To mark Armistice Day (11 November) and Remembrance Sunday (12 November), I would like to take this opportunity to commemorate those who bravely served in the Second World War, including RAF veterans who fought for their country.
I joined the RAF towards the end of 1940. My flying training was carried out in America prior to their entry into War (before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour) in December 1941.
I carried out 50 bombing raids over Germany as a Mosquito Bomber, including 13 over Berlin. It was the heavy bomber crews, flying from the same base, who were the real heroes to me though.
They flew much more vulnerable and slower aircraft, and suffered far higher casualties than we did. We all lost many men however, including dear friends of mine – their sacrifice will stay with me forever.
During Remembrance weekend, our thoughts naturally turn to the Second World War veterans like me, but we must also remember those who answered their country’s call to serve more recently in Ukraine, Afghanistan and other conflicts.
We must collectively show support for serving personnel and their families, veterans, cadets, and reservists.
This year, as I turned 102, I wanted to do my bit to raise much needed funding for three charities, including the RAF Benevolent Fund.
The charity does the most amazing job in supporting members of the RAF Family though thick and thin, providing practical, emotional and financial support.
I raised over £8,000 for the charity thanks to the generous support from friends, family, and the general public.
During this anniversary and always, I’d like to remind all members of the RAF Family that support is available from the Fund, whenever it is needed.
Flight Lieutenant Colin Bell (DFC AE FRICS WW2 Mosquito Bomber Pilot)