Flight Sergeant James Baird DUELL

Service No: 424863
Born: Semaphore SA, 28 February 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 October 1942 (at Sydney NSW)
Unit: No. 102 Squadron (RAF), RAF Pocklington, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 102 Squadron Halifax aircraft MA502), France, 29 June 1944, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Marissel French National Cemetery, Oise, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of James and Stella Alice Duell, of Dunleath, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Semaphore SA
Remembered: Panel 121, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Halifax MA502 took off from RAF Pocklington at 2216 hours on the night of 28 June 1944, detailed to bomb rail facilities at Blainville, France. .Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft crashed 2 kms north east of Ons-en-Bray (Oise) and 10kms west of Beauvais France. Two crew members were killed, one became a Prisoner of War and four evaded capture.

The crew members of MA502 were:

Flight Sergeant Thomas William Bastick (Air Gunner) (408416) Evaded capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 2 October 1945
Flight Sergeant James Baird Duell (424863) (Air Bomber)
Flying Officer George Stafford Heath (429808) (Air Gunner) Evaded capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 3 August 1945
Sergeant J A Miller (1583455) (RAFVR) (Navigator) Evaded capture
Pilot Officer George John Frederick Mulvaney (423422) (Pilot) Evaded capture: Discharged from the RAAF: 30 August 1945
Sergeant Dennis George Brailsforth Smith (1807478) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Leslie Keith Whellum (417545) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 25 October 1945

Flight Sergeant Whellum later reported “the aircraft was attacked by a night fighter from under and raked us across the wing and the engineer’s compartment. The engineer was killed and the aircraft set on fire. The Captain ordered abandon aircraft and then the inter com went dead. All the crew baled out except the Engineer, height about 17,000 feet. The aircraft was turning in a large circle and losing height. The aircraft was on fire in the engineer’s compartment and also under the wing. The aircraft crashed about 10 miles from Beauvais. I evaded capture for about 2 months near Beauvais and tried to get to Normandy, but was captured by the Gestapo in Paris. The Air Bomber who baled out was drowned in a lake.”


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, 166/10/266

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