Alan Duncan Bell-IrvingOBE MC (2) was born on August 28, 1894, in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC). In August 1914, he joined the 16th Battalion of the Canadian Army. In 1915, he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and served as an observer with 7 Squadron until he was wounded on December 14, 1915. After recuperating he trained as a pilot and in April 1916 joined 60 Squadron, flying Moran scout aircraft from Vert Galand in France. In late August 1916, he scored his first enemy plane destroyed when he shot down a German Roland fighter plane near Bapaume, France.
On September 23, 1916 he shot down his second enemy plane, another Roland fighter craft. At the beginning of October, risking death and destruction he shot down a German balloon at 1,000 feet under heavy enemy fire, bringing the balloon down in flames. For this feat of bravery and skill he was awarded his firstMilitary Cross (MC).
On October 15, 1916, he shot down two German planes, for his sixth and seventh victories. On October 21, Bell-Irving himself was shot down but he managed to crash-land among British trenches. When escorting a bombing raid, he engaged several enemy machines and drove them off. Afterwards, although his own machine was damaged, he continued to fight against superior numbers of the enemy.
For his bravery in facing death and destruction during this action he was awarded a secondMC. France also decorated him with the Croix de Guerre. On November 9, 1916 he was himself shot down for the fourth time and was so severely wounded in the legs that he was taken out of combat. Later, in 1918 when he became Chief Flying Instructor of the Gosport Flying School in Britain, he invented the non-electrical aircraft intercom system that became standard equipment in training planes during WW2. Between wars Bell-Irving went into the insurance business in Vancouver BC. During WW2 he became Commanding Officer of first, the Jarvis Ontario Flying School and then the Trenton Ontario Air Station that was the hub of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. He retired after WW2 with the rank of Air Commodore and went into the real estate business in Vancouver and died there, in 1965 at age 70.