Royton Roll of Honour

Samuel Bell was born in 1897 in Chadderton to parents Joseph & Hannah. The Bell's were a large family, eleven children in all and six served during World War 1. Two of them were killed - Samuel & brother William. The names of 10 of Samuel's siblings are known; David,Sarah, Thomas, Alfred,Joseph,John, William ,Septimus, Hannah & Alice.
In 1891 the Bells were living on Victoria Street in Chadderton and in 1901 were just around the corner on Garforth Street. At some point in the following decade the family moved to Royton to run the Old Engine Inn on Streetbridge. The site of this pub is now just over the border in Chadderton but seems to have fallen under Royton at that time. Samuel married Sarah Jane Lane in 1910 and they lived together at Royley Clough with Samuel working at the Vine Mill. They had three children together - Ivy (born 1911), Robert (1912) & Samuel (1914).
A date for when Samuel joined the army is unknown but we do know that he enlisted in Royton and was sent to join the 3rd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment who were part of the garrison on the Humber.

On Friday 31 March 1916,Samuel and others from the battalion arrived in Cleethorpes. Their role was to strengthen the coastal defences in the area against German attack. As the men unpacked and settled into their billet in the Baptist Church Hall on Alexandra Road, five German Zeppelins were heading across the North Sea from their base in Nordholz, northern Germany. Their mission was to attack London and East Anglia.
As it approached England, Zeppelin L22, commanded by Kapitanleutnant Martin Dietrich, developed engine problems, so instead of heading for London as planned the pilot changed course for Grimsby docks. Shortly before 1 a.m. on Saturday 1 April the 518ft long airship crossed the east coast. As Dietrich passed over what he believed to be Grimsby, searchlights locked on to the L22 and an anti-aircraft gun opened fire but failed to do any damage.The Zeppelin released some 25lb bombs which landed harmlessly in open countryside near Cleethorpes. It then headed out to sea, dropping a flare which fell on the river end of the pier, before turning round for a second attack.
Three further bombs were dropped. One hit Sea View Street, shattering shop windows; a second destroyed the local council offices; while the third scored a direct hit on the Baptist Church Hall. Of the 84 men in the billet, 27 died instantly and 53 were injured, five dying later from their wounds. Four men were rescued uninjured from a small cellar under the hall where they had sneaked off to for a game of cards.Thirteen of the dead were from the Oldham area. Due to war-time reporting restrictions the Oldham Chronicle could only refer to the incident as occurring ‘on the East Coast’ while The Times reported it as occurring ‘in a village of no military significance’.
On the morning of Tuesday 4 April a full military funeral for 24 of the dead took place while other men were buried privately by their relatives.People lined the streets, all traffic came to a standstill and shops closed.  The massed bands of the 3rd and 4th Battalions of the Manchester Regiment and the 3rd Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment led the parade as the coffins were carried from St Aiden’s Church to Cleethorpes Cemetery on eight motor lorries draped with the Union Jack and covered with wreaths and other floral tributes.
The parade included about 70 family mourners followed by the whole of the 3rd Battalion the Manchester Regiment and detachments of the 4th Manchester and 3rd Lincolnshire Regiments.Representatives of Cleethorpes District Council, clergymen, local tradesmen and members of the public also attended.
The 24 coffins were laid in two long graves adjoining each other.  Almost two years later, on 9 March 1918 a tall white stone memorial cross, paid for by public subscription, was unveiled in the cemetery. Samuel Bell's name is to be found on the central panel:

photo courtesy of  Tony - his Scartho Road Cemetery website

In the Oldham Chronicle of April 6th 1918 the following appeared in memory of Samuel,William & a nephew,A Bell who had been killed in 1917:

Soldiers,rest,your warfare o'er
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking
Dream of battlefields no more
Days of danger,nights of waking
For at dawning to assail ye
There no bugles sound reveille
Ever remembered by their three sisters,and Tom,Jack,Sep
(brothers in France) and Percy in India


For some reason even though Samuel was a long time resident of Royton he does not appear on the war memorial even though his brother William does.Samuel's wife, Sarah Jane, moved to Broadway on Chadderton and perhaps she was expecting his name on that town's memorial (unfortunately it does not list the names of Chadderton's war dead).


The other men killed were:

BALL WILFRED ERNEST Private 30358 from Ardwick
BEARDSLEY JOSEPH Private 32238 from Ilkeston          
BEAUMONT LOUIS ARCHIE Private 34637 from Oldham 
BODSWORTH ROBERT Private 2425 from Northants         
BRIERLEY THOMAS Private 30117 from Oldham         
BROWN WILLIAM HENRY Private 34621 from New Moston          
BUDDING ERNEST Private 34619 from Hollinwood         
CHANDLER FRANK  Private 32914 from Middleton Junction          
CHANDLER JOSEPH Private 32997 from Denton          
CLOWES JOB Private 34618 from Failsworth
CORFIELD JOHN HENRY Private 34625 born Stafford,enlisted Hollinwood          
CUTHBERT HARRY Private 34633 from Leeds          
DIMELOW FREDERICK Private 30241 from Ardwick          
DIVINEY THOMAS Private 30401 from Oldham         
DOWNS ALBERT EDWARD Private 32215 from Denton         
FOX ROBERT Private 34620 from Oldham          
FRANCIS WILLIAM Private 32034 from Hulme        
HANNON THOMAS Private 32263 from Manchester          
HARRISON PERCY Private 33107 from Hurst        
HAYNES ALFRED Lance Corporal 32323 from Manchester          
HETHERINGTON WILLIAM Private 30126 from Miles Platting          
PIERCE TOM Private 32278 from Manchester         
RADFORD JOSEPH Private 27724 from Stalybridge         
RAMSDEN HENRY Private 27902 from Manchester          
RUSSELL JAMES Private 30179 from Manchester         
SWIFT JACK Lance Corporal 33055 from Wallasey         
TOMKINSON THOMAS Private 32275 from Manchester          
WHEELER JOHN 19 Private 27591 from Stockport          
WILD WILLIAM Private 34639 from Oldham         
WOOD ROBERT Private 27537 from Oldham.Previously lived in Royton



SAMUEL BELL
Age:28
Date of Death:01/04/1916
Rank:Private
Service No:9779
Regiment:Manchester Regiment
Unit:3rd Bn.
Cemetery:
Cleethorpes Cemetery