In Memory of
Army Airborne Flight Officer
Donald D. Bell
Watertown, South Dakota
Codington County
June 24, 1912 – March 24, 1945
Killed in Action over Germany

Donald D. Bell

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 D. Bell.