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WWII bomber Memphis Belle is lovingly restored and put on display

  • 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

By Associated Press and Iain Burns For Mailonline

Published: 11:38 EDT, 17 May 2018 | Updated: 12:00 EDT, 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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Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress,' at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. 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
Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress,' at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. 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

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress,' at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. 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 B-17 'Flying Fortress' known as Memphis Belle was introduced this morning as the anchor of an extensive exhibit in the Dayton-area museum's war gallery. The Memphis Belle was known for its risque nose paintings, which featured a pin-up girl (pictured), as well as its service record 
The B-17 'Flying Fortress' known as Memphis Belle was introduced this morning as the anchor of an extensive exhibit in the Dayton-area museum's war gallery. The Memphis Belle was known for its risque nose paintings, which featured a pin-up girl (pictured), as well as its service record 

The B-17 'Flying Fortress' known as Memphis Belle was introduced this morning as the anchor of an extensive exhibit in the Dayton-area museum's war gallery. The Memphis Belle was known for its risque nose paintings, which featured a pin-up girl (pictured), as well as its service record 

The plane was celebrated for being the first bomber to survive 25 missions over occupied Europe and return to the U.S in 1943. Pictured: A man wearing a Memphis Belle jacket attends the opening ceremony in Dayton, Ohio
The plane was celebrated for being the first bomber to survive 25 missions over occupied Europe and return to the U.S in 1943. Pictured: A man wearing a Memphis Belle jacket attends the opening ceremony in Dayton, Ohio

The plane was celebrated for being the first bomber to survive 25 missions over occupied Europe and return to the U.S in 1943. Pictured: A man wearing a Memphis Belle jacket attends the opening ceremony in Dayton, Ohio

Lt General Jacob Devers shakes hands with one of the crew of the Flying Fortress bomber Memphis Belle before she flew back to the US in 1943
Lt General Jacob Devers shakes hands with one of the crew of the Flying Fortress bomber Memphis Belle before she flew back to the US in 1943

Lt General Jacob Devers shakes hands with one of the crew of the Flying Fortress bomber Memphis Belle before she flew back to the US in 1943

The aircraft became symbolic of the U.S. air effort as Americans aided the British in pummeling German territory from above in mass bombing raids. Pictured: The nose of the plane, featuring risque art and heavy machine guns 
The aircraft became symbolic of the U.S. air effort as Americans aided the British in pummeling German territory from above in mass bombing raids. Pictured: The nose of the plane, featuring risque art and heavy machine guns 

The aircraft became symbolic of the U.S. air effort as Americans aided the British in pummeling German territory from above in mass bombing raids. Pictured: The nose of the plane, featuring risque art and heavy machine guns 

Robert K. Morgan, Jr., son of the Memphis Belle pilot of the same name, walks past the Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress' during a private viewing at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Robert K. Morgan, Jr., son of the Memphis Belle pilot of the same name, walks past the Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress' during a private viewing at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Robert K. Morgan, Jr., son of the Memphis Belle pilot of the same name, walks past the Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress' during a private viewing at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Veterans gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle as it goes on display for the first time. For years, it had been displayed outside in its namesake Tennessee city, deteriorating from weather and vandalism
Veterans gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle as it goes on display for the first time. For years, it had been displayed outside in its namesake Tennessee city, deteriorating from weather and vandalism

Veterans gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle as it goes on display for the first time. For years, it had been displayed outside in its namesake Tennessee city, deteriorating from weather and vandalism

The Memphis Bell flying back to the United States after completing its 25th mission over Germany during the Second World War in 1943
The Memphis Bell flying back to the United States after completing its 25th mission over Germany during the Second World War in 1943

The Memphis Bell flying back to the United States after completing its 25th mission over Germany during the Second World War in 1943

Visitors gather under open bomb-bay doors during a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress,' at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Visitors gather under open bomb-bay doors during a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress,' at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Visitors gather under open bomb-bay doors during a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress,' at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

The Wyler documentary made about the plane was primarily for the purpose of boosting morale and selling war bonds. Wyler, already a major director, went on to make many more Hollywood movies after the war, including Ben-Hur and Roman Holiday
The Wyler documentary made about the plane was primarily for the purpose of boosting morale and selling war bonds. Wyler, already a major director, went on to make many more Hollywood movies after the war, including Ben-Hur and Roman Holiday

The Wyler documentary made about the plane was primarily for the purpose of boosting morale and selling war bonds. Wyler, already a major director, went on to make many more Hollywood movies after the war, including Ben-Hur and Roman Holiday

