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James William BELL

Main CPGW Record

Surname: BELL

Forename(s): James William

Place of Birth: Ribblehead, Yorkshire

Service No: 3594

Rank: Private

Regiment / Corps / Service: Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment)

Battalion / Unit: 'C' Coy 1/6th Battalion

Division: 49th (West Riding) Division

Age: 23

Date of Death: 1915-08-23

Awards: ---

CWGC Grave / Memorial Reference: C. 4.


CWGC Memorial: ---

Non-CWGC Burial: ---



Additional Information:

James William Bell was the son of John and Elizabeth Bell, née Jordan. John was born at Carlton (Coverdale), Yorkshire and Elizabeth in the U.S.A. They were married at Halifax in 1883 and were living at Salt Lake, Ribblehead in 1891. James's sister, Sarah Jane, was married to Private Francis Richard Townson (21661) (q.v.).

1901 Tatham, Lancashire Census: Railway Crossings - James W. Bell, aged 9 years, born Ingleton, Yorkshire son of John and Elizabeth Bell.

1911 Low Bentham, Yorkshire Census: James William Bell, aged 19 years, born Ribblehead, Yorkshire, son of John and Elizabeth Bell.

The British Army Service Record for James William Bell exists but may be incomplete.

James is listed in the Nominal Roll of the 1/6th Battalion Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment): Pte J. W. Bell.

British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards: Pte Jas. W. Bell, 3594, W. Rid. R. Theatre of War first served in: (1) France. Date of entry therein: 14.4.15. K. in A. 23.8.15.

British Army WW1 Medal and Award Rolls: Pte James William Bell, 6/3594, 1/6 W. Rid. R. K. in A. 23.8.15.

Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects: Pte James William Bell, 1/6th Bn W. Riding Regt. Date and Place of Death: 23.8.15. In action. To whom Authorised/Amount Authorised: Sister Sole Legatee - Elizabeth. £6 9s. 1d.

UK, WW1 Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923: card(s) exist for James. Name(s) on card(s): Dependant: Miss Elizabeth Ann Bell. Relationship to soldier: Sister. Address: Main Street, Low Bentham, Lancaster.

A short biography of James is included in: ‘Bentham’s Part in the Great War 1914-18’ by Allan and Marilyn Hartley (2019).

See also: ‘Guiseley Terriers: A Small Part in The Great War – A History of the 1/6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment’ by Stephen Barber (2018).

Data Source: Craven’s Part in the Great War - original CPGW book entry

View Entry in CPGW Book

Entry in West Yorkshire Pioneer Illustrated War Record:

BELL, Jas., aged 23, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, killed in action on Aug. 23, 1915, assistant shopman at the Co-operative Stores at Low Bentham.


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Private James William BELL

Private James William BELL

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment)

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment)

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 49th (West Riding) Division

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 49th (West Riding) Division

Data from Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 - 1919 Records

Soldiers Died Data for Soldier Records

Surname: BELL

Forename(s): James William


Residence: Low Bentham, Lancs

Enlisted: Skipton, Yorks

Number: 3594

Rank: Private

Regiment: Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)

Battalion: 1/6th Battalion


Died Date: 23/08/16 [sic]

Died How: Killed in action

Theatre of War: France & Flanders


Data from Commonwealth War Graves Commission Records

CWGC Data for Soldier Records

Surname: BELL

Forename(s): J W

Country of Service: United Kingdom

Service Number: 6/3594

Rank: Private

Regiment: Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)

Unit: 1st/6th Bn.



Died Date: 23/08/1915

Additional Information:

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War Diary of the 1/6th Battalion Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)

23 AUGUST 1915

TRENCHES [Ypres Salient]. 3594, Pte J. W. Bell. C Coy. Killed rifle bullet through head. 11.15 a.m.

