Bell, William (No. 18876)

Bell, William

Rifleman

No. 18876, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles            

Killed in action in France on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 21)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)

Kircubbin Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity)

BIOGRAPHY

William Bell was born William Bell Johnston and he was a son of Agnes Johnston.  He was born on 20 March 1895 in his mother’s house in the townland of Glastry, Co Down.

William Bell Johnston subsequently dropped the Johnston surname and used the name William Bell.

In 1901 William Bell was working as a labourer and living  with his grandmother, Ellen Johnston in the townland of Ballyeasborough, Co Down.  She was 70 and a seamstress.

In 1911 his mother Agnes and her husband, Robert Reid, were living in Blackhall Street, Kircubbin and they declared that they had been married for eleven years and had nine children (seven surviving).  In fact, they were married on 8 April 1907 in St Andrew’s Parish Church of Ireland Church, Innishargie.

In addition to William Bell Johnston, Agnes Johnston had the following children:

Maggie Ellen (born 16 September 1900 in Kircubbin)

Robert John (born 15 March 1903 in Kircubbin)

Mary (born 15 August 1905 in Kircubbin)

Robert and Agnes Reid (nee Johnston) had the following children:

Annie (born 6 December 1907 in Kircubbin)

Emma (born 26 April 1910 in Kircubbin)

Elizabeth (born 12 June 1913 in Kircubbin)

William Bell enlisted in Ballywalter and served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division.  He went to France on 6 October 1915.

Rifleman William Bell (No. 18876) was 21 when he was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and he has no known grave.

Rifleman William Bell (No. 18876) is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France and in Kircubbin Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity).