BELL David 406430

LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant David BELL

Service No: 406430
Born: South Perth WA, 20 August 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 December 1940
Unit: No. 10 Squadron, RAF Station Mount Batten, Devonshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 10 Squadron Sunderland aircraft W3994), off Spain, 31 July 1942, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Harry Bell, and of Irene May Bell, of South Perth, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: South Perth WA
Remembered: Panel 112, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 99, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA
Remembered: Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW

In the absence of more suitable specialised aircraft, the Sunderlands in No. 19 Group still carried the burden of anti-shipping operations in the Bay of Biscay.  …  This marked offensive spirit brought special commendation from Air Chief Marshal Joubert (Commander-in Chief, Coastal Command, RAF), but the risks of these operations, though gladly accepted, were not commensurate with the actual damage caused.  A tragic reminder of this fact came when, in quick succession, Flight Lieutenant Eric Bruce Martin (30th July) and Flight Lieutenant Edward St. Clair Yeoman (9th August) were sent out on similar duties, but were shot down and killed.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 287-8.

On the 31st July 1942, Sunderland W3994 took off from RAF Mount Batten at 0215 hours, on an aircraft reconnaissance / anti-submarine patrol. The aircraft took the maximum load of antisubmarine bombs and was to carry out a patrol along the Spanish coast just outside territorial waters.  No signals were received from the aircraft which failed to return from the mission.

The crew members of W3994 were:

Flying Officer Christopher Edward Thomas Bartram (401759) (Observer)
Sergeant David Bell (406430) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Clive Thomas Bingham (4559) (Aircraft Hand)
Aircraftman Class 1 Nevil Thomas Cuddihy (14521) (Fitter IIA)
Sergeant Herbert Henry Fealy (11069) (Fitter IIE)
Pilot Officer Ernest Francis Hamilton Frith (403653) (Second Pilot)
Leading Aircraftman Charles Leslie Kenneth Johnson (34754) (Fitter Mechanic/Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Eric Bruce Martin (280651) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Arthur Reginald Meaker (416275) (Navigator)
Sergeant John Russell Mullins (4701) (Wireless Mechanic)
Flying Officer Arthur Francis O’Dwyer (405185) (First Pilot)
Aircraftman Class 1 Garnet William White (13891) (Armourer)

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/91/255
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Bibliography:

Ashworth, N. (Norman) The ANZAC Squadron: A history of No. 461 Squadron RAAF 1942-5, Hesperian Press Victoria Park WA 6100, 1994
Baff, K.C (Kevin), Maritime is Number Ten, K.C. Baff Netley SA, 1983
Joubert, P.B. (Sir Phillip Bennet) Birds and Fishes: the story of Coastal Command, Hutchinson and Company London, 1960
Southall, I.F. (Ivan Francis) (418900) They Shall Not Pass Unseen, Angus and Robertson Sydney NSW, 1956
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992