Hilliard Brooke Bell MC KC was born in 1897 at Chatham, Ontario (ON). He was a student at the University of Toronto, ON when he joined the Canadian Field Artillery in November 1916. Five months later, in the spring of 1917, he joined the British Royal Flying Corps (RFC).

In July 1917, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and proceeded overseas to Britain where he received advance flying training, qualifying as a scout pilot in September 1917. On October 16, 1917, he was posted to No. 66 Squadron RFC in France. This squadron was flying Sopwith Pups aircraft and in November the squadron was moved to Italy to help in fighting the combined Austro-German offensive which had begun on October 24, 1917. One result of the decision to send Allied reinforcements to aid the Italians, was that six RFC squadrons were sent from France to Italy. Bell's squadron was equipped with Sopwith Camel aircraft shortly after arrival in Italy.

Prior to him becoming Flight Commander, Bell had shot down four enemy planes. By July 1918, he had shot down another five enemy planes for a total of nine and after his ninth air victory he returned to England where he instructed air crew for several months. He returned to Canada wearing the ribbons of the Military Cross (MC) and the Italian Bronze Medal for Military Valour. The citation for his MC referred to his gallantry and bravery in facing death from enemy aircraft.

On his release from the Royal Air Force in 1918, he returned to his studies in Toronto, graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School and being called to the Bar of Ontario in 1921. He was appointed King's Counsel (KC) in 1935 and after nearly 40 years devoted to the Law he died in hospital in Toronto in September 1960.