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  • This photo was first published in the Retford times following the death of Willie Bell
Person Details
Saxilby Lincolnshire
In 1891 Willie's mother Harriet Bell, a charwoman lived on Syke Lane at Saxiliby, Lincolnshire . Her husband Edward Bell an agricultural labourer had died in 1890. She had nine children to support- Leonard born 1875, George born 1876, Alice born 1879, Emma born 1881, Charlotte born 1884, Herbert 1886, Walter born 1887, Annie born 1890 and Harry who was one month old. William Smith, a 27 year old single farm labourer, lodged with the family. In 1895 Harriet had a further child William Smith Bell. By 1911 Willie was living with his brother in law David Wilkinson an iron foundry worker who was married to Wilie's sister Charlotte. They lived at 54 Birkett’s Row Ordsall.
He was an iron foundry worker.
13 Sep 1917
62169 - CWGC Website
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Willie enlisted at Retford. Bethune Town Cemeter Grave Reference: VI G 49 Pte W Bell Retford Times 28 Sept 1917 Private W Bell (known as Billy Wilkinson) , Sherwood Foresters, of All Hallows Street, Ordsall, was one of four Retford Terriers who made the great sacrifice in France in the middle of this month. He was at his post in the front line trench when he was severely wounded in the legs by a trench mortar shell on the night of the 12th. “He was practically unconscious from the first”, (writes Lieut E J Elly), “everything possible was done for him but the shock evidently proved too much for his constitution and he passed away in hospital (the 33rd Casualty Clearing Station) at 7,15 a.m. on the 14th. Had he lived I’m afraid he would have lost both legs and been a helpless cripple. Pte Bell was one of the best soldiers in my Platoon and I can assure you he will be greatly missed. He died doing his duty for his home and country. Assuring you of my deepest sympathy in your great loss.” The Rev P J Loseby, chaplain says “ Your gallant son was bought into the hospital unconscious in a dying condition, with grievous injuries to both his legs and died an hour after being admitted. He is to be buried at – God rest his soul.” The sister of the hospital writes “everything was done to try and save his life and ease his pain. He suffered greatly from shock but did not feel any pain towards the end”, Other letters of sympathy were received from Pte G West and Pte S Clark, comrades of the deceased
Remembered on


  • This photo was first published in the Retford times following the death of Willie Bell
    Willie Bell - This photo was first published in the Retford times following the death of Willie Bell
  • Buried in Bethune Town Cemetery
    William Smith Bell - Buried in Bethune Town Cemetery