Commander George Robert Bell was born in August 1831 and appointed an Acting Mate aboard H.M.S. Driver in April 1851. Transferring to the 16-gun Paddle Ship Magicienne two years later, he went on to serve in the Baltic operations of 1854-55 and was sent home in charge of a Prize. Returning immediately as a newly promoted Lieutenant aboard the Odin, another 16-gun Paddle Ship, Bell was present at the capture of Sebastopol and Kilburn, and in December 1856 transferred to the Iris. In this latter ship he was present in operations off New Zealand 1860-61 and 'Honourably Mentioned' for his command of a small-arms party in operations against the inhabitants of Tanna Island, New Hebrides. He was also commended for jumping over board and saving the life of a Midshipman who had fallen from aloft when Iris was off Rio harbour. One of Bell's final seagoing appointments was aboard the Hawke, which ship was engaged in Coast Guard duties off Ireland. Advanced to Commander in October 1873, he was latterly Marine Superintendent of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company.