Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bell, George (1794-1877)

BELL, Sir GEORGE (1794–1877), general, son of George Bell, of Belle Vue, on Lough Erin, Fermanagh, by Catherine, daughter of Dominick Nugent, M.P., was born at Belle Vue, 17 March 1794, and whilst yet at school in Dublin was gazetted an ensign in the 34th foot, 11 March 1811. Sent to Portugal, he carried the colours of his regiment for the first time in the action of Arroyo-de-Molinos; was present at the second and final siege of Badajoz, and in the majority of the celebrated actions which intervened between that time and the battle of Toulouse. On being gazetted to the 45th regiment in 1825 he proceeded to India, and was present in Ava during the first Burmese war. Bell became a captain in 1828, and in 1836 was in Canada, where he was actively employed during the rebellion of 1837-8. He commanded the fort and garrison of Couteau-du-Lac, an important position on the river St. Lawrence, and received the thanks of the commander of the forces and his brevet-majority, 29 March 1839, for his exertions in recovering the guns of the fort, which had been sunk in the river, unspiking and mounting them in position, when it had been reported to be impossible to do so. The guns were 24-pounders, sixteen of which, with 4,000 round shot, he recovered from the deep in the middle of a Canadian winter. On becoming lieutenant-colonel of the 1st foot, known as the Royal regiment, 5 Dec. 1843, he next served in Gibraltar, Nova Scotia, the West Indies, the Mediterranean, and Turkey, after which he landed with the allied armies in the Crimea, and was present at the battles of the Alma and Inkerman, and in the siege of Sebastopol, where he was wounded and honourably mentioned in a despatch from Lord Raglan, who appointed him to the command of a brigade. On his return to England he was made a C.B., 5 July 1855, and took up his residence at Liverpool as inspecting field officer until 1859, when he became a major-general in the army. He was in the Royal regiment for the long period of thirty years. From this time onwards he never obtained any further employment, the reason being, as he fully believed, a letter which he wrote to the 'Times,' 12 Dec. 1854, complaining of the deficiencies of the commissariat in the siege of Sebastopol, and soliciting help from the people of England. On 23 Oct. 1863 he was appointed colonel of the 104th foot; he became colonel of the 32nd foot 2 Feb. 1867, and colonel of the 1st foot 3 Aug. 1868. His work, in two volumes, entitled 'Rough Notes by an Old Soldier during fifty years' service,' a gossiping and amusing account of his life and services, was published early in 1867. He was created a K.C.B. 13 March 1867; a lieutenant-general 28 Jan. 1868; and a general 8 March 1873. His death took place at 156 Westbourne Terrace, London, 10 July 1877. He had been twice married, the first time to Alicia, daughter and heiress of James Scott, of Ecclesjohn and Commiston, N.B., and secondly, in 1820, to Margaret Addison, a daughter of Thomas Dougal, of Scotland, banker.

[Dod's Peerage and Baronetage: Army Lists, &c.]

G. C. B.