Bell, Gerald Mavor (Gerald)
No. NX41008, 2/18th Battalion, Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force
Killed in action on Sunday 8 February 1942 (aged 35)
No known grave
Australian War Memorial (Panel 40)
Singapore Memorial, Singapore (Column 119)
Bangor and District War Memorial
Bangor Grammar School
Gerald Mavor Bell was born on 29 December 1906 in Hamilton Road, Bangor and he was the youngest son of Francis and Agnes Jane Bell (nee McKay) who lived at 16 Hamilton Road, Bangor and then at Strathmavor, Baylands, Bangor. Francis Bell worked as a textile designer and he and Agnes Jane McKay were married on 30 August 1887 in Ballymacarrett Presbyterian Church, Belfast. They had at least seven children:
Selina Carlisle (Lena, born 20 February 1888 at 100 Short Strand, Belfast)
William Rosslyn (born 31 August 1890 at 24 Beechfield Street, Belfast)
Catherine Jeffrey (Kitty, born 11 March 1893 at 24 Beechfield Street, Belfast)
Francis Somerset (born 6 March 1898 in Somerset Avenue, Bangor)
Margaret Jane (Rita, born 11 April 1901 in Royston, Bangor)
Eileen Agnes (born 13 January 1904 at 4 Orient Gardens, Cliftonville Road, Belfast)
Gerald Mavor (born 29 December 1906 in Hamilton Road, Bangor)
At least three of the children (including Gerald) were baptised in First Bangor Presbyterian Church.
Gerald Mavor Bell was just three weeks short of his ninth birthday when his mother Agnes Jane died of heart disease on 10 December 1915 (aged 49). His father Francis married Elizabeth Jane Craig on 23 December 1920 in Fitzroy Avenue Presbyterian Church, Belfast and they had one son – Leighton Bell who became a surgeon.
Francis Bell died on 14 May 1926 and Elizabeth Jane Bell died in 1969. Gerald’s brother, Captain William Rosslyn Bell MC, died on 9 March 1976 (Captain Bell served during the First World War with the Royal Irish Rifles and he was awarded the Military Cross on 4 October 1918 for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during operations south of Dadizeele).
Gerald Mavor Bell attended Bangor Grammar School from 1920 until 1923 and on 7 November 1923 he left London aboard the SS Themistocles bound for Australia. His last address in the UK was Glenfaba, 5 College Avenue, Bangor. In Australia he worked as an agricultural labourer and he lived in East Moree, New South Wales. He enlisted on 10 July 1940 in Tamworth, New South Wales and cited his brother William as his next-of-kin. Gerald Bell served with the 2/18th Battalion, Australian Infantry and he was 35 years old when he was killed in action on 8 February 1942. The 2/18th Battalion had been assigned to defend the northwest coast of Singapore Island against the invasion by Japanese forces on 8 February and by dawn on 9 February 1942 more than half their number had been killed or wounded.
Private Gerald Mavor Bell’s body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial (Panel 40); on the Singapore Memorial; on Bangor and District War Memorial and in Bangor Grammar School.