Norman Richard Bell
|HOME OF RECORD:
654 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY
|NEXT OF KIN:
Father, Mr. James M. Bell
|DATE OF BIRTH:
11/6/1943 – 2/20/1945
|DATE OF DEATH:
|LAST KNOWN RANK:
Private First Class
Norman Bell was the son of James and Edith Bell of Brooklyn, New York. He grew up at 410 St. Mark’s Avenue in the Prospect Heights neighborhood; in the early 1940s, the Bells moved a few blocks to 654 Bergen Street. Bell’s draft notice was delivered to this address not long after his eighteenth birthday in 1943.
Bell went through boot camp at Parris Island; he qualified as a rifle sharpshooter on January 18, 1944 and was sent for additional infantry training. Like most men who entered the Corps later in the war, Private Bell was assigned to a replacement unit in California to await a combat assignment. It was not until September 20, 1944 that Bell (now a Private First Class) received orders to report to Company A, 24th Marines. He would serve as a BAR gunner, replacing one of the many casualties the company suffered in the campaigns for Saipan and Tinian.
PFC Bell spent the entire winter training for his first invasion, which turned out to be Iwo Jima. Sadly, the nineteen-year-old Brooklynite was among the first to fall in the bloody battle; he was fatally wounded while his company mopped up Iwo’s invasion beaches on February 20, 1945. He had been in combat for less than 24 hours.
For the next eight days, Bell’s body lay on the beach, covered only by a poncho. On February 28, he was buried in a long trench, the location marked Plot 1, Row 9, Grave 359 of the Fourth Marine Division Cemetery. Finally, in 1948, he was permanently laid to rest in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.