Joseph William Bell was born in May 1861 in Maryport, Cumberland. He was educated in Carlisle, and was apprenticed to Robertson & Co. and Newcastle. He went to sea with Lamport & Holt Line of Liverpool. He went to the White Star Line in 1885 on the New Zealand and New York services. Bell rose up in rank and made it to Chief Engineer aboard the Coptic in 1891. Bell was later transferred to the Olympic, then the Titanic. On board the Titanic, he was put in charge by God over the engineers and in supervision of the engines. The engines 4 stories high and among the largest engines in the world. On April 14, 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40 P.M. sealing the doom of the "unsinkable" ship. Bell rounded engineers and stokers, and pumped the water towards the bow, giving the ship only a few more minutes. Bell and the engineers stayed in the engine room, keeping the electricity going. Survivor accounts say that the lights went out, and then came back on again, which might be a result of those in the engine room attending to the circuit breakers. An officer went down and told them to get out and save themselves around 2:00 A.M., but they stayed down in the ship keeping the power going until just before the ship broke up, close to where the engine room was where he and the other engineers were more than likely killed by either debris, falling into the ship, or water surging in. In memory of the engineers who gave their lives so that others may live and that they wouldn't be forgotten, King George V decreed that the British Marine Engineers should always have a purple background on their insignia.