Delville Wood bell

  • Height  140 mm
  • Width  175 mm
  • Weight  4 kg
  • Note  G#
Bell Inscription

Delville Wood
In Memory of Alfred Meliss Stuart.
Given by his Mother.

Originally the smallest bell in the Carillon, ‘Delville Wood’ is dedicated to the memory of Lance Corporal Alfred Meliss Stuart.

A share-broker from Scorching Bay in Wellington, Alfred enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in October 1915. He claimed to be 40 years old, but in reality was 45, the maximum age for recruits at this time.

Alfred joined the 3rd Battalion of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade and, while still in camp, received a promotion to lance corporal. By March 1916 he was in Egypt, where the New Zealanders had passed the winter following their evacuation from Gallipoli. In April, Alfred travelled with the New Zealand Division to northern France and the Western Front.

After spending several months in Armentières, the New Zealand Division moved south to join the ongoing Somme offensive. On 10 September, the division entered the line between High and Delville woods in preparation for an assault to follow.

Early on the morning of 15 September, the New Zealand infantry advanced on the enemy with the aim of securing the area around the village of Flers. Although successful in capturing their objective, the cost was high and Alfred was among those who became casualties. Wounded in action on the 15th, he was evacuated to a nearby casualty clearing station. He died the next day.

Following his death Alfred was remembered in the Evening Post as a popular man, known for his involvement in various amateur sporting endeavours. For his mother, Norah Mary Stuart, remembrance came in the form of the then smallest bell in the National War Memorial Carillon. The bell was named 'Delville Wood' after the area of the Somme near to where he was fatally wounded. It is one of seven bells in the Carillon linked to the 1916 Somme offensive. 

Further information:

Auckland War Memorial Museum Online Cenotaph record – Alfred Stuart
Commonwealth War Graves Commission record – Alfred Stuart

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