BELL, George Alexander
(Service number 36104)

Aliases Enlisted as Alexander BELL
First Rank Trooper Last Rank


Date 10 October 1886 Place of Birth Country Antrim, Ireland

Enlistment Information

Date Age
Address at Enlistment C/o G. McKay, Greenfields, Masterton
Occupation Labourer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin W. R. DAVIDSON (uncle), Temuka
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 24th Reinforcements, Mounted Rifles
Date 19 April 1917
Transport Moeraki; transferred to Port Sydney at Sydney
Embarked From Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations



Date 12 May 1971 Age 85 years
Place of Death Timaru
Notices Timaru Herald, 13 May 1917
Memorial or Cemetery Temuka Cemetery
Memorial Reference General Section, Row 125, Plot 480
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

George Alexander Bell was born on 10 October 1886 (or 1884), in Country Antrim, Ireland, the eldest son of William and Elizabeth (Eliza, née Davison) Bell, of Randox Farm, Crumlin, County Antrim. When he enlisted in 1916 (as Alexander Bell), he was a labourer and single, and stated that he had been in New Zealand for twenty years, which was unlikely, given his age and that he appears to have been at home with his parents and siblings in 1901, a 14 year old scholar. The family was living at Randox, Antrim, where William was a farmer. In 1911 George was not with them, but his oldest sister, Lucy, who was named in her uncle’s will, was. He nominated his uncle as next-of-kin – W. R. Davidson, Temuka. Private A. Bell, 36104, returned to New Zealand from Egypt, in a draft of 1095, per the “Ulimaroa”, which was due at Auckland on 6 August 1919. He intended going to Temuka, but that was amended to Esk Valley, St Andrews, Canterbury. His uncle, William Robert Davison, had died on 3 September 1918 at the Timaru Hospital, while Alexander was at the front. W. R. Davison was also a native of Northern Ireland and had been in New Zealand since about1876. George A. Bell erected the headstone in his memory. And William Robert Davison remembered George in his Will – “In Trust for my nephew George Alexander Bell now a member of His Majesty’s Expeditionary Forces . . . .” George was unaware of his uncle’s death until he arrived home – “the sad news gave him a great shock.” Bell and four other local men were welcomed home by a large gathering of the public when the special train carrying the southern soldiers reached Temuka on 12 August. The Mayor thanked the soldiers for their services and hearty cheers were given for them. “The voyage from Egypt was uneventful, the only unpleasant phase of it being the intense heat during certain stages of it.” [Temuka Leader. 14 August 1919.] The customary welcome took place at the Post Office where the Mayor again thanked the men and welcomed them. “No word that he or any other person could say, or anything they could write, could do justice to the men who had done so mch for their country,” he said. Trooper Bell expressed thanks for the welcome he and his comrades had received. “He was proud of the send-off away, and he was pround of the reception he had received on his return.”

Alexander, whose full name was George Alexander Bell, married Ruby Isobel Brooker on 12 November 1920 at the Temuka Presbyterian Church. While they were living at Esk Valley, their eldest child, Brian William Bell, accidentally drowned in a dam on the farm. Brian, fours years and four months old, was buried in the Temuka Cemetery. Four more children were born to Alexander and Ruby, the olders ones starting at Esk Valley School, all four then attending Southburn School before the family moved to Timaru where they were enrolled at Waimataitai School, the two daughters going on to high school. Their son, John Terence Alexander Bell, served in World War Two, his mother, Mrs R. I. Bell, of Timaru, being his next-of-kin. John died in 1995 and was buried in the same Temuka plot as his older brother, Brian, and as George Alexander Bell who died on 12 May 1971, aged 85 years. “In loving memory of our father George A. Bell died May 12th 1971 Ruth John Dorothy.” The youngest son, Derick, who had died in 1957, was buried in Ruru Cemetery, Christchurch, and his mother, Ruby Isobel Bell, was interred with him in 1970. It appears that George had been farming some time at Fairlie and died at Timaru. From 1938 George Alexander is not found with Ruby who moved to Christchurch and was on occasion recorded as a widow.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [29 October 2020]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [07 November 2020]; Temuka Cemetery headstone images & burial records (Timaru District Council) [07 November 2020]; 1901 & 1911 Irish census returns (per [08 November 2020]; Timaru Herald, 4 September 1918, 3 March 1920, 5 [x 2] & 6 [x 2] January 1925, Temuka Leader, 5 September 1918, 14 August 1919, NZ Times, 31 July 1919, Otago Daily Times, 7 January 1925 [x 2] (Papers Past) [29 October 2020; 07 & 08 November 2020]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to


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