"The Belle Under Attack", by Simon Atack, 2002


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The Memphis Belle is arguably the most renowned Boeing B-17 heavy bomber of World War II; her story was splashed across the headlines of the times, and more recently, memorialized by Hollywood in a film of the same name. She was the first American bomber and crew to complete a full, 25 mission tour of duty in the European Theater. It is sobering to contemplate that Belle's achievement came nearly a year and a half after the commencement of the American air offensive from England. Her accomplishment proved to an anxious public and a demoralized air staff that a qualified (and lucky) aircrew could complete their assignment and live to tell the tale. The Belle and her crew flew back to the U.S. for an extensive publicity and fund-raising tour. After the war, in 1945 she was sent to an aircraft boneyard, awaiting the scrappers torch. She was rescued by the city of Memphis, Tennessee, and is now housed in the U.S. Air Force Museum. She has been allotted status of National Treasure by the U.S. government. Simon Atack has chosen the raid on Romilly-Sur-Seine, Dec. 20,1942, to depict the conditions in which the Belle fought and flew. Behind and above her flies the huge bomber stream which was used to great effect against German targets, while a pair of Luftwaffe Focke Wulf FW190s streak through the formation searching for a victim. This is a very special remarqued print, where the artist has added a unique pencil drawing of the Belle in the margin, which commemorates touchdown after the 25th mission. This ultra-rare artwork is #2 in a worldwide edition of only 25! It is signed in pencil by the artist and Colonel Bob Morgan, legendary pilot of the Memphis Belle. This edition is long sold out and unavailable. Beautifully framed in deep mahogany and gilt-wood frame. 35 x 28 Print size: 27 x 19. Accompanied by certificate of authenticity from the Military Gallery, Bath, England.

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