Fallen airman remembered

By Pat Sunderland


Fallen airman remembered | World War II, history

Photo by Pat Sunderland More than 300 pieces from a downed World War II Navy aircraft were discovered on private property in Osteen, Fla., and later associated with a pilot from Delta County. Some of those artifacts are displayed in the Delta Museum; addi

At the Delta County Museum, a World War II exhibit showcases activities on the home front to support the war effort. There's also a memorial for William "Billy" Bellmire, the Delta pilot who was killed in a training exercise at Deland Naval Air Station in Florida. Fragments of his aircraft and some personal effects were recently recovered and passed along to museum director Jim Wetzel, along with a shadow box Wetzel presented to two of Bellmire's distant cousins, Frank Pace and Susanne Bellmire Schultz. Included in the shadow box are a parachute buckle/cord, a belt buckle and gold chain.

Ensign Bellmire is buried in the Delta City Cemetery next to his parents, Clarence and Shirley (Roady) Bellmire. He was 25, an only child and unmarried at the time of his death, Feb. 1, 1944. Additional artifacts are displayed at the Deland Naval Air Station Museum, an all-volunteer not-for-profit organization dedicated to commemorating the men and women who have served in America's armed conflicts. The museum occupies the base's former master-at-arms quarters and is a historic landmark.