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Colne Valley Cemetery

Colne Valley Cemetery

Courtesy of Allan Hartley, High Bentham

Colne Valley Cemetery

Colne Valley Cemetery

CWGC Headstone

Courtesy of Allan Hartley, High Bentham

The High & Low Bentham men who gave their lives

The High & Low Bentham men who gave their lives

Top row (l-r): Rfn Ernest Knight Newhouse, Pte John Thornber, Reverend Theodore Bayley Hardy, Pte Richard Wilson, Pte Maurice Richard Bolton, Lieut John Barclay Clibborn, Pte William Throup, Pte Richard Wilcock Carr, A/Cpl William Robinson, Pte James Auton, Pte William Savage. Third row (l-r): L/Cpl David Percival Dixon, Pte John Emmott, Pte Francis Richard Townson, Pte John Adamthwaite, Pte Robert Carter, L/Cpl John Hutchinson, Pte Alfred Edward Gunn, Pte Ezra Stephenson, Pte Edwin Rawlinson Smith, Pte Richard Wearing, Lieut Basil William Ramsbotton. Third row (l-r): Spr Robert Clark, Act L/Cpl Thomas Wilcock, Cpl William Carr, Pte Lawrence Lancelot Dowbiggin, Pte Edward Magoolagan, Pte Isaac Rucastle, Pte Henry Taylor, Cpl Edward Ramskill, L/Cpl Edward Walton Briscoe, Pte Joseph Jackson, Gnr Ernest Wilcock. Fourth row (l-r): Capt Donald Morrison, Sgt Arthur Dean Blackburn, Pte James William Bell, Pte Leonard Nelson, L/Cpl John Edward Leeming, L/Cpl Albert Lister, Pte Percy Preston Whitfield, Cpl Tom Harry Smith, Cpl Thomas Walker Sanderson, Sgt William Patrick Tobin, Pte (Signaller) W. Wilkinson.

Courtesy of the artist, David Hartnup

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23 April 1915

LOW BENTHAM - Obituary

The village lost another familiar figure in the person of Mrs. John Bell, who passed away at her home in Main Street, Low Bentham, early on Tuesday morning, in her 53rd year. The deceased's health broke down about a week before her death on receiving news that her second son (Mr. James Bell) a private in the 6th Battalion of the West Riding Duke of Wellington's Regiment, was to leave England for foreign service. Medical aid was obtained, but she died very suddenly early on Tuesday morning, the cause being heart failure. The announcement came as a surprise to most of the villagers, by whom she was much respected. She was a native of Halifax, and prior to coming to reside at Low Bentham in August, 1905, she had lived at The Crossings, Lower Tatham, for many years. She leaves a husband and a family of four sons and three daughters to mourn her loss, for whom much sympathy is felt. The interment took place at the Bentham Parish Church yesterday (Thursday).

28 May 1915

LOW BENTHAM - News from Low Bentham Soldier

Private James Bell, of the 6th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment, in a letter dated May 15th to the Rev. Percy Coates, of Bentham Rectory, describes his experiences since going to France and adds:-

"I am writing this letter from the trenches, in which we have been three times, this being our third and I didn't half feel like running and running the first time here, but however I got safely in. Trench life is rather different to what I expected it would be. You are fairly safe from rifle bullets so long as you keep your head below the parapet; you don't want to be curious, you know; it is attacks and shell fire which do the damage. I have never yet been right under shrapnel fire, but I have been close to where they have, and if only the people of England could see houses gutted, homes wrecked, and burnt to the ground, they would wake up to the fact that this is war, and mighty war too. Well, Rector, I received a rough blow when I heard of my mother's death. It came just when my spirits were a little low, but I am glad to say I am again in good spirits, trusting in Him who made us to bring me safely home again. All of us here take the war with a smile, but at the back of our minds we are daily praying for our safety and those beside us. It makes a man think, and think hard sometimes. I hope you will let the class which I belong know that I am quite well and in good spirits, hoping they are all the same. I can just fancy that I see them coming together on Sundays."

17 September 1915

BELL - On or about August 18th, killed in action. Pte. James William Bell, 1/6 Battalion Duke of Wellington's Regiment, formerly of Low Bentham.

17 September 1915

BELL - In loving memory of Private James William Bell, 1st 6th Went Riding Regiment, who has been killed in action in France.

"He is lying in a distant land,
We know not how nor where;
But oh! We hope God took his soul
Unto His loving care."

