Sergeant Ronald Joshua BELL

Service No: 402497
Born: Summer Hill NSW, 19 March 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 16 September 1940
Unit: No. 99 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Waterbeach
Died: Air Operations (No. 99 Squadron Wellington aircraft X6540), Germany, 8 November 1941, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Niedersachsen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Russell Moncrieff Bell and Elizabeth Vida Bell, of Eastwood, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Eastwood NSW
Remembered: Panel 118, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1721 hours on the night of 7 November 1941 Wellington X6540 took off, from Waterbeach detailed to bomb Berlin. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. It was later learned that the one crew member had been killed and the other five had become Prisoners of War.

The crew members of X6540 were:

Sergeant Ronald Joshua Bell (402497) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant J H Bowman (R/45514) (RCAF) PoW
Flight Lieutenant J O Dickinson (88863) (RAFVR) (Pilot) PoW
Sergeant A Featherstone (R/69708) (RCAF) PoW
Sergeant R B Martin (R/67044) (RCAF) PoW
Flying Officer Phillip Roy Searcy (407082) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 6 December 1945

Flight Lieutenant Dickinson later reported “Bell was seen to leave the aircraft with his parachute on at a height of about 3,000 feet. On the same night, a few hours after I was taken prisoner, the Germans informed me that Bell was killed as his parachute had not opened.”


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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/91/133

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