C/12726 Rifleman JOHN WILLIAM BELL.

21st Bn., King's Royal Rifle Corps.

Killed in action, aged 23, on the 5th of June 1916.

Born at South Bank, N Yorks. Enlisted at Saltburn by Sea, N Yorks.

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

Rifle House Cemetery, Nr Ypres, Belgium.

FAMILY:- 1901. John, aged 8, is living at 4 Dixon St Skelton. He had been born in South Bank, N Yorks.
His father, Joseph, age 33, who worked in the Ironstone mines as a Truck Trimmer and had been born in Skelton.
His mother, Hannah, age 33, had been born in Normanby, N Yorks. She had 3 children by 1911 and all are living.
He had a brother Joseph W, aged 2 and a sister Annie, 4.

1911. The family are still at 4 Dixon St. John is an Electric Pump attendant at Old Shaft Ironstone Mine, Skelton.
A 4 year old nephew, George Hodgson is living with them.

WAR SITUATION 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 attached to 124th Brigade, 41st Division.
The Division moved to France by 6th May 1916.
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 it remained until August 1916.
On the day John was killed the 21st Battalion had been relieved after a period in the trenches.
Some men were killed digging a Communication trench and others while they were resting in Billets.
John Bell must have been one of these. He had been in France only 3 or 4 weeks.
Sgt Stanley Videan, of the same Battalion was killed 15 days later. [see separate entry.]
Rifle House Cemetery is 12 kilometres South of Ypres. It has 230 burials and the latest are June 1916 when John was killed.

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