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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 209

A Second World War Civil C.B.E. and Great War A.F.C. group of five to Lieutenant Colonel S. Bell, Royal Air Force, late Royal Naval Air Service, who served as a Kite Balloon Officer to the Grand Fleet during the latter part of the Great War

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, 2nd Type, Military Division, (C.B.E.) Commander's neck Badge, silver-gilt and enamel; Air Force Cross, G.V.R.; 1914-15 Star (Flt. Sub. Lt. S. Bell, R.N.A.S.); British War and Victory Medals with M.I.D. oakleaves (Lt. Col. S. Bell. R.A.F.) very fine or better (5)

Glendining's, September 1991.

C.B.E. London Gazette 1 January 1946:

'In charge of Equipment Divisions and R.A.F. Liaison Officer, Department of National Service Entertainment.

A.F.C. London Gazette 1 January 1919.

M.I.D. London Gazette 3 June 1916 and 3 June 1918.

Stanley Bell was born on 8 October 1881 at Nottingham and was educated at Leeds School of Science and was an analytical chemist prior to his military service. He had a theatrical interest which commenced in 1897 when he was engaged as a scenic artist and commenced acting in 1900 when he appeared at Deal in "A Message from Mars". In 1906 he joined Sir Herbert Tree at His Majesty's Theatre, to assist with various productions, and he designed a number of scenes for the theatre. He was subsequently appointed associate stage-manager and later stage-manager, supervising several notable productions including "Pygmalion".

He joined the Royal Naval Air Service and was posted to Roehampton for training on 31 May 1915 was commissioned as Flight Sub Lieutenant on 9 June 1915. From there he was sent to the "N" School at Portsmouth for a Signal Course on 13 June 1916 and on completion of this he became part of the crew of Campania on 30 June 1916 and the same day was promoted to Flight Lieutenant. Campania was commanded by Captain O. Schwann, this was a converted Cunard Liner which was in use as an aircraft carrier with the Grand Fleet. Its permanent station appears to have been Scapa Flow. He then served as a Kite Balloon Officer to the Grand Fleet on King George V between 2 June 1917 - 30 January 1919, again King George operated in the North Sea from Scapa.

Vice Admiral J. M de Robeck of the Second Battle Squadron recorded him as:

'To my entire satisfaction as officer on my staff responsible for Kite Balloons in Grand Fleet; he proved himself a most capable organiser, showing much zeal and ability largely due to his initiative great progress was made in the use of K.B.'s in Grand Fleet.'

During his time with de Robeck he became Flight Commander on 30 June 1917 and Acting Squadron 9 February 1918. He was transferred to the Unemployed List on 22 August 1919.

Bell sent a report to the Vice-Admiral commanding, 2nd Battle Squadron, dated 1 June 1918 covering all aspects of Kite Balloons making various observations and suggestions, however given the end of the war was fast approaching and technology moving at a vast speed it is unlikely that much was implemented.

On the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the staff of E.N.S.A. at Drury Lane Theatre and was involved with designing and equipping a number of Garrison Theatres and Station Theatres for the Army and the Royal Air Force. He was appointed a Liaison Officer within the R.A.F. and continued this role throughout the war.

He received his C.B.E. on 23 July 1946 at Buckingham Palace and died on 4 January 1952.

Sold with Certificate from de Robeck confirming his service with him; Central Chancery letter dated 4 July 1946 informing him of the Investiture at Buckingham Palace.

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