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The Robert K. Morgan Crew
The Memphis Belle and her crew.
AIRCRAFT: Boeing B-17F-10-BO Flying Fortress, SN: #41-24485, DF*A "MEMPHIS BELLE"
UNIT: 324th Bomb. Sq. (H), 91st Bomb. Gp. (H), 1st Combat Wing, 1st Air Division, 8th AF, ETO
The "MEMPHIS BELLE" was the first aircraft in the VIII Bomber Command to complete its combat tour of 25 missions plus return safely to the USA. A number of VIII BC aircraft completed their tours before the "BELLE" but never reached the USA ZI for a number of reasons. The "MEMPHIS BELLE's" last mission was flown on May 20, 1943 to Wilhelmshaven, Germany where submarine and harbor facilities were bombed. The "MEMPHIS BELLE" and her crew left England for the USA ZI on June 9, 1943 to make a War Bond and Public Relations Tour. The "MEMPHIS BELLE" was named for pilot Capt. Robert Morgan's sweetheart, Miss Margaret Polk - She remained an honorary member and helped to raise funding for The Memphis Belle Association until she passed away in 1990. The preserved "MEMPHIS BELLE" remains on display at Mud Island in Memphis, Tennessee.
An AAF combat film crew including film-maker William Wyler and 8th AF PRO Capt. "Tex" McCrary were around and aboard 91st BG (H) aircraft for several of their missions including the "MEMPHIS BELLE's" 25th. Wyler's documentary movie "Saga of the MEMPHIS BELLE" was theatrically released for the American public in 1944. A dramatization based on the original documentary was produced and released to theatres in 1990 as "The Memphis Belle".
| Robert K. Morgan
James A. Verinis
Charles B. Leighton
Leviticus 'Levy' Dillon
Harold P. Loch
E. Scott Miller
Casimer A. 'Tony' Nastal
Clarence E. 'Bill' Winchell
John P. Quinlan
| Asheville, NC
Johnson City, TN
Green Bay, WI
Apache Junction, AZ
|Also 869th BS, first B-29 raid
Pilot of "The Connecticut Yankee"
To PTO, 2nd tour with Morgan in B-29s.
Missions #1~#3 and #5. To 306th BG.
Missions #4 and #6~#10.
Kept and retained a mission log book.
1 E/A damaged.
Missed PR Tour.
60 Combat Missions in 2+ Combat Tours.
Kept mission diary. 1 E/A destroyed.
To CBI. Gunner "Ace", 5 E/A destroyed.
|| Joe Giambrone
|| Hulneville, Pennsylvania
PILOT: Robert K. Morgan was reassigned to the Pacific Theater following his combat tour in Europe and PR tour in the USA. Lt. Col. Morgan commanded the 869th Bombardment Squadron and flew the Boeing B-29 Superfortress "Dauntless Dottie" on the very first B-29 raid over Tokyo. Morgan completed 25 combat missions in B-29s by the end of the World War II. Retired from the USAF with the rank of Colonel.
CO-PILOT: James A. Verinis from Woodbridge, Connecticut also piloted the B-17 "The Connecticut Yankee". Retired from the USAF with the rank of Lt. Colonel.
NAVIGATOR: Charles B. Leighton from Flint, Michigan eventually retired to become a teacher and guidance counselor before he passed away in 1991.
BOMBADIER: Vince Evans was Hollywood writer, a restaurant operator and race car driver. He completed a second tour of duty aboard B-29s with Bob Morgan in the Pacific. Evans passed away in 1980.
ENGINEER/TOP TURRET GUNNER #1: Leviticus "Levy" Dillon transferred to the 306th BG after he crewed Missions #1, #2, #3, & #5 aboard the "MEMPHIS BELLE". He was wounded on Mission #3 though he never reported the injury and consequently there is no official record. Dillon retired to Providence Forge, Virginia.
ENGINEER/TOP TURRET GUNNER #2: Eugene Adkins from Johnson City, Tennessee flew on the Mission #4 and Missions #6 ~ #10 when he suffered severe frostbite. He was a Gunnery Specialist on B-17s, B-29s, B-36s, and B-50s. Retired from the USAF with the rank of Major. Adkins passed away in 1995.
