Bell, Alexander Stewart (Alec)
Chief Petty Officer
HMS Magic II, Royal Navy
Died of disease in service on Tuesday 3 December 1918 (aged 24)
Bangor Abbey Graveyard
Bangor and District War Memorial
Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque
Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum
Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church Bangor
Alexander Stewart (Alec) Bell was born on 29 August 1894 in Holborn Street, Bangor and he was a son of Alexander and Martha Bell (nee Smiley, sometimes Smylie) who were married on 5 January 1892 in First Bangor Presbyterian Church. Alexander Bell from Bangor was a son of Alexander Bell, deceased. Martha Smiley from Bangor was a daughter of James Smiley, a weaver.
Alexander Bell Senior was a sailor and he and Martha had two children:
James Smylie (born 7 January 1893 in Gray’s Hill, Bangor)
Alexander Stewart (Alec, born 29 August 1894 in Holborn Street, Bangor)
The Bell family lived at 12 Sandy Row (now Queen’s Parade), Bangor
Alexander Stewart Bell was 12 when his father Alexander died of locomotor atrophy on 17 October 1906 (aged 56). Alexander Bell Senior had been suffering from paralysis for some 12 years.
After she was widowed Alec’s mother Martha ran a boarding house in Abbey Street, Bangor before moving to 55 Railwayview Street, Bangor.
During the First World War Alec Bell served as a Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy and he was 24 when he died in Bristol on 3 December 1918.
His ship, Magic II (originally Magic), was built in 1893 by Harland & Wolff for the Belfast Steamship Company and during the First World War she served as a hospital ship.
When the Royal Navy launched a destroyer named HMS Magic in 1915 there was confusion and so, in 1916, the original Magic was renamed Magic II.
The ship was returned to the Belfast Steamship Company in 1919 by which time she had been renamed Classic.
It was reported in The Northern Whig on 28 December 1918 that Petty Officer Alex. S. Bell (of the SS Dunaff Head), son of Mrs Bell, 55 Railway View, Bangor had passed away at the Royal Infirmary, Bristol, his death being due to pneumonia. Before the war he had served as a Steward on the SS Graphic and on the outbreak of hostilities joined HMHS Magic II, which was attached to the Grand Fleet.
His cousin, Sergeant Major Austin Bell, Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action in 1917.
Alec Bell was buried in Bangor Abbey Graveyard and there is an inscription on his headstone:
DIED 17TH OCTOBER 1906
ALSO HIS YOUNGER SON
DIED 3RD DECEMBER 1918
AGED 24 YEARS
Alec’s mother Martha died on 25 June 1945.
Chief Petty Officer Alexander Stewart Bell is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial; on the Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque; in the Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum and in Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church Bangor.