The Wartime Memories Project - The Second World War

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Those who Served

Allied Forces - Browse by Surname.

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Axis Forces - Browse by Surname.

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Frank Bell .     British Army Grenadier Guards   from Seaton, Cumbria)

My Uncle Frank and my father both served in the Grenadier Guards. Frank was a prisoner of war at Stalag 11a having been taken prisoner at Anzio.

My father Joseph was with the 2nd Battalion Guards Armoured Division he was seriously wounded at Cagny, France.

Anne Hodson

Frederick James Bell .     Royal Air Force 83 Squadron   from Atherton, Lancs. )

(d.22nd Dec 1944)

My Grandad Frederick James Bell was in 83 Squadron RAF based at Conningsby. Freddie died aged 24, far too young, leaving his wife and 2 yr old son (my dad) and his brother and sister. He had just had leave and gone back on duty. When flying with Lancaster number PB533 on 22nd December 1944 they were diverted on the way home to Metheringham air base because of fog at Conningsby but unfortunately there was also fog at Metheringham and they crashed into a copse of trees. All the airmen had moved to the front of the plane to help see their way to land and all died; only the rear gunner stayed at the back of the plane and he survived.

Obviously I never meet my grandad but he lives on in my dad and me, I have done a lot of research into him and feel very close to him now and know him. I find his story very sad but will always keep his memory alive. We visit his grave regularly he is buried in Hampstead Norreys cemetery. He will never be forgotten, or the other airmen he died with. I have visited another one of the airman's grave that was onboard and hope to visit the others that I can get too.

Teresa Lewis

Howard Bell .     US Navy 103 Sqd. Fleet Air Wing 7

Sgt. J. Bell .     97 Squadron

Sub Lt. James Black Bell .     Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve HMS Prunella (d.21st Jun 1940)

My uncle, Sub-Lt James Black Bell was killed because of the torpedoing of HMS Prunella - ex mercantile Cape Howe. It is my understanding that he got off the ship on one of the lifeboats, but that in the storm that came up that night this boat was lost. If anyone has any more information on this event I would be grateful if you could share it with me.

John Bell

Sub Lt. James Black Bell .     Royal Navy HMS Prunella (d.21st Jun 1940)

W/O James Ramsay "Jock" Bell .     Royal Air Force 199 Squadron   from Dumfries)

My father, James Bell known as Jock, served with 199 Squadron from November 1943 till June 1947. He was a rear gunner and his skipper's name was Tom Walford. I have a few photos of his crew and still have his log book.

Lesley Taylor

AC1. John Rogerson Bell .     Royal Air Force 10 Squadron   from Broats Farm, Kirkpatrick Fleming, Annan, Dumfriesshire)

(d.2nd Oct 1939)

I never knew my Uncle John and whilst my Mum had told me he had died during WW11, it is only as a result of a recently re-awakened interest in family history that I have begun delving into John's life. John Bell came from a large family of (fairly) prosperous farmers just over the Border in Scotland and his interest in aeroplanes was ignited when Alan (later Sir) Cobham brought his flying circus to the area in the 1930's and used the fields of John's parents farm as a landing ground. During WW11 these same fields were used as relief landing ground for 15EFTS based at Kingstown in Carlisle. My mother was a time-keeper on the airfield and one of the young pilots who flew was later to become my father after his marriage to mum in 1947.

I knew that John's name appeared on the War Memorial at Kirkpatrick Fleming and that his name appeared on his parents' grave in the churchyard.... but I never knew his full story until recently. It was with tears in my eyes that I discovered that John had died on his first ever operational mission (a leaflet drop over Berlin) on the night of 1st/2nd October 1939. He was only 20 years old. This was the first ever flight over Berlin by the RAF in WW11 and was made by 4 Armstrong Whitworth Whitleys. The raid was made in foul weather and sadly my Uncle John's plane was the only one of the four that failed to return. His plane was last heard of 180 miles from St Abbs Head. John has no war grave, but he is, however, honoured at the RAF's Runnymede Memorial, which I have now vowed to visit one day.

