The Royal Air Force Victory Bell was created for the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund. Its purpose was to raise money to help serving and former members of the R.A.F. and families, as well as to assist in the upkeep of the R.A.F. Memorial. The RAF Benevolent Fund was founded in 1919 after WWI; it continues to be a registered charity and receives no government assistance.
Conrad Parlanti was the designer of the Bell. Conrad Parlanti was born in London in 1903 to his father Ercole Parlanti, who was a prominent bronze artist. Ercole was commissioned to cast his most famous work, the casting of the RAF War Memorial, which is located on the embankment of the River Thames.
The Bells were cast in 1946 from aluminum taken from German aircraft shot down over London during the London “Blitz. The Bells have images of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin.
Some of the first Bells were auctioned by Chesney Allen of the WWII famous entertainers “Flanagan & Allen”. During the London “Blitz”, Flanagan & Allen, who were radio and vaudeville entertainers, would visit the air raid shelters and the underground railway stations that were used as air raid shelters to entertain the people. The auction took place at the first Battle of Britain dinner held at the Hungarian Restaurant in London, shortly after D-Day. As much as 1200 pounds was paid for the first few Bells that evening.
Here at the Comox Air Force Museum, located in Comox B.C., we have had two Victory Bells donated to our vast collection of Air Force memorabilia.
Note of interest: One of the latest “donations” to the Benevolent Fund, was a recent auction held in London for the log books of WWII fighter ace Douglas Bader. The amount raised was 23000 UK pounds, and the money was generously donated to the fund.