Lt. Col. W.H. Bell

Lieutenant Colonel Walker Bell, D.S.O.
3rd (Light) Tank Battalion

Bvt. Lt.-Colonel W.H. Bell is an able officer of sound judgement with decided personality and character. His knowledge of the application of tactical principles is sound as also are his views on matters connected with the training and administration of a Cavalry Regiment. In my opinion he is up to the standard of officers attending this school.

(Senior Officer School confidential report, 16 Aug 1924)

Walker Hardenbrook Bell was a Boer War veteran and Permanent Force member since 1906 when he was commissioned in the Royal Canadian Dragoons. He was born in St. John, New Brunswick on 28 December 1881. He served as second-in-command of the R.C.D. from July 1916 until January 1918, when he transferred to the British Army Tank Corps. His war service anticipated the eventual replacement of traditional cavalry with modern armour.

For over a year, Bell commanded the 3rd (Light) Tank Battalion until the end of the war. In April 1919, he rejoined the R.C.D. in temporary command, succeeding Lieutenant Colonel T. Newcomen. On a 1921 visit to Canada, General J.E.B. Seely, formerly of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade, tried to dissuade Bell, “who now swears that cavalry’s day is gone.” Despite Bell’s prediction, he still had an interest in the old ways and wrote a brief history of early Canadian cavalry units for the Cavalry Journal in 1926. He retired from the Permeant Force after twenty-three years in 1927.

He died on 29 July 1959.

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