King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Bell, Hugh Randolph Ryan

Lieutenant ▪ Worcestershire Regiment

Hugh Randolph Ryan Bell, born on 23rd May 1887, was admitted to Kind Edward’s School in September 1897 as a Foundation Scholar. He was the eldest son of John, manager of the Sparkbrook branch of Lloyds Bank, and Annie, and the family lived in Church Road, Moseley. He had three brothers, all of whom were Old Edwardians and one of whom, Ralph John, also served during the war. Hugh’s youngest brother, Edgar David, tried to enlist three times but failed to do so because of his poor eyesight. (Perhaps he was turned down by Medical Officer Major Hall-Edwards, himself an Old Edwardian?)

After School, Hugh became heavily involved in Moseley Ashfield Cricket Club and King’s Norton Golf Club. By day he worked as a manufacturing clerk for Messrs Stuart & Lloyd of Easy Row, Birmingham.

Hugh enlisted upon the outbreak of war as a Private Soldier in the 1st Birmingham Pals Battalion (14th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment). By August 1915 he had gained a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Worcestershire Regiment. He died aged thirty, on 29th August 1917, of wounds received two days earlier attacking Springfield Farm near St Julien, having reached the rank of Lieutenant. The Captain of his company wrote: “Lieutenant Bell led the company with great dash, and was within a few yards of the farm which they were attacking when he was unfortunately hit by a sniper. The farm was taken thanks to his excellent leadership.”

On 30th August 1917, the Army Chaplain for Hugh’s Battalion wrote to his mother to inform her of her son’s death. He explained that: “He was too ill to feel much pain. He sent no message, but then these severely wounded men hardly ever do so.” Hugh had been married to his new wife Maud for only nine months. He is buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, near Ypres, and is commemorated on St Agnes’ Church Memorial, Moseley.