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Person Details
24 Sep 1897
Kimberley Nottinghamshire
John Edward was the son of Arthur and Mary Elizabeth Bell (née Harrison) His father John Edward Bell was born in Kimberley on 22 June 1869 and hismother Mary Elizabeth Harrison was born in Ilkeston on 27 June 1872. They were married in 1893 (J/F/M Basford) and had eight children, one of whom died in infancy. Their eldest child was born before their marriage. All the children were born in Kimberley and the births registered in the Basford registration district: Arthur Bell Harrison (later Arthur Bell) b. 1892 (O/N/D), Bertha Agnes b. 21 April 1895, John Edward b. 24 September 1897, Frank b. 1900 (A/M/J), Edgar b. 4 December 1902, James Leslie b. 18 June 1905 and Mary Ellen b. 27 May 1908. In 1901 Arthur (32), a miner, and Mary Elizabeth (27) were living on Bagnall Row, Kimberley with their four children, Arthur (8), Bertha (5), John (3) and Frank (10 months). By 1911 Arthur and Mary were living on Chapel Street, Kimberley, with their seven children: Arthur a miner loader, Bertha, John a pony driver, Frank, Edgar (8), James (5) and Mary (2). At the time of John's death in 1917 his parents were living at 8 West Street, Kimberley. Arthur and Mary were still living at 8 West Street in 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled; Arthur had retired. Also in the household was their son Edgar a silk hose knitter. Arthur died in 1943 (O/N/D Basford) and Mary Elizabeth in 1956 (J/A/S Basford). Of John Edward's siblings: Arthur probably died in 1934 (A/M/J Basford). Bertha Agnes married Harold Whittaker in 1919 (A/M/J Basford). In 1939 they were living at 4 West Street, Kimberley; Harold (b. 6 February 1896) was a coal miner. Also in the household was their son Harold (b. 8 August 1920) a silk hose knitter. Bertha died in 1973 (O/N/D Basford). Frank may have died in 1933 (O/N/D Basford). Edgar was living with his parents at 8 West Street, Kimberley in 1939; he was a colliery worker. He died in 1966 (O/N/D Nottingham). James Leslie married Edith Annie Chambers in 1936 (J/F/M Basford). In 1939 they were living at 6 Little Lane, Kimberley; James was a colliery haulage driver and Edith (b. 6 July 1908) a machinist. James died in 1947 (A/M/J Basford); his wife probably died in 1999 (Feb Nottingham). Mary Ellen married Harold Parkin in 1931 (J/A/S Basford). In 1939 they were living at 6 North Street, Kimberley; Harold (b. 1 November 1906) was a colliery worker. Also in the household was their daughter, Margaret E. (b. 31 October 1934, later Bailey). Mary died in 1953 (J/F/M Basford).
John was a pit pony driver (underground) in 1911. He joined the Navy on a 12 year engagement on his eighteenth birthday, 24 September 1915.
17 Oct 1917
3043178 - CWGC Website
Able Seaman
HMS Mary Rose Royal Navy
John Edward Bell served in HMS Mary Rose an M-Class destroyer. His ship was escorting a convoy bound for Scandinavia when on 17 October 1917 the convoy was attacked by two German cruisers, SMS Brummer and SMS Bremse. HMS Mary Rose and the second escort, HMS Strongbow, were sunk with great loss of life. John Edward's body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial.
Launched October 8, 1915, HMS Mary Rose, an Admiralty M-Class destroyer, joined the Grand Fleet in 1916 and took part in the Battle of Jutland. In October 1917 Mary Rose, along with HMS Strongbow, were assigned to escort a convoy to Scandinavia. At dawn of October 17, 1917, the captain of the Mary Rose, Lieutenant Commander Charles Leonard Fox, observed two warships approaching. Their profiles and dark-grey colour led him to assume they were British light cruisers, and recognition signals were duly transmitted. The approaching ships were in fact the German cruisers SMS Brummer and SMS Bremse, despatched as part of a plan by Admiral Reinhard Scheer to supplement U-boats with high speed surface raiders. In keeping with the highest traditions of the Royal Navy and the destroyer force in particular, both escorting destroyers charged their greatly superior opponents in an attempt to allow the convoy to escape. Strongbow was hit and disabled by the first salvo from the cruisers and sank three hours later. Mary Rose continued to press in against the two cruisers in an attempt to torpedo them. The odds were hopeless and the German gunnery too accurate. With further salvoes wrecking the superstructure, Lieutenant Commander Fox ordered Master Gunner Isaac Hancock to scuttle the ship. The ship's boats reduced to matchwood, only a handful of men survived by clinging to a raft and Fox and the First Lieutenant went down with the ship. Several hours later, the survivors boarded a lifeboat from one of the merchant ships and were able to reach Norway. With no further opposition, the cruisers massacred the convoy, sinking nine of the twelve merchant ships with only three trawlers surviving. The wreck is designated as a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986. Sources: WEM instructions and British Destroyer 1892-1953 by Edgar March, Wikipedia and CWGC RN&RM War Graves Roll: his mother, Mary Elizabeth, of 8 West Street, Kimberley, was notified of his death. WW1 Pension Ledgers Index Card: named his mother, Mary Elizabeth Bell.
Remembered on