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James Allan Bell

Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    James Allan AWMM
  • Surname
    Bell AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    80705 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    8 July 1909 AWMM WaimaukuAuckland AWMM
    Waimauku AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW2 Pre 1942 AWMM P.O. Box 171, Blenheim AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Mr. J. Bell, 200 Selwyn St., Spreydon, Christchurch (f) AWMM
  • Relationship status

Service

Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    80705 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    Military Medal (MM) AWMM
    7 December 1944 AWMM
    'On 1 June 1944 Corporal Bell was commander of the leading tank of B Squadron during the attack on CAMPOLI, Italy. While moving along the main Sora-Balsorano road the tank was fired on by what proved to be an SP gun from about 500 yards. Corporal Bell directed his gunner on to the flash and fired several rounds. A party of Maoris on being called up reported that the gun had been knocked out. Corporal Bell then moved his tank on supporting the patrol. After travelling some 400 yards the patrol asked for fire on a machine-gun post in a house. No sooner had a round been fired on the house than the tank was hit by an anti-tank shell. Corporal Bell ordered his gunner to traverse left and fired two rounds at the gun, the crew of which then deserted their weapon. Meanwhile the tank was again hit twice by another antitank gun further to the left. Although under direct fire, Corporal Bell remained in the tank and continued to give covering fire to the infantry until the area had been cleared of the enemy. Credit for the speed with which this enemy strong-point was captured must go mainly to Corporal Bell for his daring and devotion to duty. Through-out the action he showed great resource, initiative, coolness and courage and was an inspiration to the men under his command.'. (Source: The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Bell, James Allan. (Ref. WO 373/8/873). Military Medal. AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Unknown AWMM Accountant/Civilian AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

Embarkations

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
    28/07/1944 AWMM

Last known rank

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  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • 'The hills rose steeply behind the town and from them the enemy could see clearly what was going on in the valley. The crews expected trouble, listening with one ear cocked for the crash of shells or the screech of a mortar ‘stonk’, but the tanks rolled forward steadily until a demolished culvert at the entrance to the town brought them to a halt. Sergeant J. A. Bell, MM; Blenheim; born Waimauku, 8 Jul 1909; accountant; wounded 28 Jul 1944.

    The doubters convinced and the speech-making over, the procession moved on. ‘The band mounted the tanks …, some acting traffic cops cleared the crowd back, and we headed out followed by most of them,’ says Dudfield. ‘On the outskirts we dropped the band, waved the last goodbyes, and hiked off —a day those of us who were there will never forget…. Next morning we cleared the dead flowers, confetti, streamers, etc., out of and off the tanks and with orders to rejoin the 20th set off the way we had come for Sora, picking up A Squadron there.’ The advance from Cassino to Avezzano cost the regiment one officer (Captain Hart) and two men killed, two officers and six men wounded. Another NCO, Sergeant Boniface, had died from injuries when his tank turned turtle over a bank on the way up to Sant' Elia before the advance really began. Two NCOs, Jim Bell and ‘Mac’ West, won MMs. No tanks were lost and all casualties were recovered.

    ' (Source: Glue, W.A. & Pringle, D.J.C. 20 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. p. 440.) AWMM
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Death

About death

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  • Death
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference

Memorials

Memorial

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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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Sources

Sources

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  • External links
    • 'The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Italy.' (London Gazette, 7 December 1944, p.5615.). Military Medal.
      http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/36828/supplements/5615
      Further Reference
    • 'On 1 June 1944 Corporal Bell was commander of the leading tank of B Squadron during the attack on CAMPOLI, Italy. While moving along the main Sora-Balsorano road the tank was fired on by what proved to be an SP gun from about 500 yards. Corporal Bell directed his gunner on to the flash and fired several rounds. A party of Maoris on being called up reported that the gun had been knocked out. Corporal Bell then moved his tank on supporting the patrol. After travelling some 400 yards the patrol asked for fire on a machine-gun post in a house. No sooner had a round been fired on the house than the tank was hit by an anti-tank shell. Corporal Bell ordered his gunner to traverse left and fired two rounds at the gun, the crew of which then deserted their weapon. Meanwhile the tank was again hit twice by another antitank gun further to the left. Although under direct fire, Corporal Bell remained in the tank and continued to give covering fire to the infantry until the area had been cleared of the enemy. Credit for the speed with which this enemy strong-point was captured must go mainly to Corporal Bell for his daring and devotion to duty. Through-out the action he showed great resource, initiative, coolness and courage and was an inspiration to the men under his command.'. (Source: The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Bell, James Allan. (Ref. WO 373/8/873). Military Medal.
      http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D7352063
      Further Reference
  • Documents
    • Sutherland, J. (1989). Gallantry awards to New Zealanders in World War Two. Christchurch, N.Z.: Regal Medals. AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1945). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 9 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1942 to 31st December, 1942). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 9: WW2 29 AWMM
    • Pringle, D., & Glue, W. (1957). 20 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      pp.425-8, 440, 442, 452, 485. AWMM
    • New Zealand Gazette AWMM
      MM. New Zealand Gazette, Vol 1, p. 157 AWMM
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