Airborne Engineers Association

George Bell

 

 

George Bell

George passed away 2nd January 2011

George was one of the first three-year regulars to join the Squadron in Egypt. These three-year men were at first viewed with some suspicion, but they soon settled down into the Squadron routine. George was a cheerful, conscientious Sapper and was soon promoted to Lcpl, during which time he served as Orderly Corporal in the Squadron office. George took part in most of the internal security duties in which the Squadron was involved and with his troop parachuted into Jordan on a brigade exercise. Soon after the Squadron returned to Aldershot George completed his service and was discharged, only to be recalled to the colours for the Suez emergency in 1956.

He was immediately promoted to Lcpl and took part in the various mountain operations and village searches in Cyprus. On 5th November '56 he landed at Port Said with the seaborne element of the Squadron. After securing the town, the Squadron spent a few more days in limbo due to the cease-fire and eventually returned to Cyprus. In mid-December 16 Para Brigade returned to the UK by Shackleton airlift and George, with the rest of the reservists, was demobbed for the second time. (John Elliott)


George, as I remember him, was when we served together in the Canal Zone, in the fifties. He was a gentle, kind­hearted man, with a great sense of humour. I lost touch with him when we arrived back from the Canal Zone, probably due to him getting demobbed; he did have an invite to my wedding, but was unable to come.

The next contact I had with George was when t had a letter from him asking me if this was the year for our fiftieth wedding anniversary (2004), this was sent to us in Australia where we now lived. I wrote back to him with real pleasure and when we planned a holiday in New Zealand (where George now lived). We arranged to meet up at Taupo. Our stop before Taupo was Rotorua. The hotel we were to stay in had a big restaurant and we were going to see a "Maori show". We found a bottle of wine in our room and within seconds there was George and his wife Phyllis knocking on our door, in an early surprise visit together with the bottle of wine!

As they had arrived earlier he bubbled me (a la 9 Sqn) to take part in the "Maori show, they needed a chief to say a few words, so I had to go on the stage and rub a few noses. Then he also did a bit more stirring, by letting the whole restaurant know it was our 50th wedding anniversary, so Renee (my wife) and I had to go up on the stage and more nose rubbing!

We had hoped to get them over for a visit with us but it was not meant to be, our means of contact was letters and Christmas cards.
One day we had a surprise parcel from George (that was the kind of man he was), containing six lovely wooden beer mats, personally carved by him with Pegasus and Bellerophon on one side and Badge Para c/w Wings on the other side. A gift I shall treasure always.

We will always miss George. (George & Rene Jones)


 

 

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