Lieutenant William Paget Bell


William Paget Bell was born on 22 March 1894 at Rosetta Park, Belfast, the second of two children of tobacco manufacturer William James Bell and his wife Florence Isabella Catherine (née Hampson). Educated at the Royal Academical Institution, Belfast, at the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Earlston, Annadale Avenue, Belfast, with his parents, sister and an aunt, and working as a tobacco factory clerk.

Prior to the war Bell served as a motor cycle despatch rider with the Ulster Volunteer Force. He enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron on October or November 1914 (regimental number not known at present).

His time with the squadron, however, was short-lived. At the end of November he applied for a commission in the 36th (Ulster) Divisional Train, Army Service Corps. He joined the Train at Belfast on 15 January 1915, his commission as a 2nd lieutenant backdated to 30 November 1914.

Bell embarked for France with the 36th (Ulster) Division on 3 October 1915. He served there in No.2 (252) Company of the Divisional Train until 1 September 1917, when he returned to the UK and was posted for duty at the No.2 School of Instruction at Elstow Camp, Bedfordshire. Meanwhile, on 1 February 1916, he had been promoted to lieutenant.

In January 1918 his 'services [were] asked for' by the Royal Flying Corps, but it appears he was instead attached to the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles at Larkhill.

Bell faced a number of medical boards from September 1918. He was suffering from enteritis and deafness, and on 8 November he was found permanently unfit for any category of military service. He relinquished his commission on 12 December 1918 'on account of ill health contracted on active service'.

After the war Bell returned to Earlston and the tobacco business. On 22 August 1922 he married Evelyn Maude (Daisy) Whyte in St Mary's Parish Church, Donnybrook, Dublin. By 1971 they were living at Knockleigha, Shaw's Bridge, Belfast. William died in hospital on 20 May that year.


This page last updated 8 March 2023.