AFM 200-25   16 January 1961               Korean War POW/MIA Network

Bell, William John

 2d Lt (promoted to 1st Lt while MIA); 22108A
17th Bomb Wing;     Navigator B-26 ; 44-35407A
Identifying Data:  Birth Date. 2 March 1928    Race. Caucasian
Eyes: blue; Hair: brown; Height: 5'
Distinguishing Marks. Wears glasses.

Circumstances of Loss:

1. Reported MIA 7 October 1952.

2. Lt Bell's aircraft, carrying a crew of four, departed at 1425 hours, 7 October 1952, as lead plane of a formation of six B-26's on a daylight bombing mission. Just prior to bombs away the plane was struck by flak and caught fire. It dropped its bombs, called "Mayday", and instructed the deputy lead to take over. It then veered 45 degrees left and descended into mountainous territory where it crashed and exploded in flames at about 1612 hours. The plane was observed by others of the formation during most of its descent, but for about 45 seconds it was out of sight. No parachutes were sighted in the air or on the ground.

Conclusion:

Lt Bell could have bailed out while the plane was out of sight or survived the crash, but neither seem likely.

Personal History:

Birthplace. Washington, D.C.

Cities of Residence. Norfolk, Va.; Washington, D.C.

Wife & Children.(redacted)

 

Civilian Schools:   High School, Norfolk, Va., 1946.

Military Schools. U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. (electrical engineer, B.S., 1950 or 51); Ellington AFB, Tex. (navigation, Apr. 52) ; Langley AFB, Va. (combat crew training, Jul. 52).

Previous Occupation. Student.

Languages. Speaks, reads, and writes Spanish poorly.

Korean War POW/MIA Network