Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Private Victor Nelson Bell


Bell 1


Bell 2


Victor Nelson Bell was born on 29 April 1897 at 4 Marlborough Avenue, Londonderry, son of post-office clerk Robert Bell and his wife Maggie Elizabeth Bell (nee Hanna), the first of five brothers (a sister died days after being born).

In 1911 the family was living at Westland Avenue, Londonderry. Soon after, Bell began work as a clerk in the shipping office of G & J Burns.

On 7 September 1914 he enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Londonderry (No.1154), aged 17. He embarked for France on 19 January 1915 with a reinforcement draft and was posted to C Squadron.

In June 1916 C Squadron joined with F Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until August the following year.

In September 1917 Bell's regiment was dismounted and most of its officers and men transferred to the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. Bell, with the majority of the regiment, was transferred on 20 September (with a new number – 41254) and joined the battalion at Ruyaulcourt, near Cambrai, five days later.

On 26 October at Havrincourt Wood a fighting patrol was sent to drive the enemy from a disputed position at Wigan Copse, which they achieved with a charge which put the enemy to flight. However the clash cost one man killed and another injured. The dead man was Private Bell.

He was buried at Neuville-Bourjonval British Cemetery, grave E.19. The gravestone inscription reads:

26TH OCTOBER 1917 AGE 20



A month after his death, a 'dear old chum and comrade in arms', Private Robert Mitchell (No.1194), placed the following tribute in a Londonderry newspaper:

There is a link death cannot sever;
Fond remembrance will last for ever.


Image of gravestone Copyright © Phillip Tardif with all rights reserved as set out in this Use of Material policy. Newspaper image from The Irish Times, 1 December 1917.