Many thanks for your assistance.
Yes, I downloaded his service record and found him in the lists that have been digitized by Google, except for the 1863 list, which apparently hasn't been digitized (yet). The odd thing is that there are dates in his service record that don't seem fit with others. For example, I located a description of the Brisk's action in the Maori Wars in September of 1865, where Bell was commended by his captain (Luce, according to the service record) for his "conduct in operations against rebel natives at Opotiki, New Zealand stating he showed great coolness under fire.”
BUT, other information shows Luce as captain of the Brisk from February 24, 1862 to August 22, 1863. If this is correct, Captain Luce would have been gone from the ship two years before this action took place, with his successor, Captain Hope, serving from August 1864 through January 1869. This is just one of the odd discrepancies in Bell's service record with which I'm wrestling.
My interest in the 1863 list is because I have (or rather, will soon have) a photo of Bell dated October 31, 1863, taken in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Bell was given a cadetship in 1857, and received his commission as a sub-Lt on March 20, 1864, so he must have been a midshipman(?) in 1863. I'm not very well-versed on Royal Navy uniforms, but the kit he's wearing in the photo doesn't fit -- no braid, no buttons -- but there may be some kind of cuff decoration on the left arm. I'll have to wait until the photo arrives to find out.
I've attached the seller's image. I hope to uncover other details once the actual photo arrives.
Thanks again for your help. Any other suggestions or theories will be welcomed.
- Lt Bell RN 1863.jpg (97.17 KiB) Viewed 2452 times