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ph0ebus

Transatlantic Spies?

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Kath

I can't see him, Phil!

1951 Kelly Page 781:

1965:

A Al.Ed. is still at 80, Old Park Rd.

Kath.

post-1055-1240260559.jpg

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phil@basildon

Kath, I found an Albert Edward Bell in the telephone directories, this could be his son or possibly a grandson. The Albert Edward Bell found by Daniel was born in 1916, his son would have been 22 years old so it is possibly a grandchild. I have contacted the owner of the family tree containing the third Albert Edward and simply asked if they are related.

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ph0ebus

Hi Kath, Phil,

So, the fellow in the listing above is the son? Or the Grandson? I know the original AEB died in the 40's.

I posted my query to one of the Sheffield Forums; let's see if it bears fruit!

-Daniel

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phil@basildon
Hi all,

Can anyone add to the picture about Albert's son who died in Belgium?

Private JOHN BELL

250482, 1st/6th Bn., Durham Light Infantry

who died

on 29 March 1918

I will focus on Albert for now.

-Daniel

I had a look at the army records on Ancestry but to no avail. I also noticed that he had no known grave. The 1st/6th Bn., Durham Light Infantry were a Territorial unit.

http://www.1914-1918.net/dli.htm

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ph0ebus

Hi all,

Kath, I had another look at the ancestry info and figured out the 'King Sheffield' thing; when born AEB lived at 25 King Street, Sheffield. Also found his marriage info: AEB married on 6 March 1893 in St. Bartholomew's, Sheffield, Yorkshire. What is very frustrating is the info I found on Ancestry was contributed by a researcher presumably related to AEB but there is no contact info whatsoever associated with anyone in his family. Many of the descendants of his children are listed as being alive but all first names are omitted, as are DOBs and any hint as to where they may live (perhaps a wise move in this day and age).

No nibbles on the post to Sheffield Records yet, just a few peeks. I did drop a line (in what may be my longest long-shot yet) to the MOD to see if they can point me to any records they have on Mr. Bell pertaining to his Admiralty work. I will not hold my breath, but you never know. :)

Anyone else find anything of note?

-Daniel

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phil@basildon

I sent a message to the family tree "owner" yesterday as of now I have had no reply. On Ancestry if they have switched off the alert they don't know of any messages, I've had a reply 18 months after I sent a message!

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ph0ebus

Hi,

I had a thorough go through the records accessible via Sheffield Records Online and struck out...nothing on AEB or his children, aside from his listing in White's which we already had. As an aside, I found Private John Bell's Medal Card in the National Archives. I grabbed a copy and will see what it tells me. Will report back after a good night's sleep.

-Daniel

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ph0ebus

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for posting the MIC. How is it yours is in color, whereas the one I just paid for from NA was black and white?

Anyway, being that this is only the second medal card I have tried to interpret, can someone look at the following and let me know if I have it right?

John (Richard) Bell: Interpretation of MIC

Identification of the Man:

John Bell

Rank: Private

Reg’t. Nos: 4068 and 250482

Corps: Durham Light Infantry

Medal Entitlement

Victory Medal Roll 0/1/103B37 Page 7419

British War Medal Roll 0/1/103B37 Page 7419

1915 Star Roll 0/1/12B Page 688

First Theatre of War and Date of Entry

France

September 14, 1915

Asterisks:

Medals Inscribed with Durham Light Infantry ( or just Bell? not sure about the asterisk part)

Notes:

‘Died’ (Killed in Action March 29, 1918)

How's that?

-Daniel

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ItemCo16527

Hi Daniel,

The MIC is from Ancestry.com and are all scanned in instead of photocopied.

The asterisk (called a "quadrant", I believe) is used to indicate what information will be impressed on the actual medals. In his case, his medals would read "4068 Pte. J. Bell, Durh.L.I.". The second of the two regimental numbers (250482) is the one he was given following the 1917 renumbering of the Territorials, of which he was a member.

As for everything else, you're spot on :)

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sotonmate

Phoebus

Somewhere in this thread was a ref to when camouflage was in use on shipping,I won't quote it as I have other things to do outside !

Browsing in the bookshop this morning (the lady was clothes shopping !) and a new book on WW1 (Dorling and Kindersley-title ?!). A section on shipping dealing with camouflage/dazzle paint states that this practice was instituted on commercial shipping from 1917.

Doubtless someone here will have other views,but that is what it says.

Sotonmate

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ph0ebus

Hi Sotonmate,

Thanks for the info. It seems dazzle and cam on the ship is out, so that brings us back to Mr. Bell. I posted in two Sheffield forums about my interest in Mr. Bell. One forum has had readers and no responses, and the other only got a response from the Moderator, who found an expert to talk to about the SS California...he referred me to...me. :) (he was having a bit of fun with the new guy)

Onward through the fog...

