dorothy. On November 24, 1944, he led the first mission of the XXI Bomber Command to bomb Japan, 110 aircraft of the 73rd Bomb Wing to Tokyo, with wing commander Brigadier General Emmett O'Donnell, Jr. as co-pilot. He completed 26 missions over Japan until being sent home on April 24, 1945. Interestingly enough, after handing over the B-29 to a new crew, the "Dotty" crashed 40 seconds after take off, slamming into the ocean, killing 10 of its 13 crew. The three that survived were thrown from the craft upon impact and spent nearly an hour in the water before being rescued. 

After the war, Morgan continued to fly in the Air Force Reserves, and eventually retired a full Colonel in 1965. At least 10 US aircraft have since carried the name "Memphis Belle" or some derivative. After spending decades sitting outside, the Belle was starting to deteriorate, however in 2003 was disassembled and taken to a storage facility to begin its long restoration. In May of 2017, work was completed and the plane was put on display at various museums. It now resides at the US Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio. 

Robert Morgan also wrote an autobiography of his exoperices, it is very honest and brutal, but a very good read. It is titled: The Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle: Memoir of a WWII Bomber Pilot. Below is an autograph I got when I met him at a military show in Dallas Texas in the mid 1990's.

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That was the difference to the German side of the story. The Americans could be withdrawn after the said 25 missions etc. On the German side it was different, you had to fly or fight till you fell, there were also no more replacements coming from home.

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Yes, of course the number of mission required to go home only increased as the war dragged on. Unfortunately for the Germans numbers and raw materials were not in their side. 

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