Memphis Belle

Col. Robert “Bob” Morgan

Pilot of the famous “Memphis Belle”

Artwork and research is by;

Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette

I have three different prints of the Memphis Belle below so enjoy and order your print at your convenience.

This is the first print of the Belle I published.

0e Belle 1 1995

“Memphis Belle”  B-17F

There are 950 Limited Edition Prints in this series. Print size 18×24″

All prints are autographed by Robert Morgan.

All signatures by both the Aviator and the Artist is done in soft graphic pencil.

Price $95.00

Buy Now With Credit Cards

Postage $8.00 any where in the world.

A.P._B-17_D_painting_print.jpgThis is the original painting of the Memphis Belle.

This is the second print of the Belle I published.

31 Bell 2 1999

B-17F “Memphis Belle”

Print size 12×18″

There are 750 Limited Edition Prints in this series. Print size 12×18″.

Buy Now With Credit Cards

Signed by Robert Morgan. $75.00

All signatures by both the Aviator and the Artist is done in soft graphic pencil.

Postage $7.00 any where in the world.

All Limited Edition prints are signed by the late Robert Morgan.

A.P._B-17_F_Bell_2

The painting above is the artwork the print was published from.

This is the third print of the Belle I have published.

This print was published as a poster print only.

53 Belle 3 2006

B-17F “Memphis Belle”

Print size 12×18″. Poster Only. Not autographed.

Buy Now With Credit Cards

Poster Print $14.95

Shipping is only $6.00 anywhere in the world.

Colonel Robert K. Morgan

USAFR/RET, PILOT B-17 MEMPHIS BELLE

Research by Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette

Photo_Morgan_portrit

Robert K. Morgan was born in Ashville North Carolina on July 31, 1918. He attended the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Finance. During his studies at collage, Morgan saw that America would be pulled into the war in Europe. In January 1941 Robert joined the Army Air Corp and completed three months of Primary Flight training at Camden South Carolina.

Basic training was completed at Bush Field Augusta, Georgia and advanced training was at Barksdale Field, Shreveport, Louisiana. Five days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Morgan received his Wings and Second Lieutenant Bars. B-17 training was completed at McDill Field, Tampa, Florida, where he was assigned to the 91st Bomb Group, 324th Squadron. Additional B-17 training was conducted in Walla Walla Washington. This is where Bob met Margaret Polk of Memphis, Tennessee. Morgan would name his B-17 for Margaret, “The Memphis Belle”. In September 1942 Morgan and his crew were assigned their new B-17-F at Dow Field, Bangor, Maine.

The aircrew trained to work together as a team to ensure their survival in the skies over Europe. Each B-17 was equipped with 10 fifty caliber machine guns. The group practiced flying in very tight formation which would give the greatest protection against the German fighters.

In October 1942, the Memphis Belle was flown across the North Atlantic. Once in England they became part of the Eighth Air Force were stationed at Bassingbourn. During November and December 1942, the allied bombers were suffering losses as high as 82% in some of the groups. In an effort to keep the pilots from refusing to fly because of the staggering causalities the Army Air Corp decided to limit the number of combat missions for the crew members to twenty five.

On May 17, 1943 the Belle’s crew became the first bomber to complete their twenty five combat missions and were sent home. They had flown 148 hours and fifty minutes and covered more than 20,000 combat miles. Morgan and his crew dropped more than 60 tons of bombs over heavily defended targets in France, Germany, and Belgium.

On many occasions Morgan and his crew flew the Belle back from their missions badly damaged by enemy fire. On five occasions they had engines shot out. On one mission their aircraft’s tail was almost torn off. On another mission they lost a large section of their right wing. The crew of the Belle were credited with eight enemy fighters destroyed, five probable, and damaged a dozen more. Only tail gunner John Quinlan was slightly injured during combat.

The 26th mission of the Belle was to fly the war-torn Fortress home to America on a Public Relations Tour. They landed at 30 cities across America in a ‘thank you’ for the support the military received form the citizens. In every city the Belle and her crew received a heroes welcome.

