12 January 1916; Wednesday

Up at 7 o’clock. Paraded but was not told off for any work. Got books up to date. Lecture in the afternoon. Concert at night in the Y.M. Presentation to Mr Porrit (who has got a stripe† up) by the colonel. The present was a silver tea service. N.C.Os paraded before adjutant and lectured. After the concert Sergeant Bell1 drove some of the artists home2 and on the return journey had an accident3 with the car and injured himself fatally. Fractured both thighs, jaw bone and skull. Ball4 was with him and was badly shaken and slightly lacerated.

Concert, Presentation, Accident.

  1. Private Thomas Bell M2/149214 probably held acting rank as a Sergeant, possibly due to his duties as a motor mechanic. 

  2. This journey was from Alnwick (A) to Titlington (B), according to contemporary reports. See also Alnwick map

  3. The vehicle, apparently a motor ambulance, left the road near the entrance to Reigham Quarry (C). The accident and subsequent inquest are recorded in the Newcastle Daily Journal on 14th and 15th January 1916. The latter report suggests that alcohol may have been a decisive factor leading to the accident. 

  4. “Ball” was Private Ernest Ball (it is not clear which of the many Ernest Balls listed at Lives of the First World War he may have been), who subsequently gave evidence at the inquest into Bell’s death according to the same piece in the Newcastle Daily Journal