Rifleman JOHN W BELL.

C/12726, 21st Bn., King's Royal Rifle Corps.

who died, aged 23, on the 5th of June 1916.

Son of Joseph and Hannah Bell of 4 Dixon St, Skelton in Cleveland, N Yorkshire.

Rifle House Cemetery, Nr Ypres, Belgium.

John W Bell is remembered on the Skelton War Memorial, Church plaque and Stanghow Lane School memorial.
At the census of 1901 John W Bell, aged 8, and Joseph W Bell, aged 2, are two brothers living at 4 Dixon St Skelton.
It seems likely that John was the one who died, as Joseph would have only been 17 in 1916.
Although one casualty buried in the above cemetery was only 15 when he was killed.
Their father, Joseph, who worked in the Ironstone mines as a truck trimmer, came from Skelton and their mother Hannah from Normanby.

Rifle House Cemetery, located in the Ypres Salient and inside Ploegsteert Wood, contains 229 U.K. burials, The name of the cemetery was derived from a nearby building whose ruins remain to the present day.
This cemetery is named after a strongpoint which once stood in Ploegsteert Wood; no trace of this now exists. Burials were made here from November 1914, when the 1st Rifle Brigade buried their men in what is now Plot IV, Rows E-J.

The 21st (Service) Battalion (Yeoman Rifles) was formed in September 1915 from volunteers from the farming communities of Yorkshire, Northumberland and Durham,by the Northern Command.
In January 1916 it was ttached to 124th Brigade, 41st Division.
All units were concentrated near Steenwerck, and the Division began familiarisation with trench warfare in the areas of Ploegsteert and the Douve valley, south of Ypres, where the Division remained until August 1916.

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