550 Squadron Photos

Wing Commander Bryan "Dingle" Bell

Photos

Click image Wing Commander Bryan "Dingle" Bell
PoW (FTR 22 Feb 45)

Picture courtesy of Gordon Bell
Click image Wing Commander Bryan "Dingle" Bell

PoW picture from German archive: taken when Wing Commander Bell was captured after going on the run following the crash.
If you want to find out how Wing Commander Bell's family acquired this picture then click here

Picture courtesy of Gordon Bell

Bryan Bell joined 550 Sqdn from its formation, as S/Ldr and Flight Commander A Flight: 25 Nov 1943 - 24 Dec 1943. He was then transferred away the squadron after a couple of months, later returning as the Commanding Officer. As CO W/Cmdr Bell made a number of flights with various crews.

Click image 550Sqdn Ops: Oct 1944 - Feb 1945
Picture courtesy of Gordon Bell

Some of these crews are noted below.

F/O Edlund crew

W/Cmdr Bell flew an Op with the F/O Edlund crew (F/O Edlund flying as 2nd pilot). The picture below shows F/O Edlund and crew.

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Left To Right: F/O Edlund, F/O Dawson, Sgt Phil Barber, Sgt Sam Lipfriend, W/O Gorton, Sgt "Jock" Carruthers, Sgt Hector Cleghorne.
To see information on this crew click here

Other information about the flight and the target available here (22 Jan 1945).

Sam Lipfriend of the F/O Edlund crew was able to tell Gordon Bell, many years later, how he recalled W/Cmdr Bell's return following liberation from PoW camp (see below for F/Lt Luger crew loss). Sam was in the mess in North Killingholme when W/Cmdr Bell walked in looking tired and dishevelled one day in May 1945 following his repatriation to the UK. Sam greeted him and invited him for a drink and they sat and chatted for some time. One can only imagine how good it was to be greeted by a friendly face and enjoy a drink after so many months enduring the rigours of a Bavarian prison camp.

F/Lt Luger Crew, Lancaster NN715

Lancaster NN715 was flown by the F/Lt Luger crew when it FTR 21/22 February 1945 on a raid on Duisburg. Two of the crew were killed, with the remainder becoming PoWs (although one, the pilot F/Lt Luger, was repatriated and later died of his injuries in hospital in Manchester).

Present on the aircraft for that flight was W/Cmdr Bell. W/Cmdr Bell survived the loss of the aircraft becoming a PoW (his two CO predecessors had also been lost on Ops, sadly neither surviving).

The picture below is of F/Lt Luger and crew.

Click image F/Lt Luger and crew, January 1945
L-to-R: F/Lt Luger (P), Sgt Hancock, F/O Angill, Sgt Gibbs, Sgt Gray, Sgt Jones, Sgt Boyce
To see information on this crew click here

Other information about the flight and the target available here (21 Feb 1945).

The entry on the 550 Squadron Roll of Honour is available here.

See also the "Missing Air Crew Report" site: http://www.teunispats.net/macr-12109.htm.

Click image txxxx-loss-card-nn715-bell
Picture courtesy of MACR site via Gordon Bell

PoW Experiences

Copies of documents associated with W/Cmdr Bell's capture are shown below (again kindly made available by Gordon Bell):

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PoW Register Form
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Release from HQ staff
(rear of PoW Register Form)
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PoW Pass
In this photograph you may notice that W/Cmdr Bell is declared to be an American flyer. One possible reason for this, discussed with his family, is that the mistake occured as he was second-in-command to, and was accommodated with, Col. Pop Goode the American senior officer.
W/Cmdr Bell was acting as a laison between Goode and Group Captain Willets the senior Allied officer who signed him off the HQ staff on the back of the POW register form.
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Notebook Cover
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HQ Form

War Experiences

new17/11/2009

Below are extracts from notes made by W/Cmdr Bell after the war of his experiences joining up, training, life in the newly formed 550 Squadron in North Killingholme, flying on ops, and that critical last mission which resulted in the loss of the aircraft, some of his crew and life in a PoW camp until liberation. Once again all kindly made available by Gordon Bell.

Training and Early Ops W/Cmdr Bell's crew, and notes about training and his early ops, etc
Station visit by Harris Memories of a stirring visit by Harris to Binbrook
The "Pommie Mascot" The "Pommie Mascot"
New Years Eve 1944 Emergency runway clearance
550 Squadron Commanding Officer at 550 Squadron
Last Mission Details about the last mission, attacked by a night-fighter, the bale-out and the attempt to avoid capture
PoW Camp Life Senior British officer at Stalag Luft VIIA
Stalag Luft VIIA Stalag Luft VIIA in Bavaria housing captured military personnel of nearly every Allied nationality
Complete document The full set of notes in PDF format

Squadron Formation

new02/08/2013

W/Cmdr Bell was involved with the formation of 550 Squadron out of "C" Flight 100 Squadron.

Click image 550 Sqdn Crest - original design (rejected)
This crest was one that was designed, apparently in the mess, by Gp Capt Richard McIntyre and Bryan Bell but it was rejected due to the similarity to the 100 Sqdn crest
Picture courtesy of Gordon Bell