Private Martin Bell killed in Afghanistan
Private Martin Bell with his brothers Philip (left) and Oliver (right)
[Picture: via MOD]
Private Bell deployed to Afghanistan on 14 October 2010 with C (Bruneval) Company, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment. He was based in Patrol Base 2 in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.
On 25 January 2011 he deployed with his multiple to Spoor Kalay, a small village north of Patrol Base 2. His mission was to interdict insurgent forces along known infiltration routes and prevent them from both attacking the Afghan National Army and intimidating the local population.
At 0825hrs Private Bell was fatally wounded by an improvised explosive device as he moved to assist a comrade injured by a separate device.
Private Martin Bell
Private Bell was born on 13 October 1986. He attended the Salt Grammar School in Shipley. However, his home town was Bradford. Before he joined the Army, Private Bell was a Police Community Support Officer.
He completed his basic training on 17 April 2009 and was posted to 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment. He came to the 2nd Battalion in July 2010, just prior to the battalion’s deployment to Afghanistan.
Private Bell shone in C (Bruneval) Company. He was excellent throughout the mission specific training package and was utterly professional throughout his time in Afghanistan. He was immensely popular and well respected by all ranks.
Private Bell had a bright future ahead of him and had been clearly identified as a rising star.
He leaves behind his parents, Simon and Elaine, and his brothers, Oliver and Philip.
The family of Private Bell have made the following statement:
“Martin (24) was proud to be in the Parachute Regiment and serving his country. He served three years as a Police Community Support Officer in West Yorkshire Police before joining the Paras. He has made lots of friends easily at each point of his life’s journey. Martin was extremely close to his two brothers, Oliver and Philip.
“He had a wicked and infectious sense of humour that would have served him well in difficult times. He was due home on his R and R on 14 February.
“Martin was a well-loved son, grandson, nephew, cousin, uncle and brother. He made us all very proud and he will leave behind a hole in all of our hearts that will never be replaced. He was our best friend too.
“We are a very close-knit family and, although we are grieving for his loss, we hope that all the other soldiers keep safe.”
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Harrison, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, said:
“Private Martin Bell died going to the assistance of a critically injured friend in the most dangerous combat circumstances imaginable; ‘greater love has no man than this’. He knew the risks all too well; twice in the minutes before his death he had witnessed at first-hand the devastating human impact of IEDs.
“The term ‘hero’ is overused in contemporary commentary; take a moment to reflect on the image of Martin Bell, a twenty-four-year-old paratrooper who disobeyed a direct order in order to render life-saving first aid to his colleague. For that exceptional valour he paid the ultimate price.
“Tomorrow morning the laughter of newly-enrolled Afghan schoolchildren will echo across the impoverished village that Martin Bell died protecting. Perhaps the burgeoning hope of that generation is his greatest legacy; I hope they live their lives with the honour, dignity and resolve that defined Martin.
“For the Battle Group he has left, we will mourn the loss of a great soldier, a dear friend and an inspirational character. For his family we can offer scant comfort, less our most heartfelt condolences, the assurance that he passed away amongst friends, and the knowledge that he died whilst saving others.
“Private Martin Bell’s name will be carved into the chronicles of history; he will never be forgotten. Utrinque Paratus.”
Read the full Eulogy here