Today, the "Memphis Belle" is being restored at the Wright-Patterson AFB, in the USA. Declared by the US Air Force as a 'national treasure' the 'Belle' will never fly again, but will be restored to her former glory for people to see. And though she will never be seen in the skies over England ever again, her spiritual home and where her history was made, will always be on the runways and perry track of Bassingbourn.
Later on 1943 the Memphis Belle and her crew would complete their 26th and final mission; to fly the "Belle" home and embark upon a 76-day war bond tour of the USA, encouraging the people of America to buy War Bonds and support the continued efforts of the American Military.
The B17 Flying Fortress the 'Memphis Belle' (Serial No. 41-24485) arrived Bassingbourn on the Oct 14 1942.
Named the 'Memphis Belle' by her Pilot Capt. Robert Morgan, after his sweetheart back at home, she flew her first mission on Nov 07 1942 to Brest in France and would safely carry her crew, deliver their bomb load and return home again, a further 25 times, completing the 25th mission on May 17 1943.
Throughout her war-time service, the 'Belle' was bullet-ridden, flak damaged, on five separate occassions had her engines shot out, and once returned to Bassingbourn with her tail almost shot off; but not one member of her crew sustained any major injuries.
In late 1942 - early 1943 Hollywood film Director, William Wyler came to Bassingbourn, and made a combat documentary called 'MEMPHIS BELLE'; it was said that this film helped to keep America in the war.
Bassingbourn was home to one of
the most famous
of World War II, the . . .
the "memphis belle"