Lieutenant Colin Sutherland Lynden-Bell, 99th Deccan Infantry, was accidentally killed on 21st February 1918 whist on active service in Nusayrayah, Mesopotamia. He was the second and only surviving son of parents Colonel Edward Horace Lynden Lynden-Bell (1858-1922) and Mary Haigh Lynden-Bell (née Guyon) who had married in December 1891 in Dover. Both parents came from families with a long tradition of military service. Colonel Lynden-Bell was a surgeon in the Royal Medical Corps, whilst his two brothers, Charles Perceval (1862-1934) and Arthur Lynden (1867-1943) were also career officers in the Army. His father, Major-General Thomas Lynden Lynden-Bell, served in the Army for 43 years. Mary’s father was Major-General Gardiner Frederick Guyon.
Colin Sutherland Lynden-Bell was born on 6th July 1894. His middle name Sutherland came from his maternal grandmother’s maiden name. The Sutherlands were also a military family. Colin was born in Bermuda, West Indies, where his father was stationed as a Surgeon-Captain with the Army Medical Staff.
Colin had an older brother, Guyon, who became a medical student and died, aged 21, in 1914. Their sister, Dorothy Gertrude, married Lieutenant (later Major) Norman Napier Evelyn Bray, Indian Army, in 1913.
The local connection is that Colin Sutherland Lynden-Bell was educated at Packwood Haugh, Warwickshire before attending Harrow, where he played in the Football First XI during 1910-11. After leaving school, he attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst as a Gentleman Cadet, passing out third, and receiving a commission in the Indian Army. On the outbreak of the War he was attached to the 3rd Battalion Royal Fusiliers and served with them in France, first entering a Theatre of War on 9th February 1915.
He was wounded at Kemmel on 8th March 1915 and, after recovering from his wound he went to India and saw service on the Frontier with the 99th Infantry. He was then sent to Mesopotamia, where he was accidentally killed on 21st February 1918.
He was mentioned in Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig’s Despatches of 7th November 1917 and his name was published in the Gazette of 21st December 1917 for gallant and distinguished service in the Field.
About three weeks before his death, Colin wrote his last Will and Testament, leaving all his belongings and any money standing with his bankers to his father. The only exception was a gold ring, inscribed on the inside “Aileen”, which he bequeathed to Miss Aileen Paull of Tadorne-Tadworth, Surrey. It seems likely that Colin and Aileen were sweethearts, although we haven’t found any formal announcement of an engagement. Aileen Paull married Alexander McBean in 1927 and died, aged 77, in 1972.
Colin Sutherland Lynden-Bell is buried at Basra War Cemetery, Iraq and is commemorated on Packwood Haugh’s Roll of Honour, as well as at Harrow School.
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