About Paddy Bell
Paddy Bell was born in Bailisborough, Cavan, Ireland, the son of James and Mary Eleanor Clark Bell. Paddy served in the Irish Fusiliers before emigrating to Australia.
Paddy appears in Broome’s records as a labourer on the electoral roll from 1913-1917.
Paddy enrolled for the AIF in February 1915, and travelled south to Blackboy Hill Camp. He was assigned to the 28th Battalion, B Company which left for Alexandria aboard the Ascanius on the 29th June 1915. The battalion was shipped to Gallipoli to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Forces in September. Paddy received a commission in November and was promoted to a 2nd Lieutenant. The battalion returned to Alexandria after the Gallipoli evacuation in January. In March 1916 the battalion was on the move once again, this time to Marseilles to join the British Expeditionary Forces. In June Paddy received a second promotion to Lieutenant.
Pozières : The Battle of the Somme
In July 1916 the 28th Battalion, as part of the 2nd Division was involved in a series of attacks aimed at the capture of key German positions and the wearing down of the enemy. By the 23rd July the 1st & 2nd Division had been successful in capturing the Pozières village despite almost continuous artillery fire and repeated German counter-attacks. A further push to take Pozières heights was planned for the 29th July but the Germans were ready and the attack failed at a cost of 3,500 Australian casualties, including six men from Broome.
Paddy’s popularity among his comrades is evident in his Red Cross Reports.
At Pozieres he was killed by a shell just at the barbed wire of German trenches, we all got caught there, the ground was all cut about after we bombarded the ground for four days – he was our officer – a bonzer officer – one of the best.Baker #1509, Red Cross Report