Topic: Alexander Law Bell (1897-1918)

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Alexander Law Bell was aged 21 when he died of his wounds on the battlefield in France during World War I (1914-1918). His brother, John Edward Bell, was also killed during the war. They were my second great uncle's - Debbie McCauley.

Alexander Law Bell (1897-1918)

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Alexander Law Bell was born in Feilding on 22 July 1897 (reg. 1897/8817) to Edward and Mary Bell (nee Watt) who  married in Turakina on 19 May 1881. He had blue eyes and brown hair.

He worked as a Drover at Taupiri in the Waikato.

Alexander enlisted at Taupiri for World War I (1914-1918) on 14 May 1917. Like many of his peers, he 'misrepresented' his age on his enlistment papers, giving 22 July 1894 as his birth date and therefore bumping his age up to 22, rather than the 19 that he actually was. 

He was a Private (Service No. 12/1885) with the Auckland Infantry Battalion, embarking along with his older brother John with the 4th Reinforcements from Wellington on 17 April 1915 aboard either the Willochra or Knight Templar or Waitomo for Suez, Egypt.

On 3 September 1915 Alexander was admitted to hospital in the Dardanelles suffering from a crushed foot. On 25 September 1915 he was admitted to the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Cairo suffering from Diphtheria. He is also noted to have been acutely ill with Typhoid. Alexander appears to have been invalided out and was discharged on 27 July 1916.

On 16 February 1917 the Medical Board examined him and found him 'now in good health and in a suitable condition for acceptance for re-enlistment'.

His older brother John was killed in Belgium on 17 June 1917.

Alexander embarked for a second time as a Gunner with 32nd Reinforcements New Zealand Field Artillery, embarking with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force from Wellington on 21 November 1917 aboard the Maunganui for Liverpool, England.

Alexander was wounded on the battlefield in France, most likely during The Battle of Amiens. He died from his wounds in the field at the Advanced Dressing Station of No. 3 N.Z. Field Ambulance on 9 August 1918 (reg. 1918/85611).

He was buried at Couin New British Cemetery in Pas-de-Calais, France (Row G, Grave 10).

Alexander Law Bell (1897-1918)


Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Cenotaph Database (Auckland War Memorial Museum).

Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Military personnel file (Archives New Zealand).


A version of this article was archived in July 2016 at Perma CC

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Alexander Law Bell (1897-1918)

Note:Service Number: 12/1885
First Names:Alexander Law
Last Name:Bell
Date of Birth:22 July 1897
Place of Birth:Feilding
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:9 August 1918
Place of death:France
Place of burial:Couin New British Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France
Fathers name:Edward Bell
Fathers date of birth:24 December 1846
Fathers place of birth:South Kirby, Yorkshire, England
Fathers date of death:20 May 1912
Fathers place of death:Orini
Fathers nationality:English
Mothers name:Mary Watt
Mothers date of birth:5 January 1860
Mothers place of birth:Wanganui
Mothers date of death:21 May 1949
Mothers place of death:Boundary Road, Hamilton
Name of sibilings:Ivy Cecilia Cox, Percy Lyell Bell, Vincent Bell, Allen Gerrie Bell, Greame Jewett, William Bell, Annie Mary Bell, Ida May Bell, Mildred Caroline Garmonsway, and John Edward Bell
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918)