Flt/Lt (Ret'd) Colin S Bell DFC AE FRICS IRRV (Hons)

Colin S Bell (Distinguished Flying Cross - AE) served in WW2 on operations as a Mosquito Bomber Pilot.   He was born in 1921, joined the Royal Air Force towards the end of 1940 and his flying training was carried out in the United States of America prior to their entry into the War (before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour) in December 1941. During this interim period, he was nominally a civilian and wore civilian clothes - all provided by the Royal Air Force, of course.

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Following Pearl Harbour and having been commissioned into the RAF, Colin Bell as retained by the American Army Air Corps as an advanced single engine flying instructor responsible for training American and British Cadets. On his return to the UK in 1943, he converted to twin engine Mosquito Bombers and joined 608 Squadron (Pathfinder Group) based at Downham Market inNorfolk.

During his tour of operations he carried out 50 bombing raids - all overGermany- 13 of them overBerlin. Subsequently, he was transferred to ferry duties bringing back newly built Mosquitos from Canada to the UK with stop-offs at Goose Bay, Labrador,  Bluey West 1 (on the West coast of Greenland), Reykjavik in Iceland, and finally into Prestwick in Ayrshire, Scotland.  He ended his full time RAF service in 1946 flying out of Blackbushe nr Camberley carrying Diplomatic mail to Embassies situated in various parts of Europe and Africa. Post World War 2, he qualified as a Chartered Surveyor, served for many years as a Government District Valuer, and finally set up his own firm, of which he is now the active Senior Partner, specialising in the valuation of industrial premises for rating purposes.

His interests outside his family include walking, touring the UK, supporting the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund through speaking engagements, socialising, and enjoying good food and wine.   He is an active member of the Royal Air Force Club Dining Society and attends most of their functions.  Until recently he served on the Committee of the Air Crew Association, Biggin Hill Wing.    He was made a Freeman of the City of London on 13th January 1987 and of the the District of Huntingdonshire on 17th August 2013.

He married his late wife Kathlyn in July 1943, has two children, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.  Colin lives in Royal Tunbridge Wells, the last resting place of Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, Chief of Fighter Command who master-minded the Air Defence of the UK in the Battle of Britain.

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