The Fame of Tipperary Group present...

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Memorial to - Captain Robert William Popham Bell

Third memorial panel of the East Window Memorial, St. Mary's Church, Tipperary Town

Photo Copyright J. Mabbott,October 2001.

The dedication reads: "Captain Robert William Popham Bell, Royal Irish Regt., killed at Mametz, 5th. July 1916."

Captain Robert William Popham Bell of Tipperary was the brother-in-law of Lieutenant-Colonel William Lyle. Robert Bell died on Wednesday 5th. July 1916, aged 36, at Mametz, near Thiepval, during The Battle of The Somme. He was the son of the Reverend Robert Popham Bell of St. Mary's Church, Tipperary Town; and the family resided at Pegsborough, Tipperary. Captain Bell was of the 3rd. Battalion of The Royal Irish Regiment, but at the time of his death was attached to the 2nd. Battalion due to previous officer casualties. He has no known grave, and his name is commemorated upon Pier and Face 3 A of The Thiepval Memorial to The Missing of The Somme, near Bapaume, in Northern France. The attack of the combined Commonwealth Forces in the Thiepval area began on 1st. July 1916, aided by a diversionary attack by French Forces to the South of the Maricourt to Gommecourt Sector of the Allied Front Line. Prior to the attack, a seven-day bombardment by heavy guns designed to damage the German defences and demoralise their troops had little effect, therefore the Allied advance met with an expectedly heavy resistance. Losses on both sides in The Battle of the Somme were extremely high, and the initial Allied attack was a failure, with only very small advances being made in the South of the sector. Trying to consolidate upon these small gains, vast resources of manpower and equipment were poured into the battle. The German Army put up a fierce and tenacious resistance to all the attacks. Allied gains were very slow, and obtained only at the cost of massive losses. Each village, wood or farmhouse was only captured by the Allies after repeated attacks and a fierce battle. The village of Thiepval was not finally captured until the end of September, although it was an objective of the first attack on 1st. July. In the North of the sector, Allied attacks continued from 1st. July until atrocious winter conditions caused The Battle of The Somme to draw to a close on 18th. November 1916.
The memorial at Thiepval is dedicated to "The Missing of The Somme", and bears the names of 73,412 officers and men of the British and South African Forces who died on the Somme Battlefield from 1st. July 1916 to 20th. March 1918 and who have no known grave.

Thiepval Memorial to The Missing of The Battles of The Somme (IWM)

The piers are faced mainly with red brick, with massive stone panels upon which are carved the names of The Fallen. Over ninety per cent (90 %) of the names on the Thiepval Memorial are those of men who died from July to November 1916 during The Second Battle of The Somme

October 2001 Copyright J. Mabbott Researcher for The Fame of Tipperary Group, Tipperary Town, Ireland.

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