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No American or East Anglian can think seriously about B-17's today without feeling the tug of their great purpose and destiny. They were the two-fisted tin cans that tore the roof off a deranged empire. When they swarmed over occupied Europe, people blessed them. One day, when several hundred of them roared across Holland, a little girl cried out in fear. Her father put his arm around her, took her hand, and looked up. "Listen to it, Helene," he told her. "It's the music of angels."

One Last Look by Rex Alan Smith.


The Memphis Belle Moves to the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH.

Photo courtesy the WPAFB web site.

On October 12, 2005, the Memphis Belle arrived at the Wright-Patterson AFB Area B restoration hanger. She is now sitting there awaiting the beginning of her final restoration.

The Air Force had required that the Memphis Belle Memorial Association have an independent feasibility study done. That study was done in March, 2005 and concluded that there was little chance for necessary monies to be raised by the citizens of Memphis necessary to build a permanent museum and restore the aircraft. In August, the board of the MBMA relinquished control of the aircraft to the USAF, and in October she was moved.

From the WPAFB web site:

"The B-17F "Memphis Belle," the Eighth Air Force's first heavy bomber to complete 25 successful bombing missions over Europe and return to the United States, has been moved to National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, under the terms of an agreement between the Memphis Belle Memorial Association and the U.S. Air Force.

"The aircraft, which is currently in the Museum's Restoration hangar in Area B of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is being prepared to undergo several years of restoration work.

"Once restoration on the aircraft begins, the public will be invited to view it as part of the Museum's 'Behind the Scenes' tours. Please check the website again for future announcements and updates about these tours."

In a statement released by Jim Harris, membership director for the Memphis Belle Memorial Association, Mr. Harris made reference to the restoration folks at Dayton:

"They are saying from five to ten years for the restoration. They are going to totally restore her, and they will do a good job. They have some talented folks there.

"It would behoove us all to keep track and put pressure on Dayton not to delay. Also, the MBMA board voted to stay in 'business' and keep their web site going."

For more information please see the following links:

WPAFB web site
The official web site of the Memphis Belle
Linda Morgan, wife the Belle's pilot, Bob Morgan, Memphis Belle website


 

Attention B-17 Veteran's and their Families!

We need your help! This site is dedicated to preserving the stories of B-17 crewmembers and we need your contribution. Please take a few moments to tell us about you or your family member's experience with the B-17. Just click here to add your information to our Veteran's section.

To see our Veteran's page and find out what it is all about, click here.


Page Updated 09/18/06

 

 

 

They came from all over the United States. From big cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and they came from hundreds of small towns from Maine to Kentucky to the Dakotas. Young men in their late teens to early twenty's, bonded together for a common cause. It wasn't patriotism, it wasn't for glory, it wasn't to fight an evil dictator across the pond or across the Pacific. It was to fight for the guy who stood beside them. It was to fight because it was their responsibility. Sure some flew for the ideals of love of country, but once they got "over there", it was about not letting your buddies down.

Thousands of these young men rode to war in what has become perhaps the single most romanticized piece of machinery ever to roll off production lines in Washington and California. You will never hear of the tanker talking about his love for the Sherman, the Naval man about the admiration of his Sub or even the Marine about the affection for his carbine but talk to the crewman of a B-17 and they speak of her as one would speak of their first true love.

The Queen was well deserving of such admiration. Time and again she won the hearts of those who flew her by displaying a ruggedness that bordered on human will power. Three engines out, holes all over her body, control surfaces shot away, pieces of her scattered across Europe, and still she brought her boys home. If the crews loved her, those who flew against her had a profound respect for her as well. She was no easy target, no sitting duck. Try to harm her and those boys she carried could swat the aggressor out of the sky in a flash. Other aircraft would come along that could do the job faster, further, with a greater load but none could do it better in the skies over Europe than she could.

The story of the Flying Fortress is one that cannot be told with just cold, hard facts like dates, names, places and events. This is a story that has been told, must continue to be told, by the men who lived it. The stories of courage, bravery, and perhaps more than any other, of outright, unbridled, fear. Here, on these pages, it is hoped that some of these stories will come to life and be preserved for all to share. For if we choose to forget the horrors that war brings, war will once again become a most viable option in times of unrest rather than a measure of last resort.


A message from the Author:

This site is dedicated to those who flew in the hostile skies around the world during the Second World War in the B-17 Flying Fortress. Many men fought, and died, protecting the freedoms that we hold dear today. Unfortunately, those that survived the war are growing fewer in number with each passing year and with them are going their stories of survival. This site, and those that are linked from this site, are an attempt to preserve those stories so that they may be passed on to our children, grandchildren and, hopefully, to their grandchildren as well. To the Veterans who fought and to their families, I wish to express my deepest gratitude.

Troy Lyman
Webmaster

 

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