Medals impressed to “1888 PTE. T. BELL. 18 BN. A.I.F.”;
Memorial plaque named to “THOMAS BELL”.
Thomas ‘Tommy’ Bell had two younger brothers who also served:
Harry Bell an 18th BN. original (number 820) who was K.I.A. at Hill 60 on his first day on Gallipoli,
and John Bell who served with the R.A.N.
‘Tommy’ Bell was a 27 year old from Newtown, New South Wales. His younger brother Harry joined the 18th BN in February 1915, and consequently Tommy enlisted on the 17th of June 1915 into the same unit. On the 9th of August 1915, Tommy sailed from Sydney as part of the 3rd Reinforcements, aboard the HMAT RUNIC (a54). On the 22nd of August 1915, whilst he was still at sea, his brother Harry landed on Gallipoli and was immediately sent into combat at Hill 60. Harry was seen to be “shot through the head” during the charge, and his body left when the 18th Battalion fell back having suffered 50% casualties. He is remembered by name on the Lone pine Memorial to the Australian Missing. Tommy landed at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, in September 1915. From then on the 18th Battalion played a purely defensive role, being primarily responsible for holding the ‘Courtney’s Post’ – a highly dangerous position on the warfront. The 18th Battalion moved into the Battle of Pozieres when they relieved the 10th Battalion on the 25th/26th July 1916. The following night the German forces launched a counter attack, and Tommy Bell, now a trained ‘Bomber’ (expert with hand-grenades), was heavily involved in a ‘bomb fight’ in Munster Alley trench until dawn. Having finally driven off the enemy forces after 12 hours of combat and suffering many casualties, the men went ‘rat hunting’ for any survivors. Positioned near the right flank, Tommy and the 18th Battalion moved off at 9:15pm for a night attack on the 4th of August. The objective was to break through the Old German lines and to press on to capture the shattered Pozieres windmill towards the eastern skyline. Advancing forward, the Australian forces took the shattered O.G. 1 and then, under heavy enemy machine gun fire, took O.G. 2 and moved onward to the open ground beyond. The attack continued and finally the objective position was captured by men of the 7th Australian Brigade.
At the conclusion of the extensive fighting at the Battle of Pozieres on the 5th of August 1916, Private Thomas Bell was declared missing after a roll call. It was later revealed by fellow soldiers that, after retreating combat for medical aid following wounds to the face and arm, Thomas Bell was mortally wounded by a German shell, reportedly being “blown to pieces”.
Group comes with copied information for Tommy and Harry Bell.