Hill Gillman WELLS

WELLS, Hill Gillman

Service Numbers: Not yet discovered
Enlisted: 18 June 1929, Appointed Surgeon Lieutenant RN on 18 June 1929. Appointed to HMS Emperor of India
Last Rank: Surgeon Probationer
Last Unit: HMAS Kuttabul (Shore)
Born: Adelaide, South Australia, 26 November 1900
Home Town: Plymouth, Devon, United Kingdom
Schooling: St Peter's College Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Medical Practitioner
Died: Plymouth, England, 10 March 1987, aged 86 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Plymouth (Efford) Cemetery, Devon, England,
Show Relationships

World War 2 Service

18 Jun 1929: Enlisted British Forces (All Conflicts), Surgeon Probationer, Appointed Surgeon Lieutenant RN on 18 June 1929. Appointed to HMS Emperor of India
23 Aug 1960: Discharged
23 Aug 1960: Discharged Royal Australian Navy, HMAS Kuttabul (Shore), Discharged at HMAS Kuttabul on 23 August 1960 in rank of Surgeon Commander

Help us honour Hill Gillman Wells's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Annette Summers


1900 – 1987

Hill Gillman Wells was born in Adelaide, on 26th November 1900.  He was the son of Charles Wells and Sarah Maude, nee Gillman and educated at St Peter’s College. When he was 20 years old, in July 1921, he travelled to London as a student to complete his medical degree.

Wells was appointed in the RAN, on 28th September 1938, with seniority of 18th September 1934. He was appointed as surgeon lieutenant commander RAN in the Permanent Naval Forces (PNF), with Sydney as his home port. He was promoted to surgeon commander on 18th September 1940. His father had died earlier that year, on 26th April 1940. During his initial years in the RAN, he served as the exchange MO for Surgeon Commander D S Prentice RAN in the Hobart, from 6th October 1938 to 21st February 1941.  Hobart sailed, on 14th October 1939, for service on the East Indies Station. She stopped at Darwin and Singapore to patrol the west coast of Sumatra and the Sunda Strait. Later she was involved in escort duties across the Indian Ocean. Hobart, on 1st August 1940, arrived in Berbera, British Somaliland, escorting and landing further reinforcements. She remained there assisting in general disembarkation while providing protection against any possible attack from the sea; then on 15th August a general evacuation of the territory from Berbera was ordered, Hobart assumed the role as the operational headquarters throughout the evacuation alongside the crews of other ships. It was decided that she would return to Australian waters and she arrived back in Sydney on 3rd January 1941. Wells was aboard the Hobart throughout this time. During the first half of 1941, Hobart operated chiefly in Australian and New Zealand waters. While in Sydney, Wells married Jean Kirkwood Anderson on 6th September 1941, at St Mark’s Church Darling Point, NSW. She was the daughter of John Kirkwood Anderson, a dental surgeon, and Madge, nee Green. Jean was born in Bristol, England and just before their marriage was living in South Devon, England. He then served at land bases, Penguin and Kuttabul, in Sydney, for six months, when a medical survey, in December 1941, found him unfit for service in the tropics.  Wells returned to London in September 1942, and, reverted to the RN.  His appointment was terminated on the 24th September 1942.

After the war, he remained in England and returned to Australia in August 1956, with his wife and three sons.  Wells re-entered the RAN, as surgeon commander on the emergency list for four years temporary service and served with Flag Officer in Charge East Australia (FOICEA). His appointment was terminated in August 1960, and he was transferred to the Retired List on 23rd September 1960. Wells remained in NSW and was living in Double Bay, Sydney, in 1963, but at some time returned to England. Hill Gillman Wells died on 10th March 1987, in Plymouth, Devon, England.


Blood, Sweat and Fears III: Medical Practitioners South Australia, who Served in World War 2. 

Swain, Jelly, Verco, Summers. Open Books Howden, Adelaide 2019. 

Uploaded by Annette Summers AO RFD


Biography contributed by Charles Gillman-Wells

Surgeon Commander Wells undertook his tertiary education at Magdelene College, Oxford and Westminster Medical School graduating in 1927. He remained at Westminster Hospital as a Junior Doctor before entering the Royal Navy as a Surgeon Lieutenant in June 1929. His first appointment was to HMS Emperor of India stationed with the Mediterranean Fleet at Malta. Other Fleet appointments followed. In 1938 he was appointed to HMS Apollo and was loaned to the RAN when Apollo re-commissioned as HMAS Hobart on 28 September of that year.

Wells reverted to RN service in December 1941 and returned to England with his wife by war time convoy via South Africa and Sierra Leone. Following a period at RN Hospital Plymouth, Wells was posted to HMS Watchful at the East Coast port of Great Yarmouth where he remained till the end of the war. Seagoing appointments in HMS Anson and HMS Maidstone followed as well as shore appointments at RNAS Lossiemouth (HMS Fulmar) and HM Dockyards Rosyth and Plymouth. Surgeon Commander Wells final appointment was RN Base Devonport (HMS Drake). He retired from the RN on 26 November 1955.

Wells re-entered the RAN in August 1956 and returned to Sydney with his family. He was appointed to HMAS Kuttabul where he was to serve the duration of his Emergency List appointment. He retired in August 1960 and remained in Australia until 1964 when he and his family returned to the UK. From 1965 TO 1967 he served as medical officer at RNEC, Manadon. In retirement he remained living in Plymouth until his death  on 10 March 1967