The Memphis Belle In Boston – 1943
On June 28, 1943, the famous World War II, B-17, Memphis Belle, escorted by a squadron of Army fighter aircraft, arrived at East Boston Airport. The “Belle” and her crew had only recently returned to the United States on June 8th after completing their combat tour in Europe. The stop in Boston was part of a 31-city war bond and recruitment tour.
Hundreds reportedly came to see the famous B-17 and meet the crew, as well as their mascot, “Stuka”, a young Scotch Terrier.
The 10 man crew was greeted by Massachusetts Governor Leverett Saltonstall, Major General Sherman Miles of the 1st Service Command, as well as other ranking military personnel. After brief ceremonies, the crew partook in a parade from the airport to Boston Common where they were met by Boston’s mayor Maurice J. Tobin. The marching band played “Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer”, which was said to have been inspired by a mission flown by the Memphis Belle in which it returned to base with portions of the right wing and tail so badly damaged that they required extensive repair.
Later in the day army planes performed an aerobatic show at the airport and the “Belle” was placed on display for public viewing. Afterwards the crew were invited by the New England Aviation Committee to be their dinners guests at the Harvard Club.
The Memphis Belle was credited with dropping 60 tons of bombs and shooting down eight enemy fighters, and inflicting damage to at least a dozen others.
Source: Lewiston Evening Journal, “Memphis Belle Arrives At East Boston”, June 28, 1943