Alexander Armstrong Thompson BELL

Regimental number1516
Place of birthHay, New South Wales
SchoolScotch College, Melbourne, Victoria
AddressAlma Station, Booligal near Hay, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation29
Height5' 7.5"
Weight147 lbs
Next of kinFather, Lewis Bell, Alma Station, Booligal near Hay, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date4 April 1915
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name21st Battalion, 1st Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/38/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A35 Berrima on 28 June 1915
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll21st Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularLeft Melbourne in June 1915. Went to Egypt; was torpedoed on SS "Southland". Was at Gallipoli until the evacuation, December 1915. Then was on the Sinai Peninsula. Joined the Machine Gun Section in Egypt, then went to France.
FateKilled in Action 26 August 1916
Place of death or woundingMouquet Farm, Pozieres, France
Date of death26 August 1916
Age at death30
Age at death from cemetery records30
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Lewis and Mary Ann BELL, Alma Station, Booligal, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsSister: Sister Annie BELL MID, Australian Army Nursing Service, returned to Australia, 24 August 1918; Brother: Major George BELL OBE, 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, returned to Australia, 10 June 1919.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Joined the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at Gallipoli, 29 August 1915.

Disembarked Alexandria from Mudros, 7 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Admitted to 7th Field Ambulance, Ferry Post, 12 February 1916 (parotitis), and transferred to 2nd Casualty Clearing Station; to 1st Australian Stationary Hospital, Ismailia,12 February 1916; to 4th Auxiliary Hospital, Abbassia, 13 February 1916 (mumps); discharged from hospital, 13 February 1916; rejoined unit, Moascar, 7 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force,19 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 26 March 1916.

Promoted Corporal, 17 August 1916.

Reported missing in action, 26 August 1916.

Court of Enquiry, 20 July 1917, concluded; 'Killed in action, 26 August 1916.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsName entered on Embarkation Roll as A A T BELL.
SourcesNAA: B2455, BELL Alexander Armstrong Thompson
Red Cross File No 0320506G