John Stanley Bell

John Stanley Bell 

 John, the fourth child but first son of Amy and John, a farmer, was born on 17 June 1893 and lived at Ivy House Farm, High Street, Bierton near Aylesbury. He was admitted to LWGS as a boarder in 1908 but stayed only a year. He played in the school football team in 1908/9, though not regularly. The Tamensian wrote of him: “Played one or two games. Very awkward at first but improved during the season”; adding rather mysteriously “a course of running would improve his place.” He also played in one school hockey match against Thame Hockey Club, a rare mention of hockey in the school’s annals of that time. On leaving school, John was not keen to follow his father into farming and instead became a bank clerk. He soon realised that he wanted something more adventurous so he enlisted in the Buckinghamshire Yeomanry, otherwise known as the Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars, as a Private, no. 360, on 1 March 1912.

On the outbreak of war, the regiment was first employed on coastal defence in Suffolk. In April 1915 as part of the 2ndMounted Division, the yeomanry, with their horses, were sent to Egypt, first to Alexandria and then to Cairo. But in August 1915 the regiment was ‘dismounted’. A few officers and men were left behind with the horses. The remainder, John included, embarked for Turkey to take part in the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign.  They made an amphibious landing at Souvla Bay which, despite light initial opposition, was badly mismanaged, ending in chaos and defeat. Many, including John, were wounded and were returned to Egypt. John probably spent some time in the British Military Hospital in Alexandria. For certain, he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and was promoted to Sergeant no.165529.  The details of his remaining military service are not known except that he was discharged on 21stFebruary 1919 and listed amongst those entitled to the ‘Silver War Badge’ awarded to those who were honourably discharged on account of war wounds or illness, which suggests that he never fully recovered from the wounds he received at Souvla Bay.

After the war he married Mary and had a son John Frederick. By the early 1930s he was the owner of a butcher’s shop at 31 Stoke Road, Aylesbury. He died in March 1970 at Eastbourne in Sussex.

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