THE VICTORIA CROSS AWARDED TO CAPTAIN ERIC BELL WAS LAST WEEK PRESENTED TO THE ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS MUSEUM IN ENNISKILLEN BY HIS FAMILY.
25 February 2001


( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Captain Eric Bell
9th Bn, Inniskilling Fusiliers

  • Victoria Cross
  • 1914-15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )

The Victoria Cross awarded to Captain Eric Norman Frankland Bell, 9th Bn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was last week presented to the Museum of the Inniskillings by the family. The VC had been in New Zealand for almost seventy years in the possession of some of Eric Bell's kin. Last June, Air Marshall Sir Richard Bolt, stepson of the owner of the Cross, made an approach through the British Embassy in New Zealand to Headquarters Royal Irish Regiment and thus began the journey of the Victoria Cross to Enniskillen.

It was on display at a Dinner Night in the Regimental Depot Mess two weeks ago and, last Thursday, 15th February, the Regimental Colonel, Colonel Stewart Douglas OBE, handed over the Victoria Cross to Viscount Brookeborough, patron of the Museum in Enniskillen.


Eric Norman Frankland Bell was born on 28 August 1895 in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, and died, aged 20, on 1 July 1916 during his VC action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, near Thiepval, France. ( A further nine VCs were awarded on this day ). Eric Bell has no known grave, but his name is inscribed on the Theipval Memorial, near Albert.


[ London Gazette, 26 September 1916 ]. Thiepval, France, 1 July 1916, T / Captain Eric Bell, 9th Bn, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

"For most conspicuous bravery. He was in command of a Trench Mortar Battery, and advanced with the infantry in the attack, when the front line was hung up by enfilading machine-gun fire. Captain Bell crept forward and shot the machine-gunner.

Later, on no less than three occasions, when our bombing parties, which were clearing the enemy's trenches, were unable to advance, he crept forward alone and threw trench-mortar bombs among the enemy. When no more bombs were available, he stood on the parapet under intense fire and used a rifle with great coolness and effect on the enemy advancing to counter-attack.

Finally, he was killed rallying and reorganizing infantry parties which had lost their officers. All this was outside the scope of his normal duties with his battery. He gave his life in his supreme devotion to duty."

News

Go to VC UK flag Home Page

Iain Stewart, 25 February 2001