Pilot F/O Jack F. D. Bell (Belleville Ontario)
Navigator P/O Richard E. W. Barrett (Belleville Ontario)
B/A P/O Danny C. Barron (Toronto Ontario)
WAG WO J. E. Beaudin
WAG WO Walter M. Loucks ( Beaverton Ontario)(Replaced WO Beaudin)
Flight Engineer Sgt. James "Slim" Priest Minesing Ontario
M/UG F/S Charles "Chuck" Murphy (Toronto Ontario)
R/G F/S R.H. Larry "Buzz" Strain (Duncan B.C.)
Arrival at 419 - A Rough First Op.
Within days of their arrival at Middleton St.George from from Base 61 on June 18th of 1944, the crew were involved
in more training this time in squadron based exercises. Exercises which would come into play on their very first
operation in the first days of July. After F/O Bell had completed his two sorties as 2nd Pilot on operations,
he was ready to captain his own crew to a target location which for some resaon is left out in the Ops Log. on all the aircraft that
flew that day.
As part of the second wave of bombers on this daylight raid, the enemy defenses were already in full operation,
flak was very heavy. KB708, their Lancaster was hit by flak, number 2 gas tank was punctured and they lost what they
estimated was about 175 gallons of fuel. The number 3 fuel tank on the starboard side was also hit
but was already depleted of fuel. The main electrical panel was hit and out of order. Oil pressure on port
outer engine read zero. Pressure for both brakes was lost, the aircraft had between 15 to 20 flak holes in her.
With all this damage Bell had no alternative but to land at USAAF base Aldermaston. The Lancaster, VR-E was listed as
Category "AC", which meant it was so badly damaged that it would have to go back to AVRO for repairs.
The crew on this sortie was not Bell's normal men. F/L N. Connachie was the Wireless Operator and RAF Sgt. J. Norman
was the F/E.
On July 9th WO Walter Loucks would join the crew as Wireless Operator and Sgt Jim Priest would be the F/E. And so it would
be for the next 30 operations. During this time they faced a number of operations where things got dangerous.
A Few Mishaps on the Way to 30 Ops.
On July 25/26, their fourth mission they lost the starboard inner engine and had to jettison the bombs to get back
An operation in early August also caused them grief, when they lost use of the DR compass, used by the Navigator
and the Pilot, a compass linked together so the two could coordinate their course headings. An oil leak in the
starboard outer engine and a leak in the air pressure system send them back to base.
September also threw flak problems their way. After leaving the target on the night of September 6th, flak hit and damaged the
Middle Upper turret. Sgt. Murphy escaped injury, or at least happily no reports of injuries could be found for any
of the ops. they flew on.
In October, just three ops. prior to their last operation, the crew saw a glimpse of the future of warfare in the skies. Off in the distance
they observed six jet propelled aircraft heading in the direction of the main bomber stream.
By November of 1944 the crew had completed over 30 sorties and were ready to be repatriated. Listed on the November 12th
Posted Out list the crew headed for "R" Depot and a trip home.