Private 203211 Thomas Bell

 Bell Thomas 96 400x600

Killed in Action on Saturday, 26th May 1917, age 30.
Buried in Grave II. B. 6. at Maroc British Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

'A' Company of 1st/5th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 137th Brigade of 46th Division.
Formerly 3324 South Staffordshire Regiment.

Son of John and Eliza Bell, of 91, Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and Salem Chapel memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/522766/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
51 Sheepwash Lane, Staffs.
Thomas Bell (38, Rivetter in Iron Works, born Dudley), his wife Eliza (36, born Tipton), and their 4 children: Susan (16, born Great Bridge), Thomas (14, Barber's Apprentice, born Great Bridge), Florrie (10, born Great Bridge), and Elsie (2, born Great Bridge).

1911 Census
91 Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
Eliza Bell (46, Married, born Tipton), and 3 of her 4 surviving children of 5: Thomas (24, Hairdresser, born Tipton), Florence (20, born Tipton), and Elsie (12, School, born Tipton).

Personal Data

None Available.

Action resulting in his death

In March 1917 the Division relieved the 24th Division in front of Lens in the Lievin sector, and it remained there for four months. During this time much hard fighting took place, which culminated in the attack on Lievin on July 1st, 1917. From the time the sector was taken over, the line was advanced an average of 2,000yards, and the ground captured a number of small mining villages and the important tactical point Hill 65.

On the 24th May the 1/6th North Staffs from the same 137th Brigade as Thomas had launched an attack to the north of Lens, near the Loos Crassier, with the objective of Nash and Netley trenches. This was successfully carried out, but German counter-attack was inevitable. This came during the night of the 24th/25th which was repulsed, but the morning brought a heavy bombardment followed up by a battalion strength German attack which forced the North Staffs out of the newly-captured positions.

It was during the support operations for this operation on 26th May that Thomas Bell and William Wright were killed in action, both are buried in Maroc British Cemetery just a few graves apart.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald July 7th 1917
Among recent casualty lists are as follows:-
Pte. J. Bell, South Staffs, killed.
Pte. W. Wright, South Staffs, killed.