Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery with the crew of his specially outfitted B-17E the "Theresa Leta". His pilot, then Capt. Richard E. Evans, is the man standing to the far right of the photograph. Taken June 23, 1943 by 2nd Lt. Wesley Hudson, photographer USAAC
General Bernard Montgomery inspects the American crew of his B-17 Flying Fortress "Theresa Leta" in June 1943.
Major General Bedell Smith, General Eisenhower's Chief of Staff, bet that British forces would not capture Sfax by 15 April 1943. Montgomery won the wager when Sfax fell on 10 April, and was assigned a B-17 Flying Fortress and its crew to use as his personal transport as a result.
Richard E. Evans grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee. He started his flying career graduating from the Primary Flying School, Love Field, March 21, 1940, Class of 40-E. He continued his flight training, transferred to Flight #8 Advanced Training Squadron II, Advanced Training Group 1, South Eastern Training Center, Maxwell Field, Montgomery, AL. He was a navigation and pilot instructor until finally his request for overseas transfer was confirmed. He was transferred with Col. Fay Upthegrove and the 306th Bomb Wing (99nth BG) to N. Africa. The 99nth BG departed West Palm Beach, FL on January 20, 1943. He piloted many B-17s over N. Africa, Sicily, Italy and German occupied territories for 50 missions. Between April 1943 and about Aug 5, 1943 he was Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery's pilot. The B-17 E "Theresa Leta" was given to Montgomery to travel between his staff and army.
After the 50 or so bomb runs, Richard was transferred to the states to take pilot training for the B-29. He flew his B-29 to Tinian March, 1945.
Richard retired to the Air Force reserves months after the Japanese surrendered only to be asked to fly again when the Korean war began. He continued in the Air Force flying the B-47, B-52, and he became the B-58 Test Squadron Commander. Richard retired in 1959 from the Air Force. He passed away June 13, 2006.
Before he died Richard wrote 21 chapters with humor and humility about his experiences flying the B-17 throughout the N. African/Sicilian/Italian campaign, his relationship with"Monty", his stories about growing up in Tennessee and early USAAC flight training.
Maybe it will be published. I am very grateful for the information that is being gathered by the AAM.
B-17 Flying Fortress
Delivered Denver 18/2/43; Gt Falls 20/2/43; Salinas 18/3/43; Morrison 29/3/43; Assigned 341BS/97BG Chateau-du-Rhumel 16/4/43; Pont-du-Fahs 1/8/43; Depienne 15/8/43; transferred 346BS/99BG Oudna 14/11/43; Tortorella 11/12/43; 483BG Tortorella 31/3/44;...
B-17 Flying Fortress
Delivered Denver 13/1/44; Lakeland 1/2/44; Morrison 9/2/44; Assigned 815BS/483BG Tortorella 30/3/44; transferred 346BS/99BG Tortorella 31/3/44, then 429BS; 41m two killed and 8 RTD when ship skidded on airfield PSP into railway embankment and broke up...