M.P. Bell crew 09.03.42 †

10/10/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Cologne
Eight Wellington aircraft of this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. One of these aircraft, Z8969, captained by Sgt Kurlewis, failed to return to base. Another, X9825, captained by S/Ldr Chamberlain, jettisoned bombs on a road WSW of Cologne, as owing to damage to hydraulics, the aircraft was unable to maintain height with bombs on. Centre of town was successfully attacked and bombs were seen to burst. large fires were started and were seen to be burning twenty minutes later. One aircraft was seen to crash and explode in the city area. A.A. fire was intense at all heights from 12,000 feet, to 4,000 feet. Searchlights were active in two cones, one each side of target. Visibility was good, with large clearing in low cloud over the target area.

Wellington Mk.Ic Z.8945 AA-?

Sgt. Cyril Taylor, RAFVR 110661 – Pilot.
Sgt. Maurice Perrott Bell, RNZAF NZ404882 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Harrington, RAFVR – Observer.
Sgt. James Roberts, RAAF AUS.400310 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Monk, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Robert Holtby Tasker, RAFVR 1381172 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 00:12 – Landed 06:20
Flight Time 06:08

12/10/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Bremen and Nurenburg
Nine Wellington aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out these attacks. One of these aircraft, X9981 captained by S/Ldr Chamberlain, failed to return to base. Wellington IC X9975, captained by P/O Fisher returned to base owing to over heating of an engine. Direct hits were observed on the docks at Ostend and large fires were started which were visible for 90 miles. Incendiary bombs were dropped on a large factory and fires left burning. Other machines were dropping loads within 50 mile radius. A.A. fire was nil at primary, but there was a heavy flak after dropping bombs on Ostend. Searchlights were active to the East and West of target area. Weather was good.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9977 AA-D

Sgt. Cyril Taylor, RAFVR 110661 – Pilot.
Sgt. Maurice Perrott Bell, RNZAF NZ404882 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Harrington, RAFVR – Observer.
Sgt. James Roberts, RAAF AUS.400310 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Monk, RAFVR – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Robert Holtby Tasker, RAFVR 1381172 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:19 – Landed ?
Flight Time –

13/10/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Bremen and Dusseldorf
Six* Wellington aircraft from this Unit were detailed to attack the above targets. A mixed bomb load was carried and consisted of 1,000 lb GP, 500 lb GP, 250 lb GP and SBC’s of 4 lb incendiaries. Considerable A.A. fire was experienced North and West of the target area, both light and heavy. Target was bombed and fires were observed on leaving. Many large cones of Searchlights were active West and North of the target. Enemy aircraft were seen on the return flight over the Dutch coast but no attacks were made on our aircraft. An unidentified aircraft followed Sgt Taylor and crew in X9977 for about 40 minutes. No attacks were initiated. The aircraft was using a hand lamp for signalling. The weather was 10/10 cloud over target area, with haze. Navigation was by Lorenz, QDM’s, Astro Fix and DR.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9977 AA-D

Sgt. Cyril Taylor, RAFVR 110661 – Pilot.
Sgt. Maurice Perrott Bell, RNZAF NZ404882 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Harrington, RAFVR – Observer.
Sgt. James Roberts, RAAF AUS.400310 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Campbell Ewen Justin Aitchison, RNZAF NZ402974 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Robert Holtby Tasker, RAFVR 1381172 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:44 – Landed 23:37
Flight Time 04:53

15/10/1941 – Bombing Attacks Against Targets at Cologne and Boulogne
Ten Wellington aircraft from this Unit were detailed to carry out the above attacks. A mixed bomb load was carried consisting of 1,000 lb, 500 lb, 250 lb GP’s and containers of incendiaries. Captains report that bombs were dropped on the target by estimation, but owing to slight haze over the target results were not seen. A considerable amount of heavy AA fire was experienced in and around the target area. Fire was accurate over Aachen. Searchlight activity was intense throughout the route but ineffective in the target area because of the cloud. Weather was fair en route but thick ground haze over all target area. Navigation was by Astro, D/R, QDM. Pinpointing and Lorenz check. Two of these aircraft, Z8945, captained by Sgt Barker, and X9916, captained by Sgt Matetich failed to return to base.