-Daniel

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phil@basildon

Daniel. I have been looking at another thread on this website and they gave some interesting information. Apparently the Board of Trade reports on marine accidents are held by Southamton Libraries and the person to which you address enquiries to is vicky.green@southampton.gov.uk

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sotonmate

Phil W/Phoebus

My neck of the woods is Southampton Special Collections (Sotonmate = Southampton Mate !!) There is quite a shelf full of Marine Accident reports. How far back it goes I haven't had to discover,but I will look next week. I take it you are interested in the sinking off Ireland,or is it the fire in Manhattan (in which case I doubt the Board of Trade would have reported).

Sotonmate

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phil@basildon
Phil W/Phoebus

My neck of the woods is Southampton Special Collections (Sotonmate = Southampton Mate !!) There is quite a shelf full of Marine Accident reports. How far back it goes I haven't had to discover,but I will look next week. I take it you are interested in the sinking off Ireland,or is it the fire in Manhattan (in which case I doubt the Board of Trade would have reported).

Sotonmate

They go back to 1876, then they were known as Wreck reports. They might include the 1914 stranding.

My own personal research involves an incident in 1871, better luck next time!

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ph0ebus

Hi Sotonmate, Phil, all...

I would be very interested in whatever material is available around any of the three major events in her career (fire, stranding or loss) but if I had to pick one I would ask for a look for the loss of the ship on Feb 7 1917. I have the transcripts of the BOT inquiry as reported in the Scotsman for the stranding, and the sinking statements from NA but nothing from the BOT on the sinking. Whatever you happen across would be of interest.

thanks!

-Daniel

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phil@basildon

Daniel, I have just been reading a book about the Lusitania. In the book it refers to the German secret services as having infiltrated the Cunard office in New York. This may be the reason for Bell and his colleages being described as "Skilled Labourer", it could also be what he meant by being in disguise.

The British secret services had members of the staff of Cunards New York office dismissed but were still suspicious of some of the staff and were very concerned about any other agents that might remain. I will continue reading the book to see what other information it holds.

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phil@basildon

Daniel, I have just found Albert Edward Bell on the incoming passenger lists for 1905. He arrived in Liverpool ex New York in June 1905 aboard the Umbria. He travelled first class and was described as a traveller. I am now looking for his return journeys in 1916.

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phil@basildon

I have found another journey by our Mr. Bell:- Arrived Liverpool 3rd December 1906 ex Portland Maine on the Dominion, first class, traveller.

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phil@basildon

I,ve found him! Arrived Liverpool 6th September 1916 on the Saxonia. Address 220 City Road Sheffield. Occupation Shell Inspector.

He is shown on the passenger list as Albert K Bell, this however is a mis-reading of the origional passenger list.

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ph0ebus

Hi Phil,

Great detective work! So, he was involved with munitions. Very interesting indeed. Explains why he felt the need for some secrecy. Now, for those better versed in all things Admiralty...what sorts of shells might he have been inspecting? On a related question: what would a 9.2" and a 6" shell fit?

Oh, and Phil, any chance of getting a peek at what you found? If you have the docs in pdf format I would be most anxious for a copy.

-Daniel

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phil@basildon
Hi Phil,

Oh, and Phil, any chance of getting a peek at what you found? If you have the docs in pdf format I would be most anxious for a copy.

-Daniel

I will try to send you a copy. I did not realise that this information was available on Ancestry.co.uk I can look some other ones up if you want.

P.S. I can't upload it as it is more than 100K.

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phil@basildon

If you are interested Daniel I can look at the records by name of ship. I tried it for the "California" it seems to work o.k. But there is such an enormous amount of data it would tie up my computer. Do you have access to Ancestry.co.uk ?

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ph0ebus

Hi Phil,

I have access to Ancestry US, and can see some UK stuff but cannot view original records or download. Can you PM me the links and perhaps next time I get to the NYPL I can use their version of ancestry (which has all the bells and whistles) to download those docs?

A follow-up question: was there any policy (formal or otherwise) as to where munitions were to be stowed on merchant ships carrying passengers, or just on merchant ships in general? I would assume they would be kept amidships, so as to resuce the likelihood of their being detonated in collision involving the fore part of the ship, and not aft to reduce the likelihood of their being detonated by a torpedo strike. I know in the case of the California the stowage plans did not suvive to the present day.

Thanks,

-Dan

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phil@basildon

Daniel. From the book on the Lusitania it appears that the materials were delivered "at the factory gate". So the purchaser, in this case the UK, were responsible for transport. In the case of munitions as part of the American neutrality could not be exported so to circumvent this what Bell was probably inspecting was empty shell cases that would be filled in the UK.

The US Customs inspected all outgoing vessels for any war materials and checked the cargo against the manifest, this is why the German claims that the Lusitania was transporting munitions carried little weight with the US government. You might be able to find out about cargo's from the customs records?

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