WELLS, George William

No.4522, Sergeant, George William WELLS
Aged 21

3rd Battalion, Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own)
Killed in Action on Monday, 14th February 1916
He was an Old Contemptible

George Wells was born in 1894 in Stetchworth (Newmarket Q2-1894 3B:504), son of Walter and Anne Laura WELLS (née GODFREY).

1901 census...Aged 7 he was at High Street, Stetchworth with his father, Walter WELLS [40], bricklayer's labourer, born Holton, Norfolk; his mother Laura [39] born Dalham; brother John [16] stonemason's apprentice, sisters Gladys [11], Ellen [9] and Ethel [1], and brothers Walter [2] and Bertie [1 month]. All of the children were born in Stetchworth.

1911 census...Aged 17, a baker, he was at High Street, Stetchworth with his parents, brothers Walter and Bertie and sister Ethel. One of the 9 children had died

His brother Walter fell in Belgium in 1918 see here

He enlisted in Bury St Edmunds. His number suggests he enlisted in 1912,but the Rifle Brigade did use several series of numbers and it is known that some 4 different riflemen sometimes had the same number. That said, 1912 fits in between the 1911 census and the fact that he must have been a regular soldier on the outbreak of war. The 3rd Battalion, Rifle Brigade were in Ireland at the outbreak of war, but were moved to Cambridge and then on to Newmarket. They landed in St Nazaire, France on 12th September 1914.

From the war diaries courtesy Andy on http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums:
3rd battalion Rifle Brigade were at Hooge for a lot of February 1916. They relieved the 8th Bn. East Kents (Buffs) on the 12th. They suffered all day from a bombardment on the 14th, until at 5.15 pm the Germans left their trenches but were stopped by our Lewis guns, S.O.S signal was sent up to which our artillery responded magnificently to. At 7pm they were relieved by 1st Bn., Royal Fusiliers, the battalion then returned to dug outs at Zillebeke Bund.

They suffered 5 killed on that day.

photo: Rodney Gibson

George Wells is buried in Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Ypres - grave 1:H:14

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