WELLS, James Francis

No. G/51219, Private, James Francis WELLS
Aged 37

24th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)
formerly No.26584, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 8th June 1918

James Francis Wells was born on 5th April 1881 in Barnham (Thetford Q2-1881 4B:401), baptised in St Petronilla, Whepstead on 19th June 1881, son of James Francis and Alice WELLS (née CAWLEY)

1891 census...Aged 10, he was at 12 Ford Street, Hunslet, Leeds with his father James WELLS [47] labourer, born Whepstead; his mother Alice [51] born Bury St Edmunds; brother John [14] (ropemaker) born Whepstead.

He was admitted to Elveden Voluntary Aided Primary School on 7th September 1891.( from Leeds Board School)

1901 census...Aged 19, a garden labourer, he was at Barnham Road, Elveden with his parents (mother now recorded as born Ixworth).

1911 census...Aged 29, single, gardener's labourer, he was at Barnham Lodge, Elveden with his parents and a cousin Mabel Alice CAWLEY [5], born Castleacre, Norfolk. Mabel was later adopted by his sister in law, brother John's widow.

His elder brother John James Francis Wells died in France in November 1918 17 days after the Armistice. see here

He enlisted in Bury St Edmunds. CWGC have his number wrongly as S/219.

The war diary has them at ADINFER. The battalion relieved the 1st Coldstream Guards in the Adinfer-Ayette sector on 7th June. They were in the right sector of 5th Infantry Brigade, battalion HQ in BILLY BANK, immediately East of ADINFER WOOD, 2 Coys in line, 1 in support and 1 in Reserve. They remained there until relieved on 16th.

In that time, only one other man died, on the 10th.

photo: Rodney Gibson

James Wells is buried in Bac du Sud British Cemetery, Bailleulval, grave 1:E:29
and also commemorated on the Weather Heath Memorial (Elveden Column by the A11)

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details