REMEMBRANCE DISPATCH NO. 15 HAS BEEN POSTED IN HOUSES TO COMMEMORATE LIEUTENANT SYDNEY WILLIAM BELL (HOSTEL 1895-1890) WHO WAS KILLED IN ACTION NEAR ZILLEBEKE (HILL 60) ON 14TH JUNE 1916.
Sydney William Bell and his younger brother, Charles Courtney Bell, (Hostel 1895-1897), joined Christ College from Charlynch, Bridgewater, where their father was vicar. While at school Sydney won the prestigious under 16 John Morgan exhibition in 1897, and the John Lloyd Geology Prize in 1898. He was also a House Prefect and a Lance Corporal in the Cadet Corps.
After leaving Christ College, he studied electrical engineering and mining in South Africa. While there he served in the South African Campaign (Boer War) and enlisted as a trooper in the Transvaal Mounted rifles who were taking part in the Natal Campaign of that year against the Zulus. He received medals for both campaigns.
At the outbreak of the First World War, Sydney was in Canada visiting his former school friend, George Aitken (Hostel 1895-1899), and they enlisted together on 23rd September 1914. Within days he was made up to Lance Corporal in the 19th Alberta Dragoons due to his previous military experience. Sydney and George travelled to Britain and from there left for France.
On 14th June 1916 Lieutenant Bell of the 8th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment) was killed while on duty at the front line near Zillebeke (Hill 60). His body was never found. Described as “a gallant officer, much loved by his men”, Lieutenant S W Bell is remembered at the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial as well as on the Christ College War Memorial.
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