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Born: 1892, Bradford
Died: 9 April 1918
Address: 7 Acre Avenue, Eccleshill
Parents: Thomas & Harriet Hannah, nee Jennings
Spouse: Lily, nee Richmond
Rank: Pte
Rolls of Honour: Eccleshill, Park & St Luke’s; Ploegsteert Memorial
Children: Phyllis
Regiment: Yorkshire Regt
Willie Bell
Willie Bell was born in 1882 in Bradford, the son of Thomas Bell and Harriet Hannah Jennings. Thomas and Harriet had married on the 29th September 1883 at St Peter’s Parish Church. Thomas was 21 years of age, an iron founder’s labourer and Harriet was 19 years of age living at 13 Butler Street, the daughter of Samuel Jennings, a mechanic. There is no further trace of this family until the marriage of Willie to Lily Richmond in 1916 while Willie was at home on leave from the front. Lily had been born in Bradford in 1895 and in 1911 was living at 599
Killinghall Road with her parents Ben and Sarah Jane Richmond. Willie and Lily had one daughter, Phyllis, born in 1917 and at the time of Willie’s enlistment the family were living at 7 Acre Avenue, Eccleshill. On the 7th April 1915 Willie enlisted as Private 33759 in Alexandra Princess of Wales Own (Yorkshire Regiment) 12th Battalion. The Battalion landed in Le Havre in September 1915 as part of the 63rd Infantry Brigade for service on the Western Front. On the 9th April 1918 the German offensive in Lys began with the objective of capturing Ypres and
forcing the British back to the coastal ports. The battle lasted until the 29th April when the Germans called off the offensive. Willie was killed in action on the first day of the battle. He is remembered at the Ploegsteert Memorial which commemorates more than 11,000 servicemen who died in this sector during the First World War and have no known grave. He left his effects to his widow who received £12. 7. 4d on the 5th July 1919 which included his war gratuity of £5. 10. 0d. Researched and written by Jean Britteon, to whom many thanks
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