Flying Officer John Bell  -  12 Squadron  
   

Flying Officer John Bell (DFC) - RAFVR

 

 Flying Officer John "Dinger" Bell was serving as Rear Gunner on board  Lancaster Mk.I LM230 coded PH-A  during an operation to Kiel on August 26/27, 1944. The aircraft left Wickenby at 2009hrs and failed to return, the aircraft and crew were lost without a trace.

The crew consisted of:

Name

Service

Trade

Hometown

Age

F/L Charles Taylor

RNZAF

Pilot

Auckland, New Zealand

24

Sgt Donald Neale

RAFVR

Flight Engineer

Bedford

19

F/L Bernard Hughes

RAFVR

Navigator

Hove, Sussex

33

Sgt Dennis Webb

RAFVR

Bomb Aimer

Croxley Green,Herts.

-

F/O Stanley Greengrass

RAFVR

W/Op/AG

Blaby,Leicester

-

Sgt John Overee

RAFVR

Air Gunner

Dagenham,Essex

23

F/O John Bell RAFVR - DFC

RAFVR

Air Gunner

Moseley, Birmingham

24

 

Flying Officer John "Dinger" Bell,DFC,RAFVr (51820) was the son of Stafford & Margaret bell. Aged 24,he married Cecilia Florence of 2 Prospect Road,Moseley,Birmingham in 1944 He was known as a real character, noisy,cheerful and lived life to the fullest. He was awarded his DFC while attached to 102 squadron on 19th  of October 1943.Awarded as per London Gazette dated 19th of October 1943.

The citation reads:

"Pilot Officer Bell, as air gunner, has completed numerous operational sorties, many of them involving attacks on distant and dangerous targets in enemy territory. This officer has invariably maintained a cool and imperturbable demeanor, whatever the nature of the emergency which may confront him. He is an outstanding air gunner who has always displayed high courage and determination".

Dinger was father to a daughter, Cecilia M Bell, who was born in Birmingham shortly after her fathers death.

LANCASTER MARK 1 LM 230 (PH "A") The Shillelagh

 A post war investigation carried out by the Missing Research & Enquiry Services(No 4 Unit) concluded that body remains and parts of an aircraft had been found in Brodersdorf woods. The body remains being buried at Kiel. It is thought that the remains were either from Lancaster HK 556 of 115 squadron or Lancaster LM230.German records indicate that an aircraft crashed in the Gemeinde Brodersdorf at 23.10 hours on the 26/27th August 1944,exploding with all bombs on board, leaving a huge water filled crater with a depth of at least twenty feet. The German records report that the crew were presumably dead The report remains on the file of F/O Donald Holder RNZAF pilot of HK556/F.

John and his crew have no known grave and are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

Photo courtesy of the Bell family & Christine Mills, research by Linda Ibrom