DB Bell

David Brown Bell MMwBar


     David Brown Bell was born and brought up in Scotland and was educated in the public schools there. He learned the trade of electrician in Edinburgh and came to Canada in 1910. He was fond of outdoor sports and took particular pleasure in football.

He first resided in Cobourg, Ontario, for two years, but was employed in the Standard Ideal factory in Port Hope when he joined the 21st Battalion in October 1914, training in Kingston and going overseas in May 1915. This famous battalion went to France as a unit and Bell was attached to the stretcher bearers section with which he remained throughout his military career. He saw service in Ypres, St. Eloi, Courcelette, Vimy, Amiens and all the engagements in which his unit participated.

He rose to the rank of sergeant, won the Military Medal and Bar and was mentioned in despatches for bravery. He served for nearly three years in France without a wound but was killed on 27 August 1918 in the great drive that eventually brought victory to the Allies. His last letters to his wife contained the news of his promotion to the rank of sergeant.


Photo and text reproduced with permission

Taken from the "Book of Remembrance (A record of the men of Port Hope who participated in the Great War of 1914-1918)" by James A. Elliott, Chairman of Committee, Port Hope, Jan. 1st, 1919.

Below is a summary of his service file


Aug 14, 1887

Born at Galashields Scotland


Nov 14, 1914

Attested into the 21st Battalion at Kingston Ontario 

Ø     Number 59053 (temporary number 37)

Ø     Next of kin given as Annie Bell (wife) of John St., Port Hope, Ontario

Ø     Previous occupation given as Electric Crane Operator

Ø     No previous military experience given

Ø     Religion given as Presbyterian

Ø     Assigned to “A” Company


May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama at Montreal Quebec



May 15, 1915

Disembarked at Devonport England and proceeded to West Sandling Camp, near Hythe, Kent


Sep 14, 1915

Embarked the St Seiriol at Folkestone



Sep 15, 1915

Disembarked at Boulogne France


Apr 15, 1916

Appointed to rank of Lance Corporal


Nov 14, 1916

Awarded the Good Conduct Badge


Dec 9, 1916

Awarded the Military Medal per London Gazette #29854


 Citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during two days fighting Sept 15/17th.  He brought in many wounded men from "No Man's Land" and especially on the afternoon of the 16th when under very heavy shell fire he brought in from an advanced position an Officer who had been seriously wounded

Aut AFW 3121


Jan 8, 1917

Attached to the 4th CIB (Canadian Infantry Brigade) Transport Section


Jul 18, 1917

Reported to Field Ambulance as being sick with Impetigo in left foot


Jul 22, 1917

Transferred to No 6 CCS (Casualty Clearing Station)


Jul 30, 1917

Rejoined the 4th CIB from hospital


Aug 25, 1917

Returned to the 21st Battalion


Oct 19, 1917

Promoted to rank of Cpl


Dec 4, 1917

Granted 14 days leave


Apr 25, 1918

Awarded a Bar to Military Medal per London Gazette #30652


 Citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.  In connection with a raid on the enemy after penetrating through the enemy's front line this NCO displaying marked courage and determination, led his bombing section in an attack which resulted in the destruction of the garrison of a hostile post.  His appreciation of the situation and handling of it unquestionably contributed materially to the success of the main raiding party, which would have been subjected to fire from this post.  His example in action has repeatedly been an inspiration to his comrades

AFW 3121  7-3-18


Aug 2, 1918

Promoted to rank of Sgt


Aug 9, 1918

Reported to No 22 General Hospital at Camiers with ICT (Inter Connective Tissue) infection of left foot. 

Length of stay was not recorded, but it is likely that he was not admitted.


Aug 27, 1918          Killed in Action



 Wancourt British Cemetery
Pas de Calais France


 Oct 1, 1918

Pension granted to his wife in the amount of $672.00 per year


Apr 15, 1921

British War Medal, Victory Medal and the 1914-15 Star sent to his widow at Box 82, Port Hope Ontario


Jun 1, 1921

Plaque and Scroll sent to widow


Aug 3, 1922

Memorial Cross sent to widow


During the Remembrance Day ceremonies in 2008, Veteran's Affairs Canada conducted a vigil each night for the week leading up to November 11.  This vigil consisted of projecting the names of every Canadian soldier who is listed with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on various buildings and monuments across Canada, and in London England.  The photo below shows David Bell's name being projected on the outside wall of Canada House in London England.


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