No. 9885, 2nd Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
Killed in action on Monday 27 September 1915 (aged 26)
Cambrin Churchyard Extension, France (Grave C. 5)
Greyabbey and District War Memorial located on the outside wall of
Greyabbey Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Saviour)
Family grave headstone in Greyabbey Old Graveyard
James Bell was born on 7 January 1889 in Greyabbey and he was the second son of Hugh and Ellen Bell (nee Stewart) who were married on 29 April 1872 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s). Hugh Bell (aged 21), a carpenter from Greyabbey, was a son of James Bell, a carpenter. Ellen Stewart (aged 21) from Greyabbey was a daughter of Robert Stewart, a weaver.
The Bell family lived in Greyabbey.
Hugh Bell was a carpenter and he and Ellen had at least seven children:
Mary Eleanor (born 15 September 1872 in Greyabbey)
Margaret Elizabeth (born 23 August 1874 in Greyabbey)
Anna Matilda (Annie, born 5 June 1876 in Greyabbey; died of cancer 17 June 1911 aged 35)
Agnes (born 16 August 1883 in Greyabbey)
Robert Stewart (born 25 September 1886 in Greyabbey)
James (born 7 January 1889 in Greyabbey)
Harriet (born 25 May 1891 in Greyabbey)
Their mother, Ellen Bell, died of cancer on 18 March 1896 (aged 44).
Their father, Hugh Bell, died of tuberculosis on 10 June 1905 (aged 54).
Both were buried in Greyabbey Old Graveyard.
On 25 September 1905 James Bell enlisted at Kirkintilloch, Dumbarton.
He served with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise’s) and he was stationed in South Africa for three years.
Private James Bell landed in France with the first British Expeditionary Force on 9 August 1914.
From then until his death on 27 September 1915 James was continuously at the Front with the exception of a one-week furlough in August 1915 which he spent in Greyabbey.
When he was at home it was noted how haggard he looked and this was attributed to the length of time he had spent in the trenches.
James Bell’s brother Robert lived in Church Street, Greyabbey.
Four of his sisters – Mary Eleanor Bryce, Margaret Elizabeth Filson, Agnes Adair and Harriet Reid – also lived in Greyabbey and in September 1916 they placed an Our Heroes – In Memoriam notice in the Newtownards Chronicle.
It contained the following verse:
Duty called him, he was there,
To do his bit and take his share;
His heart was good, his spirit brave,
His resting-place a soldier’s grave.
Private James Bell (No. 9885) was 26 when he was killed in action on Monday 27 September 1915 and he was buried in Cambrin Churchyard Extension, France.
Private James Bell (No. 9885) is commemorated on Greyabbey and District War Memorial located on the outside wall of Greyabbey Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Saviour’s) and on the family grave headstone in Greyabbey Old Graveyard.