Veterans reunion draws a surprise gift for World War Two POW
WORLD War II Veteran, 97 year old Jack Bell was given a surprise gift at the recent RAAF Veterans Annual Reunion held at The Evans Head Living Museum.
Hayley Anderson, daughter museum volunteer Leeann Anderson, spotted Jack's picture as a young airman and asked if he would mind if she made a sketch of him.
Within a couple of days Hayley had completed the drawing, framed it and brought it along to the official opening luncheon for the Veterans where she presented it to him.
Mr Bell was both surprised and delighted with the drawing and took it back with him to Melbourne to show his family.
Hayley has no formal training but loves to draw.
She is qualified in Aged Care but is also interest in a career where she can use her obvious skills as an artist.
Jack Bell's history
Mr Bell, who turns 98 in December, is patron of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee.
He spoke on behalf of Veterans at the official unveiling of the F-111 at Evans Head in 2013.
He trained in the second course at Evans Head during World War II and was sent to North Africa where his plane was shot down by a German tank.
Mr Bell was badly wounded but was treated by a German doctor in a German field hospital who spoke impeccable English.
It turned out the doctor had been a Harley Street specialist in England.
He saved Mr Bell's life.
Mr Bell, however, has been unable to locate him or his family to thank him for his kindness.
He subsequently became a POW for more than three years in a German Stalag (IVB).
Visit to London
Mr Bell was recently one of seven RAAF WWII Personnel who travelled to Europe for the 70th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Celebrations.
During his trip he met Prince Charles and they had a chat.
Mr Bell won't reveal the nature of his conversation with Prince Charles but was told to say when asked "we discussed the trams in Melbourne."
He is a well-known figure in Victoria for his contribution to the welfare of Veterans and their families.
Local Federal Member Kevin Hogan was also a guest at the official opening of the Veterans Reunion weekend.