- Place of Use Continent - North America, Country - Canada
- Category Communication artifacts
- Sub-category Personal symbol
- Department Arms and Technology
- Museum CWM
- Earliest 1914/01/01
- Latest 1919/09/01
- Inscription (back of frame/l'arrière du cadre): Pte Campbell John Bell 75566 / 29 Btn. Vancouver Regt. / Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1918.
- Support frame
- Materials Bronze, Copper, Silver, Silkworm silk, Metal
- Rank Private
- Service Component Canadian Expeditionary Force
- Unit 29th Canadian Infantry Battalion
- Measurements Height 21.0 cm, Width 16.0 cm, Depth 1.9 cm
- Caption Medals Project- Bell, Campbell John Bain
Campbell John Bain Bell was born in Ottawa 23 November 1886. The family moved to the US and by 1900, Mr. W. Bell and his wife Margaret were living in Jasper, Missouri with their daughter Elizabeth and two sons, including Campbell. At the outbreak of war Campbell was working as a Trust Company manager.
Bell enlisted in Vancouver 13 November 1914 giving his sister, Elizabeth of Moorhead Minnesota, as his next of kin. He was transferred immediately to the 29th Canadian Infantry (Vancouver) Battalion, known as Tobin’s Tigers, and shipped out to the U.K. aboard the SS Missambie on 20 May 1915. The battalion arrived in France 15 September 1915 joining the 6th Infantry Brigade in the 2nd Canadian Division. By April 1916 the Division was in the Ypres area of Flanders where it got caught up in the Action of the St Elois Craters. Casualties in the Brigade were high – one of them Pte Bell who was buried in a shell burst. He was pulled out by advancing German troops and made prisoner.
Private Bell was imprisoned in a Prisoner of War (POW) camp in Glessen, Hesse, Germany and assigned to labour detail. On one occasion he injured his hand working on a farm and apparently after an escape attempt was badly beaten. Food was scarce and Pte Bell lost 40 pounds over the course of his imprisonment. He started suffering from heart problems and in December 1917 he was transferred to Switzerland under a programme arranged between the belligerents that sick POWs could be interred there if the detaining nation was unable to care for them. Bell was hospitalized at Chateau d’Orx and then repatriated to the U.K. in March of 1918. There he was admitted to the King George Hospital to be treated for a heart murmur, tachycardia and dyspnea as well as neurasthenia (shell shock). He was subsequently transferred to the Ontario General Hospital in Shorncliffe, UK and from there sent back to Canada on 24 September 1918 on HMT Tunesian. In October he was taken on strength at the District Depot in Victoria where he remained in hospital. He was eventually discharged on 2 April 1919 giving the Royal Columbia Hospital in New Westminster as his address.
His post-service records are sparse but on 17 October 1934 he married Jessie Moore in Alert Bay, BC. In 1935 the couple was living on Manitoba St. in New Westminster, BC, where Bell was working as a manager. Bell worked with the government on examining the treatment of POW’s and was active in the New Westminster branch of the Canadian Legion. He also pressed for the government to be prepared to support returning veterans of the Second World War. His ill health continued, and he left the Legion in 1943. He died in Vancouver on 16 September 1944.