From Our Contribution
|Date of Birth||15 Nov 1917|
|Place of Birth||Newcastle, England|
|Age at Enlistment||14 years, 7 months|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Address||First avenue, Kelmscott, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Father , Mr Robert Oswald Bell|
|Reg Number||W3451 & WX33743|
|Date of Enlistment||23 Jan 1941|
|Unit/Formation||'A' Heavy Battery & 'R' Australian Heavy Battery (Coast)|
|1st Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||14 Sep 1942 ‒ 18 Sep 1942|
|Transport Details||SS Van Heutsz Townsville to Milne Bay|
|Return to Australia|
|Journey Dates||6 Dec 1942 ‒ 14 Dec 1942|
|Transport Details||HMT Katoomba Milne Bay to Sydney|
|2nd Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||28 Mar 1943 ‒ 31 Mar 1943|
|Transport Details||HMT Taroona Townsville to Milne Bay|
|Return to Australia|
|Journey Dates||7 Apr 1944 ‒ 10 Apr 1944|
|Transport Details||SS Ormiston Port Moresby to Bowen, Qld|
|Post War Details|
|Fate||Returned to Australia|
1939-45 Star |
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45
On 23 Jan 1941 Jack was enlisted in the Militia and posted to Swanbourne for training. On 10 Mar 1941 he completed his basic training and was posted to the Bickley Battery of 6 inch guns on the eastern end of Rottnest Island. From 4 - 11 Aug 1941 he was in the Rottnest Camp Hospital before rejoining the Bickley Battery. On 6 Dec 1941 he was placed on the RAAF Reserve list. For a month between 16 Feb and 16 Mar 1942 he was posted to the Swan battery, before returning to the Bickley Battery. He was granted leave from 17 - 19 Apr 1942.
On 10 Jul 1942 he was posted to the Queensland Command, and on arrival was posted to the Heavy Artillery on 31 Jul 1942. Soon after, on 22 Aug 1942 he resigned from the militia and enlisted in the 2nd AIF while posted to the 'A' Australian Heavy Battery (this unit later was renamed 'R' Australian Heavy Battery (Coast)). On 14 Sep 1942 he embarked in Townsville on the SS Van Heutsz for Milne Bay in Papua, disembarking on 18 Sep 1942. On 20 Nov 1942 he was admitted to the 2/11th Australian Field Ambulance with malaria, and on 6 Dec 1942 he was embarked on HMT Katoomba suffering from malaria anaemia. On 14 Dec 1942 he disembarked in Sydney and was admitted to the 113th Australian General Hospital at Concorde. Recovery under way he was released to "Bonnie Bray" Convalescent Home on 13 Jan 1943 where he remained until 14 Feb 1942 when he returned to Queensland Command who two days later returned him to New Guinea Command.
On 28 Mar 1942 he embarked on HMT Taroona in Townsville, disembarking at Milne Bay on 31 Mar 1943. On arrival he was admitted to the 10th Australian Casualty Clearing Station with an infection. On 17 Apr 1943 he was released to the 2/3rd Australian Convalescent Depot, and on 1 May 1943 he was passed to the 11th Division Recreation Camp, recovering from malaria attack. On 4 May 1943 'A' Heavy Battery, then manning the Gill Gill Battery at Milne Bay moved with all its equipment to the Boera Battery at Port Moresby that contained two x 155mm guns. On 23 Jun 1943 he was admitted to the 2/5th Australian General Hospital with dermatitis, and on 18 Jul 1943 he was released to the 1st Australian Corps Rest Camp.
On 20 Jul 1943 Jack was back with his unit, now renamed 'R' Australian Heavy Battery (Coast), but by 23 Sep 1943 malaria had returned and he was again admitted to the 2/5th Australian General Hospital until 6 Oct 1943 when he was released to the 113th Australian Convalescent Depot. Discharged on 27 Oct 1943 he returned to 'R' Australian Heavy Battery (Coast) where he remained until he embarked on the SS Ormiston for Bowen on 7 Apr 1944. While on leave in Victoria he was admitted to the 115th Australian Base Hospital at Heidelberg for 4 days from 18 - 22 Apr 1944 with Malaria before returning to his unit.
On 13 Oct 1944 he left 'R' Australian Heavy Battery (Coast) for the NSW Command Depot, and on 11 Jan 1945 he was transferred to the 1st Australian Base Depot personnel in New South Wales as a General Reinforcement. On 23 Jan 1945 he moved north to Queensland and spent the next 5 months bouncing from one depot to another before being admitted to the 102nd Australian General Hospital from 24 Jun to 10 Jul 1945 with malaria. With the winding down of the war he returned to Western Australia and was discharged on 13 Nov 1945.
Information extracted from The Unit Guide Volume 4 - The Australian Army 1939-1945, R McKenzie-Smith, 2018