Picked this up from one of the internet news services a couple of days
October 5, 2005
R. Hanson, Part Of Memphis Belle Crew
By Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Robert Hanson, the last surviving crew member of
the B-17 Memphis Belle that flew bombing missions over Europe during
World War II, died Saturday of congestive heart illness. He was 85 and
had suffered from heart problems, family members said.
Hanson was the radio operator on the Memphis Belle, which flew 25
combat missions over Germany and France, escaping some close calls.
Hanson told his family stories about a chase involving several German
planes, the bomber's tail being shot off and a nose dive that left the
crew wondering whether they should use their parachutes.
Hanson, who was from Walla Walla, Wash., joined the military in 1941
and was assigned to the Belle, which flew to England in September 1942
and departed on its first mission in November. Army records show the
plane flew 148 hours and dropped more than 60 tons of bombs. Hanson
and the crew flew their last mission on May 17, 1943.
He then worked as a salesman for Nalley Fine Foods in Walla Walla and
became a regional manager. Later he worked for a candy company in
The adventures of the Belle were recounted in a 1990 film, "Memphis
Belle," that fictionalized the bomber's final mission.
16 years ago