An undercover agent : Corporal Thomas Richard - Dick - Bell
Corporal Thomas Richard 'Dick' Bell was born on March 30th, 1912, in Ottawa, ON. Bell joined the RCMP on January 7th, 1933, and that year joined the Musical Ride.
Staring off his career in Western Canada, Bell dealt with Doukhobors and their “King” Peter Verigin. In 1939, Bell took on the role of an undercover agent in Prince Edward Island under an assumed name. His role – keep an eye out for enemy agent activity if a war was to break out. Not even other members of the RCMP detachments in PEI were aware of his true identity.
In 1941, Bell was placed in charge of the Maritimes Dog Section. Upon the escape of two German POW’s from the liner Duchess of York, Bell caught one of the men. This was the first POW escape and capture in Canada since the work started.
Over the course of his career, he served in Divisions ‘F’, ‘L’, ‘H’, ‘NWT’, ‘E’, 'N', & 'HQ'.
A story to note and highlighted in the Ottawa Citizen is the nerve racking encounter with Queen (then Princess) Juliana of Netherlands. During her stay at the residence in Rockcliffe, she lost a priceless brooch. The lost family heirloom was kept secret as staff and the secret service searched for it. Finally, the RCMP was called in, including Constable Bell who was with the Dog Section. Retracing the Princesses steps around McKay Lake, the dog quickly discovered the brooch. Upon Bell returning the lost brooch, the Queen-to-be was elated. She ran up to the service dog and threw her arms around it. Shocked, Bell could only stand there and pray the dog did not attack. RCMP dogs are trained to spring at any stranger who approached him or his master. After a moment, the big police dog wagged his tail and licked the Princess’s face. Disaster averted.
When his term expired on June 4th, 1943, Bell ‘took discharge’ in order to enlist in the Canadian Army Provost Corps three days later. Immediately earning the rank of sergeant, he reverted back to a rank of private in order to get overseas, only by a twist of fate stationing him permanently in Canada. Bell was demobilized in Summer 1946, and reengaged in Ottawa later in the Fall.
Despite his broken service, Bell went to pension on November 20th, 1959. Bell then became a sergeant with the Gloucester-Nepean police force.
Corporal Thomas Richard 'Dick' Bell died at the age of 55 on May 21st, 1967.