Bell, Robert de Hougham Mark

Born in Devonport, he was the younger son of Colonel Mark Sever Bell, VC, CB, ADC, RE, of Earlywood Lodge, Sunninghill, Ascot, Berkshire. His mother, Margaret Norah Bell, was the sister of A.J. Boger (C1885), and daughter of Hext Boger, of Inceworth, South Devon. His older brother was Anthony Harley Mark Bell (F1905-1909). He came to Winchester from Mr Bradnack’s school at Windlesham, and was a keen student of bird-life, contributing a paper to Natural History Society on the birds of Winchester. He played in OTH VI in 1913 and was a House Prefect. He had intended to go to New College, Oxford, in the following October but the war intervened.

He was commissioned on 22nd September 1914 into 10th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps and rapidly gained promotion.  He was a Lieutenant by 5th November that year. His Battalion went to the front in July 1915 and in August 1916 he was wounded, although he remained in the line, where his commanding officer noted that “A few days before his death he and his company were very heavily shelled, and lost heavily; he continued throughout the shelling to go up and down the trench, helping the wounded and reassuring the remainder by his splendid example…”

He was killed in action on 3rd September 1916 while leading his Company in the first assault on Guillemont.    His Commanding Officer wrote to his father explaining “Your boy was wounded in the wrist, and while having it dressed, was shot through the head and killed instantly”. He could have had his wound tended at the dressing station but he refused to leave his men. His name appeared once in despatches (1st Janury 1916) “for gallant and distinguished conduct in the field”, and his promotion to the rank of Captain was ante-dated to July.

The Baptistry inside the Church of All Souls’, Ascot has a memorial to him in the form of six stained glass windows and a Portland stone font engraved with the inscription:  “To The Glory of God.  The windows and this font are placed here in loving memory of Robert de Hougham Mark Bell aged 20 Capt X Batt KRRC.  He fell at Guillemont Sept 3 1916.  Dulce et decorum est  pro patria mori.  Rest eternal grant unto him O Lord and may light perpetual shine upon him.”

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Bell
  • Forenames or initials: Robert de Hougham Mark
  • House: F
  • Years in School: 1910-1914
  • Rank: Captain
  • Regiment: King's Royal Rifle Corps
  • Date of Birth: 16th November 1895
  • Date of Death: 3rd September 1916
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer F3
  • Decoration: NA