Authors dispel myths over Memphis Belle

A NEW book looking at the myths surrounding the Memphis Belle has been launched at Bassingbourn Barracks, the aircraft s spiritual home . Authors Graham Simons and Dr. Harry Friedman have spent 30 years researching the aircraft s history. The result of

A NEW book looking at the myths surrounding the Memphis Belle has been launched at Bassingbourn Barracks, the aircraft's "spiritual home".

Authors Graham Simons and Dr. Harry Friedman have spent 30 years researching the aircraft's history.

The result of their endeavours is Memphis Belle - Dispelling the Myths.

Chris Murphy, curator of the Bassingbourn Tower Museum, said at the launch event: "I've known Graham Simons for some time, and he got in touch with me to ask if we would allow the launch to happen here.


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"I read a draft of the book and was more than happy to help out.

"It means so much more to have the launch here rather than somewhere like the Imperial War Museum because Bassingbourn is very much the Memphis Belle's spiritual home.

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"The book is another welcome addition to the ever-evolving history of the Memphis Belle," he said.

To help celebrate the launch, the Ghost Squadron re-enactment team were on hand, dressed in authentic Second World War crew uniforms, and driving an air force Jeep.

"The Ghost Squadron dress up in costume for events, and have been used for TV shows and films before," said Mr Murphy.

"I worked with them before, and thought it would be good to have them at the launch.

"The way all 10 of them jumped on the Jeep at once was exactly how the crews would have done it during the war prior to a mission," he said.

The Memphis Belle is a B17-F Flying Fortress, which came to Bassingbourn in October 1942.

It was the first aircraft to fly 25 combat missions, and inspired two films, the 1944 documentary by Hollywood director William Wyler documentary Memphis Belle: The Story of a Flying Fortress, and the 1990 movie Memphis Belle.

Mr Simons said: "We've been writing the book for the last three years.

"We've taken all the legends and lies that have been written about the Memphis Belle and tried to get to the truth about this important aircraft.

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