Memphis Belle is saved from the scrapheap: Legendary WWII bomber that survived 25 missions over occupied Europe is lovingly restored and put on display

Thursday, May 17, 2018
By Paul Martin

B-17 ‘Flying Fortress’ known as Memphis Belle is introduced this morning at National Museum of USAF in Ohio
Plane was celebrated for being first bomber to survive 25 missions over Europe before returning to US in 1943
It had been kept in Memphis, Tennessee for years but had been subject to vandalism before being refurbished

17 May 2018

A legendary Second World War bomber is set to go on display for the first time after being restored at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Ohio.

The B-17 ‘Flying Fortress’ known as Memphis Belle was introduced as the anchor of an extensive exhibit in the Dayton-area museum’s war gallery.

The Memphis Belle has spent the last dozen years or so undergoing a piece-by-piece rehabilitation, from the clear plastic nose cone down to the twin .50-caliber machine guns mounted in the tail.

The plane was celebrated for being the first bomber to survive 25 missions over occupied Europe and return to the U.S in 1943.

It was the subject of a 1944 documentary directed by William Wyler, wherein its final mission over northern Germany was charted.

For years, it had been displayed outside in its namesake Tennessee city, deteriorating from weather and vandalism.

It became symbolic of the U.S. air effort as Americans aided the British in pummeling German territory from above in mass bombing raids.

The Memphis Belle was also known for its risque nose paintings, which featured a pin-up girl.

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