Service held for soldier who was part of local community

GOOD CITIZEN Maurice Bell, second from right, was an active member of the Lee Residents Association
GOOD CITIZEN Maurice Bell, second from right, was an active member of the Lee Residents Association
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A retired army captain who played an active role in the community has been remembered this month.

Maurice Bell was born in Somerset in 1919 and moved to Gosport with his father, who was a soldier.

He grew up in the town and later settled in Lee-on-the-Solent, where he died on November 22 at the age of 96.

Maurice studied at Gosport Grammar School, now Bay House School, before becoming an apprentice at Post Office Telecoms.

After completing his apprenticeship he was promoted to a junior management post in Birmingham.

At the outbreak of World War Two, around his 20th birthday, Maurice was called up and served as an officer in the Royal Corps of Signals from 1939 to 1946, where he gained the rank of Captain.

During the war, Maurice also spent some of his time on secondment to the Indian Army where he joined the parachute brigade on its formation.

He later met and married Sylvia who was working as a nurse at Haslar Hospital.

After the war, Maurice returned to Post Office Telecoms and he and Sylvia moved to Birmingham and then to Herne, near Canterbury, before finally settling in Lee-on-the-Solent.

Since retiring the couple have played an active role in the area. Maurice had been a church sidesman and active participant in the Lee Residents’ Association.

His wife has worked for the Lee Art Group, including some time as chair and vice chair of the Voluntary Aid Detachment and has joined in their annual reunions and Whitehall Remembrance Day parades.

Around 12 years ago Maurice became chairman of the Brigade Association, which keeps contact with the current Indian Army Airborne and a group of Indian civilians in Imphal, Manipur.

His wife Sylvia, aged 98, survives him.

The couple have three children, eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

A funeral service was held on Monday, December 7 at St Faith’s Church, Lee-on-the-Solent.