I was wondering if you would be kind of enough to tell me which Lord Connington fought the Battle of the Bells? Was it Rhaegar's friend? or his father? The debate seems to arise from the fact that Rhaegar's friend is referred to as Young Lord Connington whereas the Hand who fought and lost the Battle of the Bells was Lord Connington, are they one and the same? Or was the Hand the father of Rhaegar's friend?
It's the same man in all these references.
Aerys initially replaced Lord Tywin with the elderly, amiable Lord Merryweather, a courtier who was famed for throwing lavish feasts and flattering the king shamelessly. When Robert and Ned and Jon Arryn began their rebellion, Merryweather declared them outlaws and sent commands to various lesser lords to deliver them or their heads, but never stirred from King's Landing.
His methods proved largely ineffectual.. so much so that the paranoid king suspected him of deliberately helping Robert through inaction. So he stripped Merryweather of lands, title, and office and sent him into exile, and chose a very different man for Hand -- the young, vigorous Lord Connington, a friend of Rhaegar's who had a great reputation as a warrior.
Connington assembled an army and led it into the field personally... but as you read, his methods were no more successful than Merryweather's had been.