The crew members who returned with the Belle to the states were Captain Robert Morgan, co-pilot Captain James Verinis, Navigator Captain Charles Leighton, and bombardier Captain Vincent Evans. The enlisted men were radio operator Tech Sergeant Robert Hanson, flight Engineer and top turret operator Tech Sergeant Harold Loch, waist gunners Sergeant Casmir Nastal and Sergeant Bill Winchell. The bottom ball turret gunner was Sergeant Cecil Scott and tail gunner Sergeant Johnny Quinlan.

Morgan then requested an assignment to the Pacific War where he flew 25 missions in a new Boeing B-29. Flying as the Squadron Commander for the 869th Bomb Group, on November 24, 1944, Bob led the first raid over Tokyo since Jimmy Dollittle historic raid in 1942. Morgan left the service in 1965 receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters and the Air Medal with one silver and four bronze Oak Leaf Clusters.

A.P._B-17_C_Bell

Squadron_Red_Bell_s           Squadron_Blue_Bell_s

Right Side                                  Left Side

On the right side of the Belle the girl wore a red out fit and on the left side under the pilot the girl wore blue. I asked Robert why the girls were painted differently and he told me that he asked for a modest but sexy picture of his girl friend in the “pin up” style on both sides of the bomber and that was all. He had no idea why the ground personal who painted the girls for him did them differently.

When I did the first Belle print I had painted the girl under the pilot in red because the only color photo I had of the bomber was a photo of the co-pilot side. In that photo the girl was painted in red. I assumed that it would be red on the pilot side also. Even though Morgan saw my painting and approved it as being accurate. I was caught off guard when I had the prints published and was with Morgan and we were signing the prints. We were both signing the prints when he said to me that he remembered the two girls being painted differently which made the print incorrect. I almost fell out of my chair but it was too late. It cost me thousands to have the print published and I could not afford to redo it. Some have brought this to my attention when they see my print, but that didn’t keep them from buying one.

In my second release of the Belle I did paint the bathing suit correctly. Sadly Robert Morgan passed away in 2004. He was a great guy and his wife Linda is a delightful woman.

pilot_Morgan_photo_B-17_red_belle

Here is proof that the Belle on the pilot side was painted red at least for a period of time.

I do not own the book with the photo above. I was at another person’s home and they owned this book. I used my camera to photograph this photograph showing the Belle in red. This is what I showed Robert Morgan. He agreed that the photo was correct.

Then after I painted the painting and published the print, Robert pointed out that the Belle should have been blue under his cockpit.

There were photo’s showing the Belle in a blue bathing suit as well. BUT at first it was RED! Above is the proof. Bob finally agreed that he remembered that the girl was both red and blue. He did not know why. The ground crew took care of that stuff, he told me. But Bob thinks that it could have been re-painted because of damage.

At the end of the tour when the Belle was drawing attention as the possible B-17 that would fly 25 missions someone painted the girl up to make her look better in photos. And instead of painting the suit red, someone changed it to blue. So the above photo is correct but the suit color was changed somewhere along the line.

Look carefully at the photo below. You will see that the girl’s right arm is missing from the photo above so something happened causing a repaint.

Photo_Bell_Crew_2

Memphis Bell Crew

Photo_Belle_Crew_3

In the photo above on the left side, the girl’s right arm is missing like the photo above on the right side of the bomber. After much consideration, after the Belle finished it’s missions and was sent back to the states, the NEW Bell’s were painted on when they touched up the bomber for the American War Bond tour.

photo_Belle_inflight

Memphis Belle in Flight. Note the new panels on the tail where the bomber was damaged in combat. Also look at the dark green patches that have been applied over the “olive drab.” The green patches look like they were applied with a mop and not with a spray gun. This is important. Next time I do a model of the Belle I will apply the patches with a feathered paint brush and not with the airbrush.

Photo_Morgan_Boyette_Dotty

Photo of Morgan and Artist