George Richard Arthur BELL


BELL, George Richard Arthur

Service Number: 13191
Enlisted: 25 September 1916
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 4th Motor Transport Company
Born: Mackay, Queensland, Australia, November 1894
Home Town: Auburn, Auburn, New South Wales
Schooling: Mackay Public School and Technical College, Queensland, Australia
Occupation: Motor Engineer
Died: Appendicitis, 41st Stationary Hospital, Dury les Amiens, France, 1 December 1918
Cemetery: Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery
Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery (Plot XIII, Row BB, Grave No. 1), Fouilloy, France, Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

25 Sep 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Driver, SN 13191, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Auxiliary Transport Companies
22 Dec 1916: Involvement Driver, SN 13191, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Auxiliary Transport Companies
22 Dec 1916: Embarked Driver, SN 13191, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Auxiliary Transport Companies, HMAT Persic, Melbourne
2 Aug 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Driver, 5th Division Supply Column
13 Aug 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 5th Division Supply Column
12 Mar 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Corporal, 4th Motor Transport Company
1 Dec 1918: Involvement Corporal, SN 13191

Help us honour George Richard Arthur Bell's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

Cpl George Richard Arthur BELL  13191

Here in the Somme, under the poppies, rest in peace for eternity young men who came from so far and who fought for France with admirable bravery, they were young and all had in their hearts hopes of peace and gave their everything for a peaceful future.them who gave their today for our tomorrow, France, the Somme will never forget them, the Somme will be forever grateful to them, we will never forget them and today, it is with all my heart, with deep gratitude that I would like to honor the memory of one of these men, I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Corporal number 13191 George Richard Arthur Bell who fought in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Auxiliary Transport Company of the Australian Army Service Corps and who died of illness 102 years ago,on December 1, 1918 at the age of 34 on the Somme front.

George Richard Arthur Bell was born in 1884 in Mackay, Queensland, and was the son of Richard and Jane Bell. He was educated at Public School then at Technical College in Mackay. He was married to Ethel Maud Bell and lived in C Palmer " Talamai ", Macquarie Road, Auburn, New South Wales, where he worked as a motor engineer.

Enlisted on September 25, 1916 at the age of 32 in Sydney, New South Wales, in the Auxiliary Mechanical Transport Company 2, Head-Quarters as a driver, he embarked with his unit from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A34 Persic on December 22, 1916 and sailed for England and was disembarked to Devonport on March 3, 1917 and was sent to the Australian Army Service Camp at Parkhouse to receive his training. Three months later, on June 20, 1917, George sailed for France where he arrived in Le Havre on June 21.A few weeks later, on July 7, he was sent to the 1st Auxiliary General Hospital in Rouen suffering from sciatica.The following month, on August 8, he was promoted to the rank of Corporal and a few days later, on August 18, he was again admitted to Rouen hospital with scabies and was transferred to Stationary Hospital in Arques.On August 27, he was sent to the 7th Convalescent Depot in Boulogne then to the 10th Convalescent Depot in Ecault before joining the 3rd Rest Camps of Ecault on September 10, 1917.

A month later, on October 20, George was sent to the Somme front but six months later, on April 18, 1918 he was evacuated to the 4th Australian Field Ambulance suffering from trench fever and was evacuated to England on April 22, then transferred to 1st Auxiliary Hospital in Hurdcott, England.After recovery, he was sent to the Australian Military Camp at Tidworth on September 9, 1918 until October 26 and sailed again for France from Southampton on October 27 and arrived in Le Havre on October 28. A month later, on November 8, George joined his unit in the Somme where he served with great courage but a few weeks later, on November 24, he was evacuated at the 41st Casualty Clearing Station in the Villers-Bretonneux sector suffering from gastritis then appendicitis but unfortunately,a few days later, on December 1, 1918, he died of peritonitis, he was 34 years old.

Today, Corporal George Richard Arthur Bell rests in peace with his friends, comrades and brothers in arms at Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery and his grave bears the following inscription "Peace perfect peace with loved ones far away".

on April 29, 1918, George's wife, Ethel, received a very mysterious letter that three young boys discovered in Lake Bonny, Florida, here is what is written:
"Dear Madam,While we were down to Lake Bonny for a fishing trip,we walked from the lake to the sea and as we were walking along the beach,we saw a bottle on it,and on picking it up we discovered in it a letter which I am enclosing with this.As it is from your husband,we are sending it along to you.Hoping this and the enclosed letter reaches you in the same order as it leaves us,I remain,yours sincerely".

The letter in the bottle was from Corporal George Richard Arthur Bell,who wrote:
"To whoever may find this note,please post to the address and many thanks from a soldier far from home".

The note was written on the Persic by Corporal Bell on Christmas eve,1916,and had been tossing about the ocean wave for close on 16 months.
George, Sir, you who served with bravery for your country, Today I would like to express to you my deepest respects and all my gratitude, today we honor your memory, that of a man who did his duty with courage and devotion, of a man who answered the call to duty and who crossed the ocean to come and fight on the lands of France, in the trenches and the battlefields of the Somme who saw so many of your comrades who fell under rains of bullets and under shells of steel which were poured day and night at an infernal rate which, in the flames of gigantic explosions, plowed and pounded the grounds in deafening thunders. Feet in the icy water of the trenches and in the blood that so many young men shed, they fought with incredible determination, with perseverance, with their hearts, with their convictions, in the mud,under the dismal roar of cannons, in the darkness of the war raging all around them, they saw the worst horrors that are sometimes hard to imagine and faced the death that surrounded them.Feet deep in the mud, they fought meter after meter, losing so many of their comrades who, in a last dash on no man's land were mown down by machine guns and shells under clouds of poisoned gas and yet they moved forward, fingers clenched on their rifles and on the baionettes, they followed their comrades, their friends, their brothers, their fathers and showed the determination of a whole country, Australia.over a hundred years ago, the australians and the french fought side by side and forged sincere friendships, fighting together for the same causes, the australians and australia have a very big place in our hearts, they who did not know France, fought here as if this country were their own country, as if they were born here and gave their lives for us, in the ruins of our devastated villages, the Australian soldiers forged very strong links with the French people, here in Amiens, in Villers-Bretonneux, we will never forget them, France will be forever grateful to them for everything they did for us and will always be, here, in the Somme, at home and we will always lovingly watch over you loved ones, on your relatives who did not had the chance to return home but who will always have, in France and in our hearts, a place of honor, I will always be present for them,I would always stand in front of them with the utmost respect and with the love they all deserve and will always be in my heart, loved as if they were all my brothers, my fathers, they will forever be my boys of the Somme for whom I would always do my best with all my love, my energy and my devotion so that each one of them is never forgotten, I would always share their stories, the stories of men who did so much and gave so much for our country alongside their brothers in arms, the story of a generation of men who gave their today so that today we can live free and in peace and I would like to say this "I am French but the Australian sun will always shine in my heart ". Thank you George, for all that you have done for us, your name, your history, will never be forgotten just like those of all your brothers in arms who, under the flame of remembrance that we will always carry with pride, will never cease to shine and live forever.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him,we will remember them