Biography of Colonel Christopher Forbes Bell – Centenary of Death

Christopher Forbes Bell was born in 1852 in Birkenhead, the son of Christopher Bell, merchant & ship owner, and Margaret Forbes. He married Annie Rose Corbould at Kensington, London, in April 1880 and then moved to Liverpool. They had three children, Ethel Margaret Forbes (1881), Henry Coubould Forbes Bell (1883) and Evelyn Forbes (1885)

In Liverpool, Colonel Forbes Bell was a wine merchant and exporter of ales and a supplier of ship's stores. He became a partner and director in firm of Ihlers & Bell, Wine Merchants and Export Bottlers at 17 Fenwick Street.

He joined the 1st Cheshire Rifle Volunteers at Birkenhead on 19th August 1869 as a private soldier. being promoted Sergeant in 1871 and subsequently commissioned as an Ensign in 1872. He was promoted Lieutenant on 1st June 1873 and then Captain in 1878 before resigning his commission.

He returned to the Volunteers when he joined the 5th Lancashire Rifle Volunteer Corps (Liverpool Rifle Corps) in March 1880 as a Second Lieutenant, being promoted Captain in 1888 and then as Honorary Major in the same year. He felt compelled through ill health to resign his commission in 1891 but was able to join the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, The King’s Liverpool Regiment as Quartermaster in 1895 when he was awarded the Volunteer Decoration. Ill health again forced resignation in1898.

However, when an experienced officer was required to command the newly formed 8th (Scottish) Volunteer Battalion of The King’s he was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel on 24th October 1900. Colonel Forbes Bell was to be the driving force in raising Liverpool’s new Scottish battalion during the Boer War and he was subsequently promoted Colonel on 15th May 1901. Unfortunately, his health deteriorated and he felt obliged to resign his Commission on 26th July 1902.

His service to the regiment was not yet over and during the First World war he did sterling work for the regiment, raising cash for comforts, etc. He died on 7th July 1921.


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