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bell-williamWilliam Bell was born and resided in Wigan. He was the son of Edward and Maud Bell, of 36 Boyswell Lane, Wigan.

When war broke out he enlisted into Kitchener’s Army and joined the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

William sailed to France on 25th September 1915. This was the day the 9th Battalion deployed but there is no indication he was part of the 9th. Once in France William met up with the 8th Battalion who had deployed at the beginning of that month.

On 21st May 1916 Private William Bell was killed in action near Broadmarsh Crater.

21st May 1916 – Broadmarsh Crater

German guns were firing heavily, cutting off communication between the 8th Bn front-line and their headquarters. At about 19:30hrs a mine exploded near the crater, and with that the enemy attacked in successive waves.

The Battalion held their ground admirably during this heavy attack, and were reduced to fighting with bayonets having completely expended their rifle and bomb supply before beginning to fall back.

Casualties were high, 3 officers killed, 5 officers wounded; 27 other ranks killed, 107 wounded and 15 missing.

It was during this action that Lt R. B. B. Jones was killed, his gallantry on this night seeing him posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

His mother was recorded as his legal next of kin. Maud would later receive William’s 1914/15 star, British War Medal and Victory Medal and the Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

Rank: Private
Service No: 19029
Date of Death: 21/05/1916
Age: 25
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 8th Bn.

Paul McCormick
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