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Bell, T., Pte., 1916

Photo: Neil and Joyce Brison

In Alnwick Cemetery is the Commonwealth War Grave of:

M2/149214 Private
T. Bell
Royal Army Service Corps
13th January 1916

Private Thomas Bell, serving with the 621st Motor Transport Company, Royal Army Service Corps, died on the 13th January 1916 age 32. He was born in Horsham, enlisted in London and lived in Fulham. Theatre of war is listed as home.

In the 1911 census he is a motor mechanic.

Compiled by Joyce and Neil Brison.

The Newcastle Daily Chronicle14/01/1916, reports an accident in which an ambulance wagon of the R.A.M.C. ran into a wall. The passenger was uninjured, but the driver died in Alnwick Infirmary.

The Newcastle Daily Chronicle 15/01/1916 reports:
"Fatal Motor Ambulance Accident.
Inquest on R.A.M.C. Sergeant at Alnwick.
An inquest was held at the Court House, Alnwick, last evening, by Mr. Charles Percy, on Thomas Bell, a sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps stationed in Alnwick.

According to the evidence, Private Ernest Ball, of the motor transport service, was ordered about 10 o'clock on Wednesday night to convey Mr. G. Sordy and his wife to their home in Titlington after a military concert in the Y.M.C.A. hut in Alnwick. The order was received from Lieutenant and Quarter Master Fordham and delivered by Sergeant Bell to Private Ball. When they started, Sergeant Bell got into the car, and they drove to Titlington. A gale was blowing and they stayed at Titlington for about half an hour. Deceased had there two glasses of whisky, and Private Ball had one and a half. Private Ball was quite sober, though he considered Sergeant Bell was under the influence of drink, having had some liquor before leaving camp. On the return journey, deceased took the wheel of the car in spite of Private Ball's requests to permit him to drive, as he was rather afraid of the deceased, though the latter had passed the test as a driver. At Reigham Quarry, about a mile out of Alnwick, the car ran into a ditch and pursued a zigzag course, and was eventually brought to a standstill by running against two gateposts leading into the quarry. The deceased and Private Ball were thrown out and injured, but Ball was able to procure assistance and they were both taken to Alnwick Infirmary. The car had only two side oil lamps on. Bell died the next afternoon in the Infirmary, having sustained a fracture of both thighs, a fractured jaw, and a fracture of the base of the skull.

The jury found that Sergeant Thomas Bell died from injuries accidentally received through being thrown from a motor van which he was driving, and were of the opinion that he was driving recklessly while in an intoxicated condition.

The Coroner, on behalf of the jury, complimented Private Ball for the straightforward manner in which he had given his evidence.

In the newspapers he is said to be a Sergeant but CWGC and Soldiers Died in the Great War state he was a Private.

Christopher W. Linfoot says "My grandfather's record confirms details of the accident which led to Bell's death."

To see the Arthur Linfoot diary entry, follow the link below.

The Diary of Arthur L. Linfoot 1914-1918
The CWGC entry for Private Bell

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk