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John R Bell Jr.


On 4-Mar-43 in B-17F 41-24549 'Stupen Takit', 91BG/323BS while serving as Bombardier, the aircraft sustained a direct hit from AA fire just after leaving the target of the railroad marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany. CPT McCarty ordered a bale out, but 1LT Bell and TG SSGT George W. Engle were the only two crewmen that managed to parachute from the aircraft before it exploded. The aircraft crashed at Buldern, Germany. Prisoner of War (POW) for 2. 5 years. Liberated by Patton's army.


Units served with

  • 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    The 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated at Harding Field, Louisiana on 15-April-1942 and went to MacDill Field, Florida for the first phase of training from 16-May-1942 to 25-June-1942. The Group was then assigned to 2nd Air Force at Walla...

  • 323rd Bomb Squadron


  • 41-24549 Stupen Takit

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F-25-BO 41-24549 'Stupen Takit was assigned 323BS/91BG [OR-Q] Bangor 10-Oct-42; Bassingbourn 11-Oct-42; Missing in Action (MIA) 14 missions over Hamm, Germany 4-Mar-43 The aircraft took a direct flak just after the target and exploded just minutes...


  • VIII Bomber Command 39

    4 March 1943
    After several weather-caused aborted attempts in attacking the marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany, the 8th Air Force is finally successful in attacking this target. A total of 71 B-17s are despatched: 91BG (20); 303BG (18); 305BG (12) amd 306BG (21)....

Associated Place

  • Bassingbourn

    Military site : airfield
    Now home to a museum all about the aifield and its USAAF residents ( , Bassingbourn opened in 1938 as part of the RAF's pre-war expansion programme. The RAF continued to use it until late in 1942 when its long...


Event Location Date
Born Prescott, Arizona
Prisoner of War (POW) Zagan, Poland 4 March 1943 – 2 July 1945

Held at Stalag Luft 3, Sagan-Silesia (now Poland)moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser. Officially Returned to Military Control (RMC) 2-Jul-45.


Date Contributor Update
25 June 2015 18:15:20 Lee8thbuff Changes to highest rank, biography, awards, events, place associations and mission associations

Lee Cunningham 25-Jun-2015 . Added decoration and POW event per National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WII POW database. Confirmed SN MACR 15596. Made connections to Place and Mission within existing website data. Added A/C model letter, unit association, crew position, loss details and A/C crash location to Summary Biogrpahy based on "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces:, Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:16:34 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 15596 / MACR 15596 , Losses of the 8th and 9th AFs Vol. I by Bishop and Hey, pp. 87-88, The Ragged Irregulars of Bassingbourne by Havelaar p. 236, The 91st Bomb Group by Burdick p. 111, National WWII monument family entries / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database