Sarah Bell was born at Scarsdale, Victoria, and trained as a nurse at the Ballarat District hospital for three years. During World War One she enlisted at the age of 33 into the 1st Australian General Hospital. Her next of kin was her mother Mary Bell who lived on the corner of Sturt and Ripon Streets, Ballarat. At the time of enlistment Sarah Bell had 2 2/1 years’ experience with the A.A.N.S. During that time she worked at Alexandria, Heliopolis and Cairo.

She embarked on the H.M.A.T. Nestor on 28 February 1918 on 20 April 1918 Sister Bell was transferred to the H.M.A.T. London. The following day she was attached to No. 2. A.A.H., Southall. On 11 May 1918 she was detached from No. 2. A.A.H. for return to Australia. She was discharged from service in the A.I.F. on 12 February 1919.