In October 1915 Robert Bell stated he was a 28 year old married miner from Queenstown. On enlistment he was allotted to the 8th Field Company Engineers. On reaching England in July 1916, he spent two months in England undergoing further training before being sent to ‘the Front’. Soon after arriving in France he was admitted to hospital at Camiers and it was not until 11 December that he was taken on strength with the 3rd Field Company Engineers. In March 1917 he was admitted to hospital with pneumonia and evacuated to England. Whilst there he got himself into trouble with the authorities on several occasions resulting in the loss of pay. On his return to ‘the Front’ he was transferred to the 12th Battalion.
On 1st May, the battalion was in camp at Borre Sidling near the Hazebrouck-Poperinghe railway line and surrounded by batteries of guns. At about 9.30pm as it was growing dark, a stray shell landed in the middle of the camp and burst on the ridge-pole of one of the huts. It had and instantaneous fuse. The hut took the full force of the explosion resulting in 10 killed and 14 wounded. Among the wounded was Robert Bell who was only slightly wounded as was able to return to duty 5 days later.
He was wounded on a second occasion late July sustaining a contused left eye. Evacuated to England for treatment he spent several months there before re-joining his unit on 3 November 1918. He returned to Australia in August 1919. Little more is known about Robert Bell post war except that he died from stomach cancer at Launceston on 12 June 1927 aged 40 years.