One aircraft perhaps more than any other came to symbolise the American Eighth Air Force’s campaign in Europe during World Wwar 2 - the Memphis Belle. Skippered by Captain Bob Morgan, she was the first B-17 in the 91st Bomb group to complete the prescribed tour of 25 missions, and returned home to the United States with a crew which had been decorated 51 times.
Between 1st November and 17th May 1942/3, Bob Morgan and his crew hit targets in Germany, France and Belgium. Running the gauntlet of the aggressive enemy fighters, they flew against the Focke-Wulf plant at Bremen, the locks at St. Nazaire and Brest, docks and ship building installations at Wilhemshaven, railway yards at Rouen, submarine pens and power houses at Lorient, and aircraft works at Antwerp. They took all the flak that the A.A. batteries could throw up at them and fought running aerial battles with Me109s, but, with a ration of luck and unrelenting teamwork, they always got their ship home.
After 25 missions the Memphis Belle had flown 150 hours of combat and shot down eight enemy fighters, possibly got five others, and damaged at least a dozen more. Their story is but one of thousand that could be told of the deeds of this noble aircraft and the gallant crews who flew them.
In 1988, Cathy Wyler, daughter if the great Hollywood director, William Wyler, together with film producer David Puttnam invited Robert Taylor to visit the filming of the new Warner Brothers new film ‘The Memphis Belle’. Roberts outstanding new painting is the result of that visit and depicts this famous aircraft returning from one of her early missions over occupied Europe on late autumn day back in 1942. Set in the ‘Constable-like’ countryside of Cambridgeshire, this magnificent aviation painting conveys all the atmosphere of the period, portraying an engaging view of the mighty Memphis Belle on final approach to her base at Bassingbourne.