A few facts about my great uncle. He was born in 1892 in Coleraine to James and Fanny Bell. He was killed in the Great War and so neither my mother, nor I ever knew him. But he was so fondly remembered by his sisters that his memory never died.
Uncle Willy attended Coleraine Academical Institute and afterwards worked in the National Education Office in Dublin.
He joined the Army in 1914 and served for four years until his death in 1918. He gained a posthumous MC in World War 1. His citation states: "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in repeatedly leading out a party at rear position under very heavy artillery fire to mend telephone lines and establish communication. When not mending lines he was foremost in keeping the men and guns working, and he twice went to forward positions and back through heavy artillery barrage."
He actually survived the events mentioned above and was killed only a few months before the end of the war by some stray shrapnel.
He is buried in Bertrancourt Cemetery, not far from Albert in France. I have visited his grave. He lies only three miles from my other great-uncle, Douglas, who also died during that war. Of course, they didn't know each other, being from entirely different families, but they are joined now through my mother and my father.
The photos show a school bill form Coleraine Academical, a photo of William, taken from "Coleraine Heroes" by Robert Thompson, and the citation for the MC. The original has been donated to the Coleraine Academical Institute museum (now Coleraine Grammar).