ENGINEER/TOP TURRET GUNNER #3: Harold P. Loch from Green Bay, Wisconsin eventually retired as a building contractor and records registrar.
RADIO OPERATOR/GUNNER: Robert Hanson became a regular member of the crew during their training at Walla Walla, Washington in 1941. He kept a log book of the "MEMPHIS BELLE" missions. He eventually retired from business to Mesa, Arizona.
BALL TURRET GUNNER: Cecil Scott from Arapahoe, North Carolina acquired one "Damaged" enemy aircraft credit as a gunner aboard the "MEMPHIS BELLE". Scott retired after 30 years with the Ford Motor Company. He passed away in 1979.
RIGHT WAIST GUNNER #1: E. Scott Miller from Kingwood, West Virginia flew 15 missions with the "BELLE". but missed the PR tour because he hadn't completed a full tour of 25 missions at the time. Miller passed away in 1995.
RIGHT WAIST GUNNER #2: Casimer A. "Tony" Nastal from Apache Junction, Arizona flew one mission on the "MEMPHIS BELLE" but qualified for the PR tour with his 24 other combat missions on other Flying Forts. After the PR tour, Nastal returned to the ETO and completed a total of 60 combat missions.
LEFT WAIST GUNNER: Clarence E. "Bill" Winchell downed the eighth and final German fighter from the guns of the "MEMPHIS BELLE. His diaries provide most of the accurate accounts of the missions. Winchell retired as a chemical engineer and passed away in 1994.
TAIL GUNNER: John P. Quinlan was the only officially wounded crew member of the "MEMPHIS BELLE". After the PR tour, he tried unsuccessfully to fly again with Robert Morgan in the Pacific Theatre. Quinlan was eventually assigned to the CBI Theatre and downed 3 Zeros, to become a "gunner Ace" before his B-29 was shot down. He had already shot down 2 German fighters from the "BELLE". Quinlan eventually retired to Stephentown, New York.
CREW CHIEF: Joe Giambrone came from Hulneville, Pennsylvania and saw
to the the replacement of nine engines, both wings, two tails, both main
landing gear and more to keep the "BELLE" in top form. Giambrone
retired as a Construction Company Office Manager in 1992.
|1||Brest, France||November 7, 1942||U-Boat Pens|
|2||St. Nazaire, France||November 9, 1942||U-Boat Pens|
|3||St. Nazaire, France||November 17, 1942||U-Boat Pens|
|4||Lille, France||December 6, 1942||Marshalling Yards|
|5||Rommily-Sur-Seine, France||December 20, 1942||German Aircraft Depot|
|6||St. Nazaire, France||January 1, 1943||U-Boat Pens|
|7||Lille, France||January 13, 1943||Marshalling Yards|
|8||Lorient, France||January 23, 1943||U-Boat Pens|
|9||Emden, Germany||February 4, 1943||War Plant (Ford Factory)|
|10||Hamm, Germany||February 14, 1943||Marshalling Yards|
|11||St. Nazaire, France||February 16, 1943||U-Boat Pens|
|12||Wilhelmshaven, Germany||February 26, 1943||Sea Port|
|13||Brest, France||February 29, 1943||U-Boat Pens|
|14||Lorient, France||March 6, 1943||U-Boat Pens|
|15||Roven, France||March 12, 1943||Marshalling Yards|
|16||Abbeville, France||March 13, 1943||German Fighters|
|17||Wilhelmshaven, Germany||March 22, 1943||Sea Port|
|18||Roven, France||March 28, 1943||Marshalling Yards|
|19||Antwerp, Belgium||April 5, 1943||War Plants|
|20||Lorient, France||April 16, 1943||U-Boat Pens|
|21||Bremen, Germany||April 17, 1943||W ar Plant (Focke-Wulf Factory)|
|22||St. Nazaire, France||May 1, 1943||U-Boat Pens|
|23||Antwerp, Belgium||May 4, 1943||War Plants|
|24||Lorient, France||May 15, 1943||U-Boat Pens|
|25||Wilhelmshaven, Germany||May 17, 1943||Sea Port|
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