University of Oxford
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William Bell - 24th May 1943

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 19:09 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Joyce Bell tells the story of her father-in-law William D K Bell. On the night of the 24th of May, 1943, the family were living in one of the following streets in South Shields: Moffett Street, Stainton Street or Stevenson Street. The house was bombed that night: "The house and their belongings were gone." Joyce continued the story:

"Their father, William D. K. Bell, a miner, also a part-time, ARP Rescue Warden was on duty that night and had just left after talking to his family and was killed at Moffett Street."

"The mother who was expecting a baby was in the yard shelter with her five children, ranging from 12 to three. When the door of the shelter fell inwards, the mother was taken to hospital where the baby, a boy was born and only lived for two weeks. The children were taken to a school for the night and were later given a house nearby in Westoe Road."

"Many years later my husband told me that when they were shepherded along the lane to go to the nearby school, they were two dead men propped up against the wall, possibly one of them was his own father."

"It was the last bombing raid of South Shields, 22 slightly injured, 24 seriously injured, 26 died including two children."

Attached are audio and transcription.


Item list and details

1. Photograph William Bell 2. Shields Gazette death notice William Bell 3. Shields Gazette air raid details 4. Shields Gazette air raid details continued 5. Shields Gazette Roll of Honour 6. ARP card of William Bell 7. Biography of William Bell's death

Person the story/items relate to

William D. K. Bell

Person who shared the story/items

Joyce Bell

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

Her father-in-law

Type of submission

Shared at Ocean Road Community Centre, Tyne and Wear on 18 November 2023. The event was organised by South Shields Local History Group.

Record ID

94028 | SSH015