From his sorrowful Father, Sisters, and Brothers, Low Bentham.

17 September 1915


The news received in the district two or three weeks ago that Private James Wm. Bell, of 'C' Company 1st 6th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment had been killed in action on or about August 18th, was confirmed last Friday afternoon, when Mr. Wm. Bell, his father, received information from the Territorial Force Record Office, York, that he had been 'killed in action.'

The news was received with a deep feeling of sorrow by the villagers and many inhabitants of the district, for in Pte. Bell they have lost a young man of much promise. He was the second son of Mr. Wm. Bell, of Low Bentham, and formerly of the 'Crossings,' Lower Tatham. He was 23 years of age, and was rather of a quiet disposition who won the esteem and respect of all those who knew him, and much sympathy is felt for his father, sisters, and brothers in their sad loss.

Pte. Bell joined his regiment at Skipton on December 7th, 1914, and after being billeted there for about three weeks he was transferred to Doncaster, where he remained until April 13th, when his company left England for France. During the time he was out in France the letters which he wrote home and also to his friends were always of a very interesting character.

He was an old boy of Lower Tatham School, and at the time of enlisting he was employed as assistant shopkeeper by the Bentham Co-operative Society at their branch shop at Low Bentham, which he had been associated with since March, 1907, a term of nearly 8½ years, and in him the Society have lost a very faithful servant. Prior to working at the Co-operative Stores he was employed at the Silk Mill, Low Bentham. He was a member of the Bentham Parish Church Young Men's Bible Class.

Although he had not so much time to take an interest in the life of the village, he was, during recent years, a member of both the Cricket and Football Club. At the Victoria Institute he will be greatly missed, for he was a member of the Games Committee, for which he officiated as Hon. Secretary for a short period. He was also one of their most prominent billiard players. As a last mark of respect the flag at the Victoria Institute and Public Hall was hoisted half-mast on the day that this sorrowful news was received.

On Tuesday morning a person in Low Bentham received a letter from Nicholas Geldard, 2nd Lieutenant, 6th Battalion Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment, dated 12th September, 1915, confirming the rumour that Pte. J. W. Bell was killed in the trenches about a fortnight ago. "We were very sorry indeed to lose him - a steady hard working lad ready to do his duty for his country under any sort of unpleasant conditions. We can only put implicit trust in the Divine wisdom, and hope that it will please Him to put an end to this bloody war as soon as possible. - Signed, Yours faithfully, NICHOLAS GELDARD."

24 September 1915


On Tuesday last a memorial service was held at St Margaret's Church for those who from Bentham had fallen in the war. An early communion service was held and was very impressively conducted by the Vicar, about 30 communicants being present.

In the evening, service was held at 7-30 and there was a large congregation. Many had relatives at the Front and several old soldiers were present. The Alter flowers and white cross were a token of loving friendship from the Vicar and his family, the cross being entwined with the colours of 'The King's Own,' blue and orange, and was suspended over the late Capt. Morrison's seat in the chancel. It acted as a dual tribute, for Private Edward Magoolagan belonged also to the King's Own, and the same company as Captain Morrison. A magnificent wreath of choice roses was affixed to Capt. Morrison's stall before evensong as 'a loyal tribute to a gallant soldier,' from R.D. and W.E. Representatives from the King's Own Lancasters expressed their regret at being unable to attend.

The Rev. G.H.C. Bartley, the vicar, took for his text, 'Fight the good fight and lay hold of eternal life.' He said it was just three years that night since three friends separated at his last parish, one to go to the far East, he (the Vicar) to come to Bentham, and Captain Morrison to remain at Sacriston. He wished to make mention of the two others who had fallen at the Front, namely Private E. Magoolagan and Private James Bell. They must all sympathise with their relatives and friends, and pray that they might be comforted in this time of their great sorrow. The unselfish faithfulness of Captain Morrison was a very marked characteristic. He was called to serve the church in his last parish. At the outbreak of war he was called to serve his country, and now he was called to the highest service of all.

At the close the National Anthem was sung and Miss Stubbs, the organist, played the Dead March in Saul very impressively.

