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Thread: Flt/Sgt Sydney Philip Bell 1389006

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    Default Flt/Sgt Sydney Philip Bell 1389006

    Hi,

    I want to find some info out Sydney Bell (my great uncle), he died in a Lancaster training crash on 13/14th July 1945. I know the general gist of the crash ie took off from Wickenby ran into a storm and crashed near Wharram le street at 1.55am. Other than that I do not know a great deal about him, I would like to find out a bit more about what his RAF service consisted off, maybe a crew photo, why his plane crashed etc (seem to remember my grandmother mentioning a lightening strike). Can anyone give me advice on if it is possible to find this sort of info and how I go about getting it?
    Thanks for any advice/info

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    From the 626 Squadron Site:

    PD287 UM-P 14th July 1945

    Pilot: Flt/Sgt. Sydney Philip Bell 1389006 R.A.F.V.R. ,Flight Engineer: Sgt. Stanley Welsh 1597250 R.A.F.V.R. Age 19, Navigator: Flt/Sgt Lawrence William Garfield 1815298 R.A.F.V.R. Age 23, Air/Bomber: Sgt. Percy John Allsebrook 1574022 R.A.F.V.R. Age 22, Wireless Operator : Flt/Sgt. Henry Jacob Plastow 1824870 R.A.F.V.R. Age 20, Air/Gunner: Sgt. Roy Charles Thomas Goldthorpe 1893883 R.A.F.V.R. Age 20
    Take off RAF Wickenby on a BALBO exercise with the crew briefed to fly at 2,000 feet. Ran into a thunder storm and crashed 0155 at Wharram le Street, some 12 miles NW of Driffield airfield, Yorkshire. All are buried in various cemeteries in the United Kingdom.
    Note. 626 Squadron ORB has an entry for Sergeant J Critchley posted non effective sick to 14 Base on 14 July, but it is not clear if this was a result of the accident summarised above.

    To enable you to find out more information, I would suggest that you obtain his service record from RAF Cranwell (http://www.raf.mod.uk/links/contacts.cfm) and also the Operations Record Books from his Operational Squadron(s) from National Archives (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/squadron-operations.asp).

    We utilised these two routes during our research and obtained a wealth of information.

    Good luck

    Regards

    Pete
    Last edited by PeteT; 3rd July 2012 at 22:12.
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Hi,

    How old was he when he died in the crash?

    His service number was issued at Euston around the end of 1940.

    Usually by 1945 a pilot would have completed his two tours on Bomber Command and will have been employed on instruction or other experienced duties. Release from service was on the basis of Oldest and longest served first so he should have been a Cat A man demobbed under this scheme (unless he had re-enlisted).

    Another pointer to an interesting service which will be revealed by his service record is that his index card in AIR 78/13 (Page 824) is annotated "Previously served in the RAF". This usually means pre war service.

    Another reason could be that he re-enlisted and the annotation is his war time service. The rank of F/Sgt being a peacetime reversion from his war substanstive rank.

    The details that PeteT has posted from No.626 Sqn are taken from a book by W R Chorley RAF Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War: 1945 and should have been credited as such by the site to acknowledge copyright.

    Regards
    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

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    Thanks for the info and help. I do not know how old he was when he died but I will find out.
    A curious aspect for me as well was how he ended up in the RAF at all, he was a policeman (I think this was a reserved occupation?) unfortunately for me alot of the knowledge has been lost (not much of the family left) I only have bit's and pieces that my grandmother (his sister) told me when I was a boy and the odd keepsake she left me when she died eg police service book, pic in police uniform, RAF badge and a couple of photo's. It is my son asking about them that has spurred me on to find out a bit more
    Last edited by copperpot; 5th July 2012 at 10:13.

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    Found out a little bit more but it is all family tales so i do not know how much truth there is in it. He spent some time in Canada training bomber pilots where he was apparently court martialed for flying his aircraft under a bridge 'for a bet'.

    His last flight he was apparently testing out new navigation equipment, his normal tail gunner had reported in sick the replacement was the only one to survive the crash and was badly injured, he was found by local farmers after blowing a whistle for 5 hrs prior to being found.

    Also turned up a couple of pictures of him which is something tangible at least.

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