Vereen Bell

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Vereen M. Bell
Born5 October 1911
Cairo, Georgia
Died26 October 1944 (aged 33)
Leyte Gulf
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
UnitUSS Gambier Bay (CVE-73)
Battles/warsWorld War II
Other workNovelist Notable works-Swamp Water

Vereen M. Bell (5 October 1911 – 26 October 1944) was an American novelist and naval officer, who was killed in action during World War II.

Early life[edit]

Born in Cairo, Georgia, he graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina in 1932.

Career[edit]

After writing several short stories and editing magazines, Bell wrote the novel Swamp Water, set in the Okefenokee Swamp. It was originally published in 1940 as a serial in the Saturday Evening Post. The novel was successfully adapted as a film (B&W) of the same title in 1941 and again as a color film, Lure of The Wilderness, in 1952.

Bell continued writing while serving in the Navy in World War II. In May 1944 he was observed pecking at a typewriter in a stateroom on his ship, the USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73). The working title of his last work was The Renegade Queen.[1]

Death[edit]

In World War II Bell was a lieutenant assigned as an intelligence officer to Composite Squadron VC-10 aboard the USS Gambier Bay, an escort carrier. In the Battle off Samar, on 25 October 1944, the Gambier Bay was part of a task force attacked by Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's "Center Force". Bell rushed to the ready room to put on his flying gear but was ordered by the VC-10 commander, Lt. Cdr. Edward Huxtable, to remain on board. Bell survived the sinking of the Gambier Bay that morning but succumbed to exposure and delirium sometime during the evening of the 26th.[2]

Honors[edit]

Davidson College today awards the Vereen Bell Award for creative writing in his honor.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hoyt, Edwin P. (1979). "The Men of the Gambier Bay". Globe Pequot Press, p. 74. ISBN 1-58574-643-6
  2. ^ Hoyt, Edwin P. (1979). "The Men of the Gambier Bay". Globe Pequot Press, p. 234. ISBN 1-58574-643-6

Further reading[edit]

Vereen Bell, Brag Dog and Other Stories: The Best of Vereen Bell, Belgrade, Mont., Wilderness Adventures Press, 2000.
Alexander Sesonske, "Jean Renoir in Georgia: Swamp Water," Georgia Review 26 (Spring 1982), pp 24–66.