User:Dmol/Walter D.M. Bell

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Walter Dalrymple Maitland Bell was a Scottish born African adventurer, big game hunter, writer, and pilot.

He was born on the family estate near Edinburgh in 1880 of Scottish and Manx ancestry[1]. After a short time spent panning for gold in the Yukon[2], he joined a Canadian mounted cavalry unit during the Boer War. Bell was captured when his horse was shot from under him but escaped and managed to get back to British lines.

Bell remained in Africa after the war, and became a professional elephant hunter[3]. For the next twenty five years, he hunted in Uganda, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Central Africa and West Africa[4]

He became known as “Karamoja” Bell (Sometimes spelt Karamojo) because of his safaris through this remote wilderness area in North Eastern Uganda.

Bell shot over 1500 elephants during his career. He was noted for using high speed, smaller calibre bullets rather than than the bigger slower calibres that were popular with other big game hunters. Over a thousand of these kills were made with English manufactured copies of German Mauser rifles in 7x57mm calibre. A further 300 were killed with Mannlicher-Schoenauer 6.5x54mm carbines, and another 200 with a .303 British. He insisted on using military Full Metal Jacket bullets weighing from approx 150 to 200 grains, rather than the 400+ grain soft point bullets popular at the time[5]

He re-enlisted in World War I, and became a pilot in Tanganyika (present day Tanzania). It is reputed that he only flew alone so that he could take pot-shots at enemy aircraft with his rifle without other crew getting in the way.

Bell was later decorated for service in Greece and Italy, and returned to Africa after the war.

His safaries continued into the early 1920s, gaining a large fortune from the ivory he collected.

Bell retired to Scotland and began writing several books about his exploits.

During World War II, he was involved in Operation Dynamo, sailing his yacht in to Dunkirk to rescue British and French troops.

Walter Bell spent his later years writing and painting, using some of his paintings as illustrations in his books.

Bell died of a heart attack in 1951.