THE PRO PATRIA PROJECT
BELL Gladstone Henry
71151, Major, 27 Battalion, NZ Infantry

CITATION
Distinguished Service Order
Gazetted 13 December 1945, p6074
Major Gladstone Henry Bell was commanding No 3 Coy of 27 New Zealand Battalion during the assault of 9 New Zealand Infantry Brigade across the Sillaro River on the night 15/16 April 1945. No 3 was the left forward attacking Coy and the success of the Battalion attack was largely due to speed and skill with which the Coy carried out its role and attained its final objective.  During its advance the Company accounted for a total kill of four enemy tanks, three Panthers and one Tiger, which were successfully stalked and destroyed by means of PIAT’s and Number 77 Grenades. Major Bell set the example to his men by attacking in person under heavy machine gun fire the first tank encountered and setting it on fire by means of Number 77 Grenades, upon which it attempted to withdraw and was destroyed by Piat bombs. He further inspired and directed the operations against the remaining three tanks. The operation was the first assault that the unit, late a Medium Machine Gun Battalion, had carried out as an Infantry Battalion and the great success achieved by No 3 Coy was solely due to the care and forethought of Major Bell during its prior training and to his great personal courage, skill and leadership during the attack. When the Battalion was withdrawn into reserve after its actions on the Ganaia Canals Major Bell was appointed as temporary second in command of the unit. During the very rapid advance of the 9 New Zealand Infantry Brigade from the Po to Trieste and its attendant administrative difficulties, Major Bell’s organizing ability and indefatigable efforts were invaluable. Throughout the whole of the operations; from the crossing of the Senio River until the final entry into Trieste, his coolness under fire and pressure of work were an inspiration to the men under his command and of the utmost value to his commanding officer

AWARDS
Distinguished Service Order
1939-45 Star
Pacific Star
Italy Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
New Zealand War Service Medal

NOTES
Born 8 October 1908, Gisborne, New Zealand
Died 27 May 1967, Taupo, New Zealand