Wellington Mk.Ic X.9977 AA-D

Sgt. Cyril Taylor, RAFVR 110661 – Pilot.
Sgt. Maurice Perrott Bell, RNZAF NZ404882 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Harrington, RAFVR – Observer.
Sgt. James Roberts, RAAF AUS.400310 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. William Reid Steele, RAFVR 1051619 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. Robert Holtby Tasker, RAFVR 1381172 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 18:24 – Landed 23:35
Flight Time 05:11

09/03/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Essen
Eleven Wellington III aircraft carried out an attack against the above target. Bomb load consisted of 500 lbs, 250 lbs and containers of incendiaries, and was dropped in the target area, fires and bomb bursts being seen. A strong flak defence was encountered over the target and searchlights were very active. One Me.110 was seen and one unidentified aircraft was seen to be shot down by an enemy fighter. Weather was good. Navigation was by D.R. and TR1335.

Wellington Mk.III X.3451 AA-G

Sgt. Maurice Perrott Bell, RNZAF NZ404882 – Pilot.
Sgt. Franklyn Bertram Cran, RNZAF NZ405237 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Claude Joseph Harris, RNZAF NZ404028 – Observer.
Sgt. Thomas Richard Cross, RAFVR 917809 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Ronald Gilliam Allen, RAFVR 1261123 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. James William Hinton, RAFVR 1150584 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 19:31 – Landed 23:45
Flight Time 04:14

13/03/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Dunkirk
Four Wellington III aircraft set out to bomb the above target but only one machine successfully carried out the task, Wellington III X3667, captained by Sgt Bell. Bomb load of 250 lbs was dropped on the docks but results were not observed. There were a small number of searchlights active and medium flak was encountered. no enemy aircraft were seen however. Weather was fine with a ground haze over the target. Navigation was good, TR1335 being used.

Wellington Mk.III X.3367 AA-?

Sgt. Maurice Perrott Bell, RNZAF NZ404882 – Pilot.
Sgt. Franklyn Bertram Cran, RNZAF NZ405237 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Claude Joseph Harris, RNZAF NZ404028 – Observer.
Sgt. Thomas Richard Cross, RAFVR 917809 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Ronald Gilliam Allen, RAFVR 1261123 – Front Gunner.
– not listed,   – .

Take Off 19:57 – Landed 22:35
Flight Time 02:38

25/03/1942 – Attack Against Targets at St.Nazaire and Essen
Twelve aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack. Wellington III X3652, captained by P/O Slater failed to return, and two aircraft failed to locate the target. Bomb Load consisted of 500 lbs and 250 lbs, this being dropped in the target area but no results were observed. Slight A.A. fire and a few ineffective searchlights were encountered but no enemy fighters were seen. Weather was fine with slight ground haze. Navigation by TR1335 and D.R. was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3538 AA-N

Sgt. Maurice Perrott Bell, RNZAF NZ404882 – Pilot.
Sgt. Franklyn Bertram Cran, RNZAF NZ405237 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Claude Joseph Harris, RNZAF NZ404028 – Observer.
Sgt. Ronald Gilliam Allen, RAFVR 1261123 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Richard Cross, RAFVR 917809 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. James William Hinton, RAFVR 1150584 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:05 – Landed 00:20
Flight Time 04:15

26/03/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Essen and Le Havre
Eight Wellington aircraft were detailed to carry out the above attack. Bomb load consisted of 500 lbs, 250 lbs and containers of incendiaries, were dropped in the target area. Accurate, intense flak was encountered, searchlights were ineffective. One single engined aircraft was seen near Le Havre but no attack was made. Weather was fair with haze over target. Navigation by TR1335 and D.R. was good.