19 November 1915


Low Bentham has responded to the Country's call for men better than the majority of the villages in the district. The framed Roll of Honour at the Bentham Parish Church now contains 65 names, and the following have still to be added:-Mr. Edw. Downham, Mr. Tom Carter, Mr. Robert Carter, Mr. Albert Townley, Mr. Percy Prince and Mr. Albert Brayshaw, making a total of 71, while no fewer than seven of the village young men have been rejected. Two of the village lads, namely Private James W. Bell and Private David Nelson, have been killed in action, and three have been discharged through being unfit for further service.

Amongst the families who are doing their bit is that of the late Mr. Thos. Carter and Mrs. Carter, of Oysterber House, Low Bentham, who are represented by their following four sons:-Pte. John Carter, the eldest son, joined the R.A.M.C. at Leeds on March 13th this year. He was a silk dresser at the Silk Mill, Low Bentham, he having worked there for nearly fourteen years.

Sergeant James Carter, of the 2nd British Columbia Regiment, is the second son. He emigrated in March, 1912, to Arrow Lakes, British Columbia, and on the day that war was declared he enlisted at Victoria, in British Columbia, and after being in training for a few months he came over to England with a contingent, arriving here about the middle of last March. After being stationed at Shorncliffe Camp, near Folkestone, a short time he went out to France with his Company, and about the latter end of May he was wounded. After being invalided home, he returned to Shorncliffe Camp, where he was transferred into the clerical department, and afterwards promoted from the rank of a private to a sergeant.

Pte. Tom Carter and Private Robert Carter, the third and youngest son respectively, both joined the Royal Fusiliers at Lancaster last Saturday, and they left Low Bentham on Wednesday, along with Mr. Albert Townley.

24 March 1916


On Sunday afternoon at the Bentham Parish Church, a special memorial service for the three Low Bentham boys who have fallen in the war was held. Owing to the unfavourable weather that prevailed the congregation was smaller than usual. In making reference to the boys, the Rector (Rev. Percy Coates) said he did not know much about Private David Nelson, as he did not live in Low Bentham long. As regards Private James W. Bell, not a finer and more straightforward lad ever stepped; and Private Maurice R. Bolton - five weeks' ago he (the Rector) shook hands with him and he was in good spirits. He came all the way from Canada to do his duty for his country. A better and more straightforward lad one ever could wish to see. Both James Bell and Maurice Bolton were bright lads. The Rector asked all the congregation to join in prayer, and the service was very impressive. Mr. Edward Holmes very effectively rendered a solo entitled 'Behold the Dawn.'

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17 September 1915


Private James Bell of Low Bentham

The official confirmation of the death of Private Jas. Bell, of 1/6th Duke of Wellington's, was confirmed on Friday last. Deceased was well known in the Bentham district, being assistant shopman at the Co-operative Society's Stores at Low Bentham for eight years. He joined the 1/6th Duke of Wellington's at Skipton in November last, and along with ten others was picked out and sent to France in April as a crack shot. He was 23 years of age, and his mother died whilst he was on his way to the front. His cousin, Cecil Procter, went down with the Good Hope, and his brother-in-law, Richard Townson, is in the trenches in France. The flag was flying half-mast at the Victoria Institute, of which he was a member, all the weekend. The following letter was received by his father:- "Territorial Forces, York Station, 9th Oct. Sir, - It is my painful duty to inform you that a report has this day been received from the War Office notifying the death of No. 3594 James W. Bell, 1/6th West Riding Regiment, which occurred abroad on 23rd August last, and I am to express to you the sympathy and regret of the Army Council for your loss. The cause of death was killed in action."

24 December 1915


Pte. Jas. Bell, 6th West Riding (Duke of Wellington's) Regiment, killed in action on August 23rd. Prior to the war assistant shop-man at the Co-operative Stores at Low Bentham. Twenty-three years of age. He mother died whilst he was on his way to the Front.

30 March 1917


Pte David Bell, of the Loyal Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment, has received his discharge as medically unfit for further service. He reached home on Monday last. He is the only brother of Pte. James Bell, who was killed in France last year.

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