The AIF Project

Samuel Arthur BELL

Regimental number2379
Place of birthBallarat, Victoria
SchoolMcArthur St State School, Ballarat, Victoria
ReligionMethodist
OccupationFarmer
AddressWalpeup, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 5.75"
Weight126 lbs
Next of kinFather, Mr Thomas Bell, Walpeup, Victoria
Previous military serviceSergeant, Senior Cadets (2 years; discharged on expiration of term)
Enlistment date12 June 1916
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name57th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/74/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A9 Shropshire on 25 September 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll57th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 8 August 1918
Place of death or woundingVillers-Bretonneux, France
Date of death8 August 1918
Age at death26
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
163
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Thomas and Margaret BELL. Born at Ballarat, Victoria
Family/military connectionsBrother: 3650 Trooper Harold Thomas BELL [served as H T WICKAM], 4th Light Horse Regiment, killed in action at Beersheba, Palestine, 1 November 1917, aged 16 yrs 7 months.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 25 September 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 10 November 1916; marched in to 15th Training Bn, 21 november 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 30 December 1916; taken on strength, 57th Bn, in the field, 7 February 1917.

Detached to Signal School, 3 September 1917; rejoined Bn from detachment, 23 September 1917.

On leave to England, 5 November 1917; rejoined unit from leave, 22 November 1917.

Killed in action, 8 August 1918.

Report from CO stated: 'No 2379 Pte Bell S.A. was a member of H.Qrs Signal Section and was killed in action on the morning of of 8th August when the Battalion was advancing towards GUILLACOURT. He was hit in the back by a fragment of shell and death was instantaneous.'

Buried near Harbonnieres (grave lost/destroyed in subsequent fighting).

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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