Private Thomas Bell

C31237 – Private Thomas John Bell

2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Died of wounds: 28 September 1917

Coxyde Military Cemetery, Belgium

Grave: 4-B-23

Thomas was born in the townland of Mullaghwhitra, in the parish of Ardboe, on 2 September 1896. He was the fourth child of James Bell, a scutcher by trade, and his wife Mary Teaney. In the years that followed the family moved from place to place around Ardboe and Coagh, wherever James’s specialised trade was in demand. By 1911 the family was living in Gortalowry, Cookstown, and Thomas was employed as a weaver. He later worked for a local farmer, Mr J Bayne of Letteran, Lissan, before migrating to Scotland where he found employment in Glasgow.

Thomas enlisted with the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in Glasgow in January 1917. His older brother James, born in 1892, had previously been wounded and had returned to the Western Front.

The 2nd Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling were based in the Lombartzyde sector of the front in September 1917. It was in this month that Thomas was seriously wounded. He was with his close friend, Private Francis Hampsey, when he fell. He was taken to hospital in Veurne, Belgium, where he died of his wounds on 28 September 1917.

Thomas is buried in Coxyde Military Cemetery, Belgium, in plot 4, row B, grave 23.

He is commemorated on Cookstown Cenotaph.

Private Francis Hampsey survived the war and returned to Cookstown.

Men of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers photographed on 12 June 1917 after the capture of Wytschaete

Men of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers photographed on 12 June 1917 after the capture of Wytschaete

Aerial photograph of Lombartzyde, taken on 4 September 1917. This was the sector where Private Bell was seriously wounded in the same month

Coxyde Military Cemetery where Private Bell was laid to rest

Coxyde Military Cemetery

Coxyde Military Cemetery

Some of the headstones in Coxyde Military Cemetery

Troops of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers advancing in Flanders in 1918

 

 

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