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Ernest Alfred Bell

Local History

Page updated - 17 March 2009

Roll of Honour - Gt. Cornard


Private Ernest Alfred Bell


6018389  6th Battalion Durham Light Infantry


Ernest was born around 1919 in Lexdon, Colchester and was the son of Henry James and Laura Bell.  He was the second eldest of 7 brothers.  In 1937 the family moved to 14 Bures Road, Great Cornard.  Ernest and his father were water pipe fitters and they were employed in laying the water pipes all around Great Cornard.  He was known by the nickname of ‘Ginger’ on account of his red curly hair.


Ernest was a Territorial in the Essex Yeomanry and was called up at the outbreak of war.  He went to France with the British Expeditionary Force.  His brother Jack was also a Territorial and served with the Royal Artillery.  His father Henry saw active service in both World Wars.  He was injured in the First World War but went on to serve in the Second World War in Italy and in Germany where he was present at the liberation of the concentration camp at Belsen.  All his brothers served in the forces at one time including one who saw active service in the Far East.


In May 1940 Ernest was one of the last three to be evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk.  His battalion was later sent to North Africa, where his Mother was to receive 3 telegrams informing her that he was ‘missing’.  Twice he was to reappear safely. 


Ernest was killed in action aged 24 on 23rd March 1943.  He lies buried in Sfax War Cemetery, Tunisia.


After his death his parents received a letter from his Commanding Officer, who wrote of ‘the loss the regiment had sustained’ and of ‘the widespread affection in which he was held by his all his comrades.’


©Shirley Smith - Sudbury & District Royal British Legion - November 2008