A visitor looks at a photograph of the Memphis Belle crew in England after they completed their 25th mission bombing Germany 
A visitor looks at a photograph of the Memphis Belle crew in England after they completed their 25th mission bombing Germany 

A visitor looks at a photograph of the Memphis Belle crew in England after they completed their 25th mission bombing Germany 

The Memphis Belle crew after achieving their 25-mission feat. They are, left to right: Tech. Sgt. Harold P. Loch of Green Bay, Wis., top turret gunner; Staff Sgt. Cecil H. Scott of Altoona, Penn., ball turret gunner; Tech. Sgt. Robert J, Hanson of Walla Walla, Wash., radio operator; Capt. James A. Verinis, New Haven, Conn., co-pilot; Capt. Robert K. Morgan of Ashville, N. C., pilot; Capt. Charles B. Leighton of Lansing, Mich., navigator; Staff Sgt. John P. Quinlan of Yonkers, N. Y., tail gunner; Staff Sgt. Casimer A. Nastal of Detroit, Mich., waist gunner; Capt. Vincent B. Evans of Henderson, Texas, bombardier and Staff Sgt. Clarence E. Wichell of Oak Park, Ill., waist gunner
The Memphis Belle crew after achieving their 25-mission feat. They are, left to right: Tech. Sgt. Harold P. Loch of Green Bay, Wis., top turret gunner; Staff Sgt. Cecil H. Scott of Altoona, Penn., ball turret gunner; Tech. Sgt. Robert J, Hanson of Walla Walla, Wash., radio operator; Capt. James A. Verinis, New Haven, Conn., co-pilot; Capt. Robert K. Morgan of Ashville, N. C., pilot; Capt. Charles B. Leighton of Lansing, Mich., navigator; Staff Sgt. John P. Quinlan of Yonkers, N. Y., tail gunner; Staff Sgt. Casimer A. Nastal of Detroit, Mich., waist gunner; Capt. Vincent B. Evans of Henderson, Texas, bombardier and Staff Sgt. Clarence E. Wichell of Oak Park, Ill., waist gunner

The Memphis Belle crew after achieving their 25-mission feat. They are, left to right: Tech. Sgt. Harold P. Loch of Green Bay, Wis., top turret gunner; Staff Sgt. Cecil H. Scott of Altoona, Penn., ball turret gunner; Tech. Sgt. Robert J, Hanson of Walla Walla, Wash., radio operator; Capt. James A. Verinis, New Haven, Conn., co-pilot; Capt. Robert K. Morgan of Ashville, N. C., pilot; Capt. Charles B. Leighton of Lansing, Mich., navigator; Staff Sgt. John P. Quinlan of Yonkers, N. Y., tail gunner; Staff Sgt. Casimer A. Nastal of Detroit, Mich., waist gunner; Capt. Vincent B. Evans of Henderson, Texas, bombardier and Staff Sgt. Clarence E. Wichell of Oak Park, Ill., waist gunner

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress,' at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in Dayton, Ohio. The World War II bomber Memphis Belle is set to go on display for the first time since getting a yearslong restoration at the museum. The B-17 'Flying Fortress' will be introduced Thursday morning as the anchor of an extensive exhibit in the Dayton-area museum's World War II gallery. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in Dayton, Ohio. The World War II bomber Memphis Belle is set to go on display for the first time since getting a yearslong restoration at the museum. The B-17 "Flying Fortress" will be introduced Thursday morning as the anchor of an extensive exhibit in the Dayton-area museum's World War II gallery. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in Dayton, Ohio. The World War II bomber Memphis Belle is set to go on display for the first time since getting a yearslong restoration at the museum. The B-17 "Flying Fortress" will be introduced Thursday morning as the anchor of an extensive exhibit in the Dayton-area museum's World War II gallery. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress,' at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in Dayton, Ohio. The World War II bomber Memphis Belle is set to go on display for the first time since getting a yearslong restoration at the museum. The B-17 'Flying Fortress' will be introduced Thursday morning as the anchor of an extensive exhibit in the Dayton-area museum's World War II gallery. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

United States Air Force (Ret.) Col. Howard Hunt, center, meets with Memphis Belle fans during the private viewing of the Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress' at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force yesterday
United States Air Force (Ret.) Col. Howard Hunt, center, meets with Memphis Belle fans during the private viewing of the Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress' at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force yesterday

United States Air Force (Ret.) Col. Howard Hunt, center, meets with Memphis Belle fans during the private viewing of the Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress' at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force yesterday

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