Wellington Mk.III X.3705 AA-F

Sgt. Maurice Perrott Bell, RNZAF NZ404882 – Pilot.
Sgt. Franklyn Bertram Cran, RNZAF NZ405237 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Claude Joseph Harris, RNZAF NZ404028 – Observer.
Sgt. Ronald Gilliam Allen, RAFVR 1261123 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Richard Cross, 917809 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. James William Hinton, RAFVR 1150584 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off 20:20 – Landed 00:10
Flight Time 03:50

28/03/1942 – Attack Against Targets at Lubeck
Ten Wellington aircraft took off to attack the above target, one aircraft, Wellington III X3462 captained by Sgt Bell failed to return to base. Bomb load consisting of 4,000 lbs, 1,000 lbs, 500 lbs, 250 lbs, and containers of incendiaries was dropped in the target area. Bombs were seen to burst on target and large fires were seen burning in the target area. Weather was clear except for slight haze over west portion of the North Sea. There was very little A.A. Fire and few searchlights over the target. No enemy aircraft were seen. Navigation by TR1335 and D.R. was good. he whole operation was very successful.

Wellington Mk.III X.3462 AA-D

Sgt. Maurice Perrott Bell, RNZAF NZ404882 – Pilot.
Sgt. Franklyn Bertram Cran, RNZAF NZ405237 – 2nd Pilot.
Sgt. Claude Joseph Harris, RNZAF NZ404028 – Observer.
Sgt. Ronald Gilliam Allen, RAFVR 1261123 – Wireless Operator.
Sgt. Thomas Richard Cross, RAFVR 917809 – Front Gunner.
Sgt. James William Hinton, RAFVR 1150584 – Rear Gunner.

Take Off – – Landed –
Flight Time – Missing

The precise circumstances of the loss of this aircraft and crew, are unknown. Whilst the raid report states that there were no combats with E/A, a combat report held in the National Archives (AIR50/192/6) describes a Pilot witnessing an enemy aircraft firing first on what is believed to be another Wellington. This Wellington was reported as going down into the sea and burning furiously. The fact that all the crew’s bodies were buried in the German Naval Garrison Cemetery, before being re-interred in the Kiel War Cemetery, perhps suggest this might have been the Bell crew, however it should be noted that the Naval Garrison also had gun batteries near it, so this does not discount A.A. fire as the source of this crew loss.

P/O Maurice Perrott Bell, RNZAF NZ404882 – Pilot.
Killed age 26.
Son of George John and Mary Bell, of Tuna, Taranaki, New Zealand.
Buried Kiel War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – Coll. grave 2. A. 4-6.

Sgt. Franklyn Bertram Cran, RNZAF NZ405237 – 2nd Pilot.
Killed age 21.
Son of Thomas Francis Bertram Cran and of Mary Rosetta Cran (Nee Clough), of Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand.
Buried Kiel War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – Coll. grave 2. A. 4-6.

Sgt. Claude Joseph Harris, RNZAF NZ404028 – Observer.
Killed age 31.
Son of Arthur William Harris and of Eva Harris (Nee Stockley), of Helensville, Auckland, New Zealand.
Buried Kiel War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – 2. A. 2.

Sgt. Thomas Richard Cross, RAFVR 917809 – Front Gunner.
Killed age 35.
Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Cross, of Reading, Berkshire; Husband of Irene Olive Cross, of Reading.
Buried Kiel War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – Coll. grave 2. A. 4-6.
‘God’s greatest gift,
Remembrance’

Sgt. Ronald Gillam   Allen, RAFVR 1261123 – Wireless Operator .
Killed age 20.
Buried Kiel War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – 2. A. 3.

Sgt. James William Hinton, RAFVR 1150584 – Rear Gunner.
Killed age 24.
Son of Walter and Fanny Hinton, of Cleobury North, Shropshire; Husband of Phyllis Hinton.
Buried Kiel War Cemetery, Germany.
Grave location – 2. A. 1.
‘Our thoughts oft fly
To days gone by
When you were with us,
For memories never die’