News

Bomber recalls his war years

BEFORE AND AFTER: Corporal Jack Bell before the war (left) and as a prisoner-of-war. Photo contributed.
BEFORE AND AFTER: Corporal Jack Bell before the war (left) and as a prisoner-of-war. Photo contributed. Contributed.

REMEMBRANCE Daytoday marks the month 72 years ago that Corporal John "Jack" Bell came to Evans Head to undertake gunnery training at the RAAF's No.1 Bombing and Gunnery School.

The world was preparing for war and Jack was no exception, having joined the Royal Australian Artillery in 1936.

"This was the time when Hitler was 'rattling his sabre', as it were, and all realised that war was inevitable," he said.

"The government started a recruitment drive so I re-enlisted in early 1939."

Jack trained at Evans Head for four weeks, learning how to shoot at targets from an aeroplane, in preparation for their entry into the war.

Jack became part of a formidable flying force known as Bomber Command in the British RAF.

They flew many missions into Europe with the aim of bombing strategic sites used by the enemy, to help undermine their strength.

Jack was one of 10,000 Australians that served with Bomber Command during World War II, and while he survived the war, nearly 3500 didn't.

On January 23, 1942, Jack's brother Laurie's birthday, their squadron was shot down over Libya at around 10am by the German 15th Panzer division.

"They just blew us out of the sky," he said in a radio interview with Eddie McGuire for this year's Anzac Day.

"Not having parachutes, we had to crash, I was injured ... and the navigator was killed."

For the next three years, three months and three weeks, Jack was a prisoner-of-war.

"I was reported to my mother and father as 'missing in action, believed killed'," he said.

"Some six months later our neighbour in Toowong was listening to the Vatican's broadcast of prisoners and he heard my name, rank and number given out.

"You can imagine the relief to my family."

President of Evans Head Living Museum Richard Gates said that as yet there was no Australian memorial to recognise the bravery of Australian soldiers who served in Bomber Command.

"Jack Bell was typical of many people that trained at Evans Head where they were promised RAAF squadrons when they went overseas, only to find out they didn't exist and so had to fly with the RAF," he said.

"Evans Head would be an appropriate home for a Bomber Command memorial as more than a thousand who trained here were killed in battle.

"We think that's deserving of getting a recognition for Bomber Command."



Keeping up with an ageing population

Forum presenter, Aged Communications Consultant, Glen Sorensen.

New reforms for aged care service providers

Coast Rd traffic light stoush ahead of meeting

Aerial shot looking south from Skennars Head towards Ballina.
Photo The Northern Star Archives

Future of picturesque farm up for discussion

Grow your own dwarf citrus trees

There's a new meyer lemon called Lemonicious that produces lots of tangy, juicy fruit, has glossy green leaves and also beautifully-perfumed white flowers in spring. Plus it grows to a very manageable 1m when planted in a pot.

Tips and picks from gardening expert Angie Thomas

Local Partners

Pencil in your annual leave: Jetstar free return flights sale is on now

YOU can book a return flight to popular holiday hotspots right across the network and fly home for free, paying only for the departing flight on a return trip.


First female superhero film in 12 years

AMAZON: Actress Gal Gadot in a scene from the film Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman opens next Thursday

Stories Troy Cassar-Daley carries around

LEGEND: Troy Cassar-Daley after receiving the Golden Guitar Award for Album of the Year during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

You can see him in Ballina this weekend

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

19 dead, 50 injured in Ariana Grande 'terror attack'

NINETEEN people have been killed and at least 50 people have been injured following a terror attack in Manchester

Pitch Perfect star suing Woman’s Day over ‘liar’ articles

Actor Rebel Wilson outside court on Friday.

REBEL Wilson's career destroyed by grubby campaign, court hears.

First female superhero film in 12 years

AMAZON: Actress Gal Gadot in a scene from the film Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman opens next Thursday

Seven Year Switch: The boner to end all boners

Johnny’s outraged over claims he has a cracked boner.

She gulps. Her face says it all.

Bay to star in Hollywood shark thriller ‘Cage Dive’

Cage Dive, written and directed by Gerald Rascionato, is now screening in the United States of America. It had scenes filmed in Hervey Bay.

And our visiting humpback whales also make appearance.

Celebrity sex tapes: Where does all that money go?

Basically, did Paris and Kim earn fortunes from their videos?

Stories Troy Cassar-Daley carries around

LEGEND: Troy Cassar-Daley after receiving the Golden Guitar Award for Album of the Year during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

You can see him in Ballina this weekend

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

REVEALED: Where it's cheaper to pay off a mortgage than rent

6/190 Ewing Rd, Woodridge, is listed for offers $215,000. Picture: realestate.com.au

Brisbane suburbs where it is cheaper to buy than rent

The hardest place in the state to find a rental property

RENTAL SHORTAGE: Richmond River, Ballina Bar Emigrant Creek Pacific Highway Teven Interchange. Photo Jay Cronan / The Northern Star

Not enough supply to meet insatiable demand

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!