WELLS, Walter

No.27916, Private, Walter WELLS
Aged 20

2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment
formerly 177883, Royal Field Artillery
Killed in Action on Monday, 12th April 1918

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

1901 census...Aged 2 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 George [7] and Bertie [1 month]. All of the children were born in Stetchworth.

1911 census...Aged 12, a baker, he was at High Street, Stetchworth with his parents, brothers George ( a baker) and Bertie and sister Ethel. One of the 9 children had died

His brother George fell in Belgium in 1916 see here

He enlisted in Bury St Edmunds.
The 2nd Hampshires were in Gallipoli and then moved to France, landing at Marseilles on 20th March 1916.
In mid April the 29th Division were engaged in attempting to stem the German advance south of Vieux Berquin, but at this time without the 88th Brigade of which the 2nd Hampshire were part. The 88th brigade were employed south of La Creche with the 25th Division trying to hold on to the station at la Creche. It was the day after Field Marshall Haigh's "Backs to the Wall" Order of the Day:-
"There is no other course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must fight on to the end. The safety of our homes and the Freedom of mankind alike depend upon the conduct of each one of us at this critical moment."
The Brigade managed to hold the line and were withdrawn the following day. Some men were attributed initially to the wrong units, but the latest figures from the CWGC show that the 2nd Hampshires had 8 killed that day.

photo Rodney Gibson

Walter Wells is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium - panel 6

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