Maxwell Herron (Dinger) BELL DFC

Poppy

BELL, Maxwell Herron

Service Number: 405995
Enlisted: 20 July 1941
Last Rank: Pilot Officer
Last Unit: No. 19 Squadron (RAF)
Born: Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, 19 February 1923
Home Town: Bowenville, Toowoomba, Queensland
Schooling: Brisbane Boys College (member school cadets) Queensland, Australia
Occupation: Tractor Driver
Died: Killed in action during ground strafing attack, South of Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, 9 September 1944, aged 21 years
Cemetery: Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery
IX A 12
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
Show Relationships

World War 2 Service

20 Jul 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 405995, Aircrew Training Units
21 Jul 1941: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, SN 405995, Aircrew Training Units, Empire Air Training Scheme
11 Oct 1941: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Leading Aircraftman, Aircrew Training Units
30 Apr 1942: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, Aircrew Training Units, Awarded pilot Wings
16 Jun 1942: Embarked Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, SN 405995, Aircrew Training Units
30 Oct 1942: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, Aircrew Training Units
22 Dec 1942: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, SN 405995, No. 19 Squadron (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45
20 Jun 1943: Wounded Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, SN 405995, Air War NW Europe 1939-45, Hospitalised VSI - susbequent Thyroidectomy
30 Oct 1943: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Warrant Officer, No. 19 Squadron (RAF)
17 Mar 1944: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, SN 405995, No. 19 Squadron (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45
22 Aug 1944: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, No. 19 Squadron (RAF)
9 Sep 1944: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, SN 405995, No. 19 Squadron (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45

Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross

Warrant Officer Bell is a an efficient and most resolute pilot. He has taken part in may harassing attacks on the enemy and has invariably displayed a high degree of gallantry. He has destroyed four enemy aircraft.

London Gazette 17 November 1944

Showing 1 of 1 story

Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Maxwell Herron BELL DFC

 

Born in Toowoomba, Queensland to George and Evelyn Bell on 19 February 1923, Maxwell Bell susbequently attended Brisbane Boys High School 1938-40 where he was a member of the School Cadets.

He left school at the end of 1940 and by July the following year (1941) he had enlisted in the RAAF.  He cited his occupation as 'Tractor Driver'.

He undertook a series of courses, from recruit training at Kingaroy and then Basic Flying Training at Archerfield before progressing to more advanced flying training at Wagga Wagga and finally Uranquinty.  He was awarded his pilots wings on 30 April 1942.  He proceeded overseas to the UK where he completed advanced flying including reconnaissance school and then conversion on the P51 Mustang, before joining No. 19 Squadron RAF.

He had a serious of attachments away from the Squadron to the base HQ.  He spent mid 1943 hospitalised after significant surgery, at one stage being listed as 'very seriously ill'.   He was posted back to 19 Squadron in late March 1944.

NO. 19 Squadron was by this stage equipped with the RAF version of the P51 Mustang and was being employed in ground attack interdiction and reconaissance missions over the west coast of occupied Europe in preparation for the D Day Landings.  By September they were operating from a Forward Operating Base in Grimbergen Belgium and on 9 September Max Bell took off in a flight of four aircraft.

Groesbeek in the NetheralndsHe was Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, but the award was not promulgated until after his death.

In attacking the target (locomotives and rolling stock) his comrades heard him call that he had been hit and would have to bale out of his plane.  It was suggested that he seek more open space to do so, but nothing more was heard and he was listed as 'missing'.  There were rumours that he had been murdered by German troops.

Initially listed on the Runnymeade Memorial to missing aircrew, his body was susbequently recovered and buried in the Canadian War Cemetery near Groesbeek in the Netherlands.

Read more...

Biography contributed by David Barlow

Pilot Officer Maxwell Herron Bell DFC 405995 was the pilot of Mustang FX887 of 19 Squadron RAF which crashed south of Apeldoorn in Holland - the nominal roll notes that he was classified as a Prisoner of War when he died

He has an entry in the book "Aces High" by Christopher Shores which includes the circumstances of his death after baling out of his aircraft