In Memory of
Army Airborne Flight Officer
Donald D. Bell
Watertown, South Dakota
June 24, 1912 – March 24, 1945
Killed in Action over Germany
Donald D. Bell was born June 24, 1912, at Watertown,
Codington County, South Dakota, to Clement and Ora Bell. His father was a
Spanish War veteran. He was raised and educated in Watertown, graduating from
Watertown High School. Donald was married and had a son, John Hudson Bell.
On April 29, 1941, Donald Bell entered active service at
Watertown, and then was transferred to the Air Corps. After training, Bell
received his wings and commission as a flight officer. He went overseas on March
21, 1944. As an Airborne Army Flight Officer, he flew planes in Europe.
As a member of the 305th Squadron, 442nd
Troop Carrier Group, AAF Flight Officer Donald Bell was killed by enemy fire
after successfully landing his glider full of troops in Germany. In those days,
a glider pilot, after landing the craft, fought alongside his troops since a
glider had no engine and was unable to take off again after landing.
His brother, Richard W.
Bell, was in Germany in the 69th Division of the First Army when
Donald was there. With all the fighting and being in different sectors, they
never were able to see each other. Richard did not hear of the death of his
brother for two weeks, until he received the letter from their parents after the
Army had notified them. Donald D. Bell was buried at Plot E, Row 16, Grave 17,
Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Holland. He was awarded the Air
Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters.
Tragic as even the one
death was, Donald’s brother, John Bell, was also killed in action in the Battle
of the Java Sea.
This entry was respectfully submitted by Jessica
Lawrence, 8th Grade West, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South
Dakota, February 10, 2000 and updated 2002. Information for this entry was
provided by Richard Bell of Watertown, South Dakota, brother of Donald Bell, and
Jean Dorman and Margaret Tillma of Castlewood, South Dakota, sisters of Donald