OTU - Seighford
George Anderson, Sgt Roy Bell, F/O Meryvn Gillman, P/O Herbert
Pearson & Sgt Andrew 'Stan' Miller
William Bell volunteered for the RAF in March 1941, eventually
training as a bomb aimer in Canada and America. He was
posted to 30 OTU at Seighford in Staffordshire in late October
1942, progressing to 1656 HCU in March 1943 and transferring
to 12 Squadron at Wickenby on 14th April 1943, around 3 weeks
ahead of my grandfather.
explains: "My parents met whilst Roy was stationed at
Seighford. Ellen Craig lived with her parents Jim and Amy
Craig in the nearby village of Derrington. My grandfather
operated a van delivery service as well as a taxi service
for airmen from the camps at Hixon and Seighford. My grandmother
kept open house for all the 'boys' who were far from their
own homes and my mother and her sister were regular attendees
at the camp dances, which is where she was literally 'swept
off her feet' by Roy.
father's tour of operations finished in October 1943 and they
were married at Seighford in January 1944.
is a sad post script to this story. Mervyn Durham Gillman
DFC, the pilot with my father's crew, was killed in a flying
accident on the way to my parent's wedding, his date of death
was 16th January. Roy and Ellen were married on 17th January
but were not told of Mervyn's death until after the wedding.
How tragic that such a courageous young airman should survive
30 flights over enemy territory only to die on his way to
a celebration in England. My mother believes he flew into
power lines or a radio mast in the Daventry area but I am
not sure if that would be recorded anywhere."
Bell died in 1987.
fabulous photographs probably taken by Roy and almost certainly