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Legion of Frontiersmen (New Zealand) Command
New Zealand Army
Legion of frontiersmen, New Zealand
Born in Southbridge, New Zealand on 14 February 1870 to Allen and Mary BELL who were farmers in the area. In his youth he worked as a bushman and a farmer. In 1895, Bell traveled to southern Africa and served with the British armed forces and in 1896 was involved in the suppression of the rising by the Matabele (Ndebele) people. He then was on active service with the Rhodesia Regiment during the South African War of 1899. BELL was discharged on 31 January 1900 and then returned to Taranaki. On 29 January 1902 he married James Helen Shaw LAMBIE at Pihama. They bought a block of land at Te Rapa, near Hamilton. Their daughter Elaline Sylva was born on 6 July 1904.
BELL was a member of the Waipa County Council and the Hamilton Borough Council. He was also the founder of the Waikato Agricultural and Pastoral (A&P) Association and he was the first director of the Waikato Dairy Company in 1912.
Allen BELL ran for Parliament in the seat of Waikato at the 1908 general election, but he lost to the Liberal candidate. At the 1911 general election Bell ran as the Reform Party candidate in the Raglan seat. During the campaign BELL created some controversy when he advocated for the abolition of the monarchy, and the creation of a New Zealand republic. He also argued for the abolition of the New Zealand upper house and Britain's House of Lords. As a result of these comments, the Reform Party threw BELL out as their candidate. At about this time the armed forces considered that he had broken his Oath of Allegiance as an Officer (Lieutenant Colonel). He was asked to resign his commission, with which he reluctantly did in January 1912.
In 1911, Allen BELL joined the New Zealand Command of the Legion of Frontiersmen and after his discharge from the Army went on to devote much of his time and energy to promoting and expanding the Legion. BELL was appointed as the Legion's Commandant for Auckland District with the rank of Hon Colonel. He retained and used this Legion of Frontiersmen rank for the rest of his life. In 1912, Allen BELL journeyed to Dargaville in the far north and met with local men Dick LONG, Andy KNUDSON and one other in the Central Hotel in Dargaville one winter's night with the intention of forming the Northern Wairoa (Mounted Rifles) Squadron of the Legion.
In 1913, as Commandant of the Auckland District, BELL convened (and chaired) a meeting of the Legion in the "Hall of Commerce" for the purpose of considering the viability of setting up a Dominion Executive of the Legion, the election of a Commandant for the North Island and other matters. A ballot is taken by A Squadron's secretary, Frontiersman Thomas E. WHITTON which shows a large majority in favour of a Dominion Executive, a five shilling annual levy for its support, and election of Colonel BELL as the North Island Commandant of the Legion. Captain FORBES-EADIE, LOF moves that the current Auckland Executive be disbanded and that Colonel BELL's new executive take over. This is unanimously approved. At the conclusion of the meeting Colonel BELL refers to the great loss sustained by the Defence Forces by the very recent death of Mrs BREWIS (of Hamilton), who was the first woman in New Zealand to assist in organising the universal military training movement
Colonel Allen BELL won the Bay of Islands electorate seat in the elections of 1922 as an Independent, and in 1925 won the same seat for the Reform Party, but he was to be defeated by Harold RUSHWORTH of the Country Party in the 1928 elections. The election result was declared to be void, but in the subsequent by-election in 1929 Rushworth was again re-elected
Colonel Allen BELL died on the 15th October 1936 at the age of 66 years. He was cremated at Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland