Isaac Bell

Alias Isaak

Born 21.02.1888

Place Krasnoiarsk, Siberia, Russia

Ethnic origin Jewish

Religion Jewish


Wife Sophia Zivin, married 1912, Melbourne; 4 children; 1925 wife Ellen Hall

Arrived at Australia
on 1909

Residence before enlistment Carlton, Vic.

Occupation Watchmaker; 1935 worked on wharfs in Sydney

service number 6768
enlisted 8.01.1917
POE Melbourne
unit 21st Battalion, 5th Battalion
rank Private
place Western Front, 1917-1918
final fate RTA 5.04.1919
discharged 27.07.1919

Naturalisation Served as Russian subject, 1957 applied for naturalisation

Residence after the war 1957 Lithgow


Digitised service records (NAA)

Digitised Embarkation roll entry (AWM)

Court martial records 1 2 (NAA)

Personal case file 1 2(NAA)

Alien registration 1 2 (NAA)

Blog article



Newspaper articles

Is Issy Bell a bigamist?. - Truth, Sydney, 30 December 1928, p. 26.

From Russian Anzacs in Australian History:

There were others who wanted to join a Jewish battalion but were less successful. One of them was Isaak Bell, a former watchmaker from Siberia, who joined the 21st Battalion at the end of December 1917. Bell complained, 'I have always been treated badly in the Battalion. They were always calling me a Jew, I could not help being born a Jew. ... I complained to my Sgt. Major and he simply laughed at me. ... They always stole my things from me at every opportunity. They drove me mad all the time. I am wearing the Australian uniform and should be treated like the rest. I tried to keep on my own to save any trouble.' He was indeed driven to the edge: during 1918 he left his unit four times, being apprehended each time; deliberately wounded himself twice and was court-martialled three times. It was obvious that he wasn't going to be accepted by the other diggers, and neither was he going to fight efficiently; yet, each time he was convicted, his sentence was straightaway suspended and he was sent back to the trenches -- the army machine would not let him go.