Lest We Forget

Our new Club Chaplain, Paul Brown invited the club to attend our first remembrance service at Beacon Community Church in Wibsey on Sunday 12TH November 2017.

The club received a warm welcome from Pastor Paul Brown and his congregation.

The service was marked by a minute’s silence at 11.00 and our own player, Donald Bell VC was honoured in the service.

Second Lieutenant Donald Simpson Bell, the former Bradford Park Avenue footballer who won the British Empire’s highest military decoration awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy”, the Victoria Cross.

Donald Simpson Bell is the only first English professional footballer to have joined the British Army during the First World War, having enlisted as a private in the West Yorkshire Regiment in November 1914. By June 1915, Bell had risen to the rank of sergeant and was commissioned into the 9th (Service) Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, better known as the Green Howards.

Bell was to lose his life five days later, during a similar assault on enemy positions south east of Contalmaison, and was initially buried where he fell before being moved to Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers-La Boiselle.

The memorial was in large part funded by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), who gave financial support to a memorial project initiated by the Friends of The Green Howards Museum, and was constructed by a mason from the locality after stone had been transported to France from Yorkshire . It was officially unveiled by General The Lord Dannatt on 9 July 2000, the memorial was rededicated on 11 September 2010 after refurbishment work that involved the addition of a new plaque.

On 25 November 2010, Bell’s Victoria Cross was purchased for a reported £252,000 by the PFA and in now on display in the National Football Museum in Manchester.

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