Plane of British World War Two airman found after 70 years

The plane of a British airman who went missing in Europe during World War Two has been discovered more than 70 years later.

Wreckage of a bomber manned by Sergeant Charles Armstrong Bell, which disappeared in 1943, was found submerged in Lake Markermeer, near Amsterdam, this week.

Sgt Bell, from Langley Park, Durham, was listed as Missing In Action – along with six other crew members – when their Short Sterling bomber BK716 was lost as it returned from a bombing run in Germany.

POLICE need help to track down relatives of a County Durham airman, whose plane has been discovered more than 70 years…

Posted by Durham Constabulary on Friday, January 24, 2020

As preparations get under way to recover the plane in March, Consett Police, part of Durham Constabulary, was contacted by the Bomber Command Museum of Canada to help track down any living relatives of the sergeant.

Police believe the remains of the crew are still on board, and so far the families of the six other airmen have been traced.

A spokesman from Durham Constabulary said: “Charles Armstrong Bell was the son of James Ainsley Bell and Elizabeth Bell and lived at 10, Quebec Street, Langley Park with his wife Frances.

“On his memorial stone he is listed as a son and husband, making us believe that he did not have children.

“Frances later remarried a John Wharton and may have had a sister by the name of Lilly Dobbin. Frances died in 2003 and we can find no record of Lilly Dobbin.

“It is unknown where family members may have ended up, so please share this post to maximise our chances of success.

“It would be great to help in this worthy cause to ensure that an airman who paid the ultimate sacrifice is represented by his family at his burial.”

Anyone with information should call Sgt Mawson at Consett Neighbourhood Policing Team.