Patterson, David Bell (No. 18589)

Patterson, David Bell

Rifleman

No. 18589, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action in France on Saturday 1 July 1916

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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

Newtownards and District War Memorial (as David Bell)

Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919

for Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards (as David Bell)

Family grave headstone in Newtownards (Movilla Cemetery) (as David Bell)

BIOGRAPHY

In the Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1919 database it is recorded that Rifleman David Bell Patterson (No. 18589) was born in Newtownards and enlisted in Comber.

In Ireland’s Memorial Records 1914 – 1918 it is recorded that Rifleman David Bell Patterson (No. 18589) was born in Newtownards.

On his Medal Index Card his name is recorded as Patterson, David Bell.

In CWGC records his name is recorded as Patterson, David Bell.

In the Army Register of Property and Effects it is recorded that Rifleman David Bell Patterson left a wife and children.  His wife’s name was Maggie.

On Newtownards and District War Memorial the name David Bell is listed and, in the booklet produced for the Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony held on Saturday 26 May 1934, he is described as a Rifleman in the Royal Irish Rifles.

The name David Bell Patterson is not listed on Newtownards and District War Memorial.

In the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards Private David Bell 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles who lived at 22 Wallace’s Street No. 1 is listed as having been killed in action.

There is conclusive evidence that David Bell Patterson and David Bell are one and the same person.

In the 1901 census David Bell (aged 18), a painter, was living with his mother Mary Smylie (a married dressmaker, aged 41) at 6 ‘Wallace’s or Brown’s Lane’, Newtownards.

In the 1911 census Mary Smylie (a widow aged 51) was living on her own in Brown’s Lane No. 1, Newtownards.

In civilian life David Bell worked as a painter in Belfast Shipyard before going to live and work in the United States of America for a time.  He sailed from Liverpool on 14 March 1906 aboard the SS Friesland.  In the USA he worked as a house painter and in the census taken on 19 April 1910 he was boarding with the Bailey family in Hays Street, Swissvale Ward 2, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

David Bell returned to Newtownards and he and Maggie Swann were married on 27 April 1911 in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.  David Bell, a bachelor from Newtownards, was a house painter.  The space on his marriage certificate for recording his father’s name was left blank.  Margaret (Maggie) Swann, a spinster from 49 Court Street, Newtownards, was a daughter of James Swann, a labourer (deceased).

On their birth certificates, the surname of David and Maggie’s first two children was registered as Patterson:

Elizabeth Eadie Bell Patterson was born on 17 February 1912 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards; Elizabeth used the surname Bell when she married Charles (Dan) McKimm on 3 October 1930.  Elizabeth McKimm (nee Bell) died on 6 August 1973 and she is commemorated on her mother’s headstone.

James Swann Bell Patterson was born 11 on January 1914; he married Elizabeth McSherry on 29 March 1937 and he died on 18 November 1991.

When David and Maggie’s son David was born on 29 March 1915 in Wallace’s Street, Newtownards his surname was registered as Bell.  His father David was described as a house painter and a Private in the Royal Irish Rifles.  David Bell Junior married Anne (Annie) Johnston on 14 June 1939 and he died on 22 November 1985.

Rifleman David Bell Patterson (No. 18589) enlisted in Comber and went to France in October 1915.  He served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and was 33 when he was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.  Initially he was reported as missing in action and later it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed in action.

Rifleman David Bell Patterson (No. 18589) has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France.  He is also commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial (as David Bell); in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards (as David Bell) and on the family grave headstone in Newtownards (Movilla) Cemetery (as David Bell).

Mary Smylie, the widow of a window cleaner, died of Bright’s Disease on 17 May 1927 (aged 66) at 22 Wallace’s Street No. 1, Newtownards.  Her daughter-in-law, M. Bell, was with her when she died.

Maggie Bell (nee Swann) adopted another child, Thomas Swann Bell, who was born in 1919.  He married May Major on 28 March 1940 and died on 30 January 1979.

Maggie Bell (nee Swann) died on 21 July 1964 (aged 77) and was buried in Newtownards (Movilla) Cemetery.