Pte William Richard Bell, 15th Battalion in Full Dress uniform - London 1915

Lieutenant William Richard Bell DCM

William Bell joined on 19 Sept. 1914 at the age of 18 as a Private in the 15th Battalion (48th Highlanders). During the 2nd Battle of Ypres in April 1915, the first gas attack of the war, Private Bell was wounded in the chest by a shrapnel but returned to active duty two months later. Bell was wounded again in Sept 1916 while on the Somme when shrapnel tore into his left leg at the thigh. He was evacuated to England and after a series of hospitals returned to the 15th Battalion the following March. He was promoted to Corporal in May, Lance Sergeant in July and was a Sergeant by Octo 1917. In June of that year Sergeant Bell had been wounded a third time but remained on duty.

During the battle of Amiens on 8/9 august Sergeant Bell was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his battlefield leadership of 6 Platoon and actions as Acting Company Sergeant Major of No. 2 Company. In late November 1918 he was commissioned Lieutenant.

In July 1936 Lieutenant Bell was one of four 15th Battalion veterans that composed the Canadian ex Serviceman Guard of Honour at the unveiling of the Vimy Memorial on Vimy Ridge, France. Bell died on 14 March 1939.

Awards

Date

Award
Citation
08/09-Aug-1918
Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)

While advancing through a wood in close support of the main attack, the platoon which this non-commissioned officer commanded met an enemy machine-gun nest of two guns which the first wave had passed. He mad a skillful flank attack, killing both crews. On reaching the final objective, the colour sergeant-major having been wounded, the N.C.O. superintended the reorganization and consolidation under heavy fire. He displayed brilliant leadership throughout the day.

NA
Unit
15th Bn (WW 1)
Service number
27666
Date of attestation
22-Sep-1914
Date Taken on Strength
22-Sep-1914
Fate
Released
Date struck off strength
29-Aug-1918
Cemetery or memorial name
Prospect Cemetery, Toronto
Cemetery or memorial country
Ontario, Canada
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