A MONMOUTH community stalwart is retiring from a 50-year long career in the armed forces.

Captain David Bell of the R Mon RE (M)VR spent the most recent years of his life-long military career at Monmouth Castle, where he helped his regiment develop a close community relationship with the town.Those in Monmouth might recognise David from his involvement in a number of community projects, including helping to organise the town’s 100 year commemoration of the end of World War I, and spending a number of years on Monmouth Carnival’s steering committee.Captain Bell enlisted into the Royal Regiment of Wales (RRW) as a Junior Leader at the Junior Infantryman’s Wing Fulwood Barracks at Preston at the age of 15. On closure of the barracks he completed training at Cart-Y-Gollen Camp, The Prince of Wales Depot. Having joined 1RRW in 1975, he completed regular service in 1996. Having spent most of his service in the Corps of Drums becoming Drum Major in 1985, he was promoted to CSgt 1989 he then served with A Coy 3 RRW as a PSI then returned to 1RRW as the Unit Families SNCO in Hong Kong in 1990.On promotion to WO2 in 1992 he was appointed Drum Major for a second time and continue to hold this post until leaving the regiment.He held the posts of CSM HQ Coy, Families Warrant Officer and GPMG SF Co Ordinator during his last two years. From 1991 to 1996 Captain Bell spent much of his own time working in both military and civilian youth services. He was awarded GOC NI Commendation for exceptional contribution during tour in Ballykelly.Having accepted the post as Drum Major for Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) for his last six months service, he facilitated ceremonial requirements for the 100th anniversary of having double royal in its title, he continued service as a TA now reservist as SSM and Drum Major. Captain Bell was commissioned into R Mon RE (M) in 2001 where he served as 101HQ Sqn MTO and Tech QM.He attended a UK-US unit exchange to 2nd Company 104 Calvary in 2003 where he was recognised for his participation and the direct impact on the training of the newly formed unit Mechanised Infantry Unit. For this he was awarded the first Honorary Membership of 104 Cavalry.He later became 108 Fd Sqn QM before assuming the post of Regimental Operational Support Officer R Mon RE (M) on a 5-year NRPS contract. In 2014 he was appointed the Militia Capitan a role he still holds, until his final day of service in November 2021. Capt Bell lives by the motto service before self and leaves the Army just shy of 50 years reckonable service. He was recently awarded the first of 25 medals struck to recognise the service and dedication to the RMonRE(M).