Gary Neile

John Gordon "Don" Bell .     Royal Air Force 355 Squadron

John Gordon Bell trained at 22 EFTS Cambridge where he flew Tiger Moths, at 25 EFTS Assiniboia where he flew Cornels, and at 18 SFTS Gimli Man flying Ansons. He then moved to 5 OTU at Boundary Bay and Abbottsford BC learning to fly Mitchells. He flew with 45 Transport Group from Canada to India and was based at Kolar, Mysore State with 6RFU and 355 Squadron at Salbani, Benghl, flying Liberators over Burma.

Phil Juvet

LAC. John Leslie "Jock" Bell .     Royal Air Force 76 Squadron

My Grandfather, John Bell who died some years ago was a leading Aircraftsman with 76 squadron during the Second war. He volunteered for service to join the RAF so he would avoid the call up to either the Army or Navy. He was a master joiner by trade and as a result worked on airframes against his desire to learn propulsion and mechanics. He served at Holme on Spalding moor, Linton on Ouse and Middleton St George and the went abroad to India with 76 squadron. He was by all accounts a good friend of Leonard Cheshire who was the squadron commander. We have a book signed by Mr Cheshire to my grandfather.

I am trying to research my grandfathers service and any help would be very appreciated.

Andrew Bell

Pte. Joseph Russell Bell .     British Army 10th Btn. Durham Light Infantry   from Bishop Auckland)

(d.24th Jul 1943)

Joseph Russell Bell 4456672 10th Battalion DLI, was part of the BEF fighting a retreating battle against the overwhelming numbers of the German Army. He was shot, wounded and captured near Villiers, northern France on 20th May 1940 then taken to Stalag XXA,Thorn on 10th June 1940, where he became POW No 10558, he was held at various forts until he was "shot while trying to escape" on 24th July 1943 whereupon he was buried in the garrison cemetery at garnison freidhof then later exhumed and re- buried in the Malbork commonwealth cemetery.

Russell was also "mentioned in despatches" and because our relative is reluctant to give details of his citation we dont know whether he earned this award during the fighting or in his captive time. During his time in Thorn he was sent to work in the brickworks near Tuchola where he was befriended by a Pole called Jan Glowacki who's son Lucjan used to to sneak food parcels in for them despite the enormous risks, sometime later the two comrades became separated for ever.

Years later in 2011 when we were planning to visit Malbork to honour his grave Russells sister Doreen gave us a letter written in german by Jan asking Russell to write back and tell him about his story, anyway we showed this letter to the lady who was organising our trip and she said "Tuchola is a small village, I'll be able to track down the Glowacki family and maybe arrange for you to meet them", well she did, we visited the three forts where Russell was held then actually met Lucjan who despite his age remembered His father and his friend, what a moving moment it was! Anyway thats Russells story, now I'm hoping someone somewhere will have a soldier who knew Russell Bell either in the prison or in battle who can maybe "put some flesh on the bones" of this enigmatic man.

Alan Bell

Joyce Bell .     Womens Land Army

My mum Joyce Bell was in the Land Army Station down in Evesham we believe, not sure of the year. She used to tell us tales about her and her friend Sandy. We are very proud of her.

Lesley Byram

F/Sgt. R. R. Bell .     97 Squadron

Ord, Seaman Reginald Patterson Bell .     Royal Navy HMS Forfar (d.2nd Dec 1940)

Cpl. Robert Stirling Bell .     Canadian Army North Nova Scotia Highlanders

Cpl Sterling Robert Bell served with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders. He landed in Normandy on June 6th 1944 and was captured at Authie on June 7 1944. He was held as a pow in Stalag 357 until May 1945.

Allison Sterling Bell

Pte. Robert Bell .     Australian Army   from Australia)

S B Flynn

Sgt. Sidney Bell .     Royal Air Force flight eng. 106 Sqd.

Sidney was taken as a Prisoner of War on the 30th of August 1944 and was held in Stalag Luft 7.

Cpl. Sterling Robert Bell .     Canadian Army C Company,13 Platoon North Nova Scotia Highlanders   from Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada)

Joined Caleton and York June 19 1940. Joined North Nova Scotia Highlanders after basic trianing july 1940.He was Section Leader in 13 Platoon C-Company on D-Day. He was captured in Authie, France June 7 1944. He was sent to POW Stalag 357 POW# 84829. He was mentioned a number of times in "no retreating footsteps" unit history and the "two jacks" the story about the Battle for Authie and what happened after on the way to the POW camp.

