Arthur Wells (Service No. 648)
(1894 - 1917)

Arthur Albert Wells was born 30 January 1893 in New Norfolk Hobart Tasmania to William Wells and Eugene Jessie Wells nee Triffitt. He grew up in the Hobart area but moved to Victoria and the district of Laverton sometime shortly before the outbreak of WWI where he was working as a motor mechanic.

He enlisted with the 2nd Australian Flying Squadron on 16 October 1916 as an Air Mechanic at the age of 22 years and 7 months. His father had passed away prior to Arthur moving to Victoria. The 2nd Australian Flying Squadron was based at Point Cook and had been raised at the request of the British to support their Air Force flying missions in France. Arthur was one of three Wells’ brothers who enlisted into the AIF during WWI. His younger brother Alfred Justen Wells (1897-1971) enlisted on 4 December 1916 in Hobart and served in the 1st Machine Gun Company as a private. Their elder brother Charles Wallace Wells (1888-1971) enlisted on 18 August 1914 in Western Australia and served in the 11th Infantry Battalion at Gallipoli where he was wounded on 25 April 1915 and was shipped back to Australia where he returned to his family home in Hobart just after his father William passed away on 4 September 1915.

Private Wells completed a short training period and then embarked to England onboard HMAT A38 Ulysses along with Private Richard Casey on the October 25 1916 arriving in England two months later. It was while he was on board the Ulysses that Private Wells began to feel unwell and as a result lost considerable weight about two stone and by the time he arrived in England his condition had worsened so was immediately admitted to hospital.

He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and while he received immediate treatment arrangements were made for him to be shipped back to Australia. In February 1917 he was taken aboard the hospital Ship Karoola that arrived back in Melbourne on 10 April 1917 and he was taken directly to the No. 11 Australian General Hospital.

Private Arthur Wells passed away from his illness on 16 April 1917 at No. 11 Australian General Hospital in Caulfield Melbourne aged 23 and was buried in the Coburg Cemetery.

The following were presented to his mother:

  • 24/2/1922 Memorial Scroll and Kings Message received by Eugene Jessie Wells (Mother)
  • 29/4/1921 Victory Medal received by Eugene Jessie Wells
  • 21/3/1923 Memorial Plaque received by Eugene Jessie Wells

References:

  1. ancestry.com.au
  2. https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=318384
  3. https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=8381025
  4. The Werribee Shire Banner Honor Roll, 9 November 1916
  5. Australian War Memorial – awm.gov.au

Research by: Graeme Reilly (ALHS)