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News > Obituaries > Obituary - Keith Bell (OI 1940 - 1948)

Obituary - Keith Bell (OI 1940 - 1948)

It is with regret that we notify you of the death of Keith Bell.

Keith was at the school from 1940-1948 and will be sadly missed by his friends, family and all who knew him at the School.

We are conscious that many people from this time at school may not be in contact with us and we would be very grateful if you could pass on this information to those that you know.

As is the usual practice, we would like to place an obituary for him in the next OI Journal and would be very grateful if anyone felt they could come forward to write one. Alternatively, if you know of any stories or memories, please pass them on so we could put them together for the publication. Address any contributions to me through

With best wishes,

Iain Chesterman

OI Chairman


Keith Anthony Bell was born in London on 3rd March 1930. He was the eldest of four children, all the others being girls; Monica followed by twins Judy and Bobbie. 

He joined Ipswich School in the summer of 1940 and progressed to the main school in the Autumn of 1941. He continued through to the second year sixth form, obtaining his Oxford and Cambridge Higher Certificate in 1948. He was in Broke House and was made School Career Vice Captain of the House. He was made a School Prefect in his final year at school. 

He played in the Ipswich School 1st XV rugby from 1945-48 and for Suffolk Public Schools XV in 1948. He was house captain for Athletics from 1947-48 and won the interschools long jump in 1948. He loved playing cricket and gained his 2nd XI colours in May 1948. He was President of Sports in 1948 and became Victor Ludorum of Ipswich School Sports that same year.

He joined the Scouting Movement, becoming a First Class Senior Scout in November 1947. As a scout he attended Summer Camps at Hintlesham, Cromer and Crowcombe and in 1947 at Kandersteg, Switzerland. 

He was promoted to Sergeant in the JTC in August 1947 and again took part in Summer Camps.

From 1946-48 he was a member of the Literary and Dramatic Society and participated in two School Plays: “The Zeal of Thy House” (Dec. 1947) and “Richard II” (Dec. 1948).

He continued his passion for rugby after he left school (1948) and played in the BP Refinery Rugby team on a hot rolled sand pitch in Aden. In his retirement he played tennis three times a week.

From 1948 to 1949 he served in the Royal Army Service Corps, training at Yeovil in Somerset. He was eventually transferred to the Intelligence Corps. He finished his service at Hounslow, having reached the rank of Corporal. He was demobbed in May 1949.

In early 1952 Keith was working for the Anglo Iranian Oil Company (later to be renamed British Petroleum) in their Head Office in London. It was decided that he should be sent to Aden to gain some practical experience. At the time Aden was one of the busiest bunkering ports in the world. After a year of working as a bunkering officer he returned to the UK, but in July 1953, due to his previous experience in the Colony he was sent back as part of BP’s skeleton staff supervising the building of the new BP refinery at Little Aden. Altogether he worked for BP in Aden a total of ten years from 1952 until 1962.

While on his first leave back in England early in 1955 Keith met and proposed to Eve Marion Williams and upon his return to Aden, he arranged for Eve to join him. They were married on 8th October 1955 at the BP Company church in Little Aden by an RAF Padre. They had two sons, Anthony and David while they were living in Aden before they finally returned to England for good on 4th December 1962.

Keith found living back in the UK, commuting to London for his work with BP difficult. One cold Winter’s eve, whilst walking along the platform at Liverpool Street Station he spotted an advertising poster which read, “Come to sunny Australia”. He made up his mind on the spot to move to Australia. On Thursday, 17th August 1967 Keith, Eve and their three young children (they now had a daughter, Claire) departed Heathrow and arrived in Sydney on Saturday, 19th August.

Keith found work as a Supply Clerk in the Supply Department of AMPOL at the Lytton Refinery, located on the Brisbane River, Queensland. In 1974 he was relocated down to AMPOL’s Supply Department in their Head Office in North Sydney.

Keith eventually retired from the Oil Industry on 30th July 1993, having worked for the industry for 42 years. He and Eve moved from their family home in Eastwood, Sydney to the beautiful mid-north New South Wales coastal town of Forster.

He passed away on Friday, 24th June 2022 and is survived by his wife, Eve, sons Anthony and David, daughter, Claire, 9 grandchildren (all boys!), 2 step grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

Herbert Golding OI and brother-in-law


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