Thomas Saunders WELLS

WELLS, Thomas Saunders

Service Number: 900
Enlisted: 11 January 1916, Narrabri, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 33rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Inverell, New South Wales, 9 September 1887
Home Town: Narrabri, Narrabri, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Wallaby shooter
Died: Natural causes, Tingha, New South Wales, 14 May 1960, aged 72 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

11 Jan 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 900, Narrabri, New South Wales
4 May 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 900, 33rd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
4 May 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 900, 33rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Marathon, Sydney
7 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 900, 33rd Infantry Battalion, Messines
2 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 900, 33rd Infantry Battalion, Polygon Wood
29 Mar 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 900, 33rd Infantry Battalion, Villers-Bretonneux
18 Apr 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 900, 33rd Infantry Battalion, Villers-Bretonneux, Mustard Gas
20 Mar 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 900, 33rd Infantry Battalion, Discharged medically unfit

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Biography contributed by Julie Wells

Thomas Saunders Wells was a 28 year old Wallaby Shooter from the Inverell/Narrabri area of NSW when he enlisted in Narrabri on 15 January 1916, with 'C' Company of the AIF 33rd Infantry Battalion.

After training in Armidale and Maitland he then embarked from Sydney on the HMAT 'Marathon' on 4 May 1916 to Albany WA, Durban, Cape Town and Dakar to Devonport, Plymouth, England.

The Battalion embarked from Southampton arriving in France on 27 November 1916 just in time for the onset of the terrible winter of 1916-1917.  After arriving in Le Harvre, France, the Battalion moved by rail to Bailleul from where they marched to the front, occupying a section of the line around Armentieres.

Thomas served for three years and two months with the 33rd Battalion, including ten months front-line active duty at the Western Front in four major battles in Belgium and France.

He was involved in fighting in the Battle of Messines around Ploegsteert Wood;  then the Third Battle of Ypres (including the First Battle of Passchendaele) and around Zonnebeke and Broodseinde;  then to the First Battle of Villers-Bretonneux on 29 March 1918 at Hangard Wood.

Thomas was wounded on 18 April 1918 with a mustard gas attack whilst on the fields of Villers-Bretonneux.  He took no further part in active fighting.

Thomas' Conduct Sheet shows only two misconduct events during his 2 year 3 months service.  He came back to Australia alive, but was battle scarred and broken from the mustard gas attack.

He was discharged medically unfit on 20 March 1919 when the Battalion was disbanded.

Thomas was awarded three medals - the 1914/15 Star;  the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Thomas again enlisted for service during World War II with the Australian Military Forces, Volunteer Defence Corp on Part Time War Serivce from June 1942 to Sept 1945.  He was 55 years old and a Lance Corporal, but was 'under strength' and his duties were restricted.

By:  Julie Wells (Thomas' grand-daughter) - November 2017

 

 

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