Allison Sterling Bell

Lt. T. Bell .     Home Guard C Coy. Workington Btn.

Theodore Bell .     Royal Air Force   from USA)

Tom Bell .    

My father-in-law, Tom Bell,(now deceased) was captured after the invasion in 1944 and then paraded through the streets of Paris (the French were not friendly). He was then shipped to Stalag 4B. Anyone who remembers him please contact me.

Paul Delany

Gunner William Harold Bell .     Royal Navy HMS Forfar   from Bebbington, Cheshire)

(d.2nd Dec 1940)

William Bell January 1940

William Bell was lost when HMS Forfar was lost on the 2nd of December 1940, he was 57 years old.

William Bell .     Special Constabulary

When we moved to our new house in Blairgowrie, Perthshire 10 years ago My Dad found a gas mask,Helmet whistle and badge which we think belonged to Willie Bell, Special Constable 21, who once lived in our house. He died many years ago.

Jane Ward

Sgt. William "Ginger" Bell .     Royal Air Force 44 Squadron   from Doagh, Co. Antrim, N.I.)

(d.6th Sep 1940)

This is the story of my Uncle Sgt Willie Bell, wireless operater/air gunner serving on 44 Sqd. RAF Bomber Command, flying Handley Page Hampden medium bombers, the Hampden fuselage was only 36" wide and the crew had little room to move inside. Beginning in May 1940 he flew on night missions on a regular basis. Entries in his log book show five night operations between 15th and 26th May, with numerous training exercises in between. On May 27th he was promoted to Temp.Sergeant. He continued on "ops" through July and August at the height of the Battle of Britain. September 2nd was a raid on Stuttgart with P/O Taunton at the controls in Hampden s/no. P2087.

On the evening of the 6th September 1940 he climbed into Hampden P2087 again with P/O Taunton and P/O Vollmer as navigator/bomb aimer, and New Zealander Sgt. Bracegirdle, their target that night was Krefeld. They succeeded in finding the target and dropped their bombs, then turned for home but near Munster disaster struck in the form of a heavy AA shell which scored an almost direct hit, setting the starboard engine and wing on fire. The pilot ordered the crew to bail out, but all at once the aircraft lurched to starboard and went into a spiral dive of rapidly increasing velocity. Then there was a terrible explosion which blew P/O Vollmer out of the Hampden with his parachute still unfastened, he had been in the process of clipping it on when he was thrown out.

He knew the ground was coming up fast so he pulled the ripcord and prayed. His chute was ripped from his hands breaking two fingers but by a stroke of luck he had managed to secure one clip of the harness which held long enough to save his life. The pilot had managed to bale out to safety, but Sergeants Bell and Bracegirdle were not so lucky and went to their deaths when P2087 smashed into the ground.

An unknown German officer sent home Willie Bell's personal effects, his watch, ring and ID tags, accompanied by a letter to his parents to let them know he had been buried with full military honours and he was very kind to say there were no marks on his body.

Willie Bell didn't win any special medals for heroism but it took a very brave person to do what he did night after night. I would like to dedicate this little article to his memory and to all the men and women in all the wars who made the ultimate sacrifice

William Bell Turkington

P/O W. Bell-Towers .     102 Squadron

Beatrice Lillian "Daisy" Bell. .     WAAF.

F/S John Bell. .     RAF 156Sqd. (d.2nd Jan 1944)

Bomb Aimer John Bell was killed on 2nd Jan 1944 in Lancaster III JA925 GT-La of 156 Sqn

Sgt Ronald Bell. .     RAF 12Sqd. (d.13th May 1943)

Mid Upper Gnr. Ronald Bell died on 13th May 1943 in Lancaster III ED476 PH-N of 12sqd

Theodore Bell. .    

My friend Tanina is searching for her grandad, who was based in Honeybourne in the 40s. His name we beleive is/was Theodore Bell. He was an Amercian G.I. Had had a relationship with Tania`s nan, Anne Lloyd/Smith and they had a son Roger in 1945. Theodore knew of his son and returned from states when his son was about one year old. I was just wondering if anyone had any pictures of the troops around then. Any information would be a start.

Tessa and Tania

Cpl. Sydney Bellamy .     British Army Green Howards   from Middlesbrough)

Martin Bellamy

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