John Clarence WELLS

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WELLS, John Clarence

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 14 January 1915, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: Australian Army Medical Corps (2/AIF)
Born: Adelaide South Australia, 26 March 1890
Home Town: Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: St Peter's College, Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Medical Officer
Died: Died of wounds, France, 10 August 1918, aged 28 years
Cemetery: Vignacourt British Cemetery
Memorials: Hackney St Peter's College Fallen Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

14 Jan 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Captain, SN Officer, Medical Officers, Melbourne, Victoria
8 Feb 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, Medical Officers, HMAT Pera, Melbourne
8 Feb 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, Medical Officers, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
9 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 1st Light Horse Regiment, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
29 Jan 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Major
10 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, Australian Army Medical Corps (2/AIF), "The Last Hundred Days"

From the book Fallen Saints

John Clarence Wells of Adelaide was born at Hawthorn South Australia in March 1889.
He had served in the cadets at the School and after leaving studied medicine at Adelaide University; in 1912 he graduated MBBS and was a resident surgeon at Adelaide Hospital.
He was commissioned as a Surgeon Captain on 14 January 1915 and sailed from Melbourne with the reinforcements for the Australian General Hospital aboard HMAT Pera on 8 February.
He arrived at Anzac on 9 May 1915 and while serving there as RMO with the 1st Light Horse Regiment was commended by his commanding officer.
‘This officer did very good work all day just behind the firing line.’
He was admitted to hospital suffering from an ear infection in mid June but rejoined his unit on 1 August and remained at Anzac until the evacuation.
After returning to Egypt he was posted to the Western Frontier Force with the 1st Light Horse Regiment and in AIF Orders list 144, February 1916 was promoted to major with effect 29 January. He left the Light Horse when he was admitted sick to 14th General Hospital on 1 June and after being discharged from hospital fit for leave on 23 June was posted to AIF HQ, Abbassia. He sailed from Suez to Australia as the Senior Medical Officer aboard HT Port of Sydney with the wounded and ill on 11 July 1917.
On 28 January 1918 he embarked aboard HMAT Thermistocles and sailed from Sydney to Liverpool and at the end of March proceeded to France where he was taken on the strength of 1st Australian General Hospital, Rouen. In early April he was detached to the Australian Convalescent Depot at Havre and at the end of the month was transferred to 15th Australian Field Ambulance. He was then detached to 8th Australian Field Ambulance until on 12 May 1918 he was posted to the 30th Battalion.
During the battle of Amiens the 30th Battalion led the 5th Division's advance down the Morcourt Valley, and it was there on 9 August that Major Wells was mortally wounded and died the following day; he was 28 years of age.
Reports and witness statements
In an interview on 13 March 1919 Sergeant Donald Woodbine said Major Wells was the Battalion RMO and described him as being dark, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 35- 45years of age with greying hair. He said he was an original Anzac who had been with the Aust Light Horse. Sergeant Woodbine stated that at 2.30 p m on 9 August, Major Wells was severely wounded in the head by an exploding shell while attending to wounded along the Amiens – Peronne Road, about 1¾ miles on the Peronne side of the village of LaMotte-en-Santerre. ‘I dressed him and sent him back to the field ambulance. He was not conscious. I know nothing of D/B. …’
On 9 November 1918, the commanding officer of 61st Casualty Clearing Station wrote, Major Wells was admitted to this C.C.S. on 9-8-18.Wounds: GSW to head. Died 3 p.m.10-8-18. Buried Local Military Cemetery 11-8-18.
Following the success at Villers-Bretonneux the advance was continued and in order to sever the important railway line between Chaulne and Roye the movement of the Canadian Corps was coordinated with that of the Australian Corps. The 1st Division which was meant to lead the Australian advance had to march all the way from Amiens and were unable to arrive in time so the 15th and 8th Australian Brigades in cooperation with the Canadians were directed to carry out the first phase of the attack against the villages of Vauvillers and Framerville. The second phase was to be carried out by the 1st and 2nd Australian Divisions after passing through the 15th and 8th Brigade’s fronts at 4.30 p.m., the same day. The 7th and 5th Brigades were the right and left flanking brigades of the 2 Division.
The 7th Brigade attacked with the 25th Battalion on the right and 27th Battalion on the left each with two companies forward, one in support and the other in reserve. The 27th’s objective was a series of sunken roads south-east of Framerville, held strongly by enemy machine guns. After arriving at the assembly area near the north-west corner of Harbonnieres Lieutenant Colonel Chalmers issued orders confirming Zero was 4.30 p.m., and that B and A Companies supported by tanks were the right and left attacking companies, with C and D behind them in close support.
The attack progressed well for about a kilometre and an enemy 4.2 Howitzer was captured. After reaching the north-west side of the Framerville-Vauvillers main road the battalion began to suffer casualties from German 77’s. Despite the casualties the attack was successful and by 5.20 p.m., the battalion had captured the objectives on a front three times the size of that originally planned.
In addition to the previously mentioned 4.2 Howitzer, about 14 machine guns and a vast amount of war material were captured by the 27th Battalion. The prisoners taken on the whole brigade front were three officers and 79 other ranks, the enemy casualties being estimated at 250.

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Biography

Extract from the Book Fallen Saints by Robert Kearney

                        

John Clarence Wells of Adelaide was born at Hawthorn South Australia in March 1889.

He had served in the cadets at the School and after leaving studied medicine at Adelaide University; in 1912 he graduated MBBS and was a resident surgeon at Adelaide Hospital.

He was commissioned as a Surgeon Captain on 14 January 1915 and sailed from Melbourne with the reinforcements for the Australian General Hospital aboard HMAT Pera on 8 February.

He arrived at Anzac on 9 May 1915 and while serving there as RMO with the 1st Light Horse Regiment was commended by his commanding officer.
‘This officer did very good work all day just behind the firing line.’ [i]
He was admitted to hospital suffering from an ear infection in mid June but rejoined his unit on 1 August and remained at Anzac until the evacuation.

After returning to Egypt he was posted to the Western Frontier Force with the 1st Light Horse Regiment and in AIF Orders list 144, February 1916 was promoted to major with effect 29 January.  He left the Light Horse when he was admitted sick to 14th General Hospital on 1 June and after being discharged from hospital fit for leave on 23 June was posted to AIF HQ, Abbassia. He sailed from Suez to Australia as the Senior Medical Officer aboard HT Port of Sydney with the wounded and ill on 11 July 1917.

On 28 January 1918 he embarked aboard HMAT Thermistocles and sailed from Sydney to Liverpool and at the end of March proceeded to France where he was taken on the strength of 1st Australian General Hospital, Rouen. In early April he was detached to the Australian Convalescent Depot at Havre and at the end of the month was transferred to 15th Australian Field Ambulance. He was then detached to 8th Australian Field Ambulance until on 12 May 1918 he was posted to the 30th Battalion.

During the battle of Amiens the 30th Battalion led the 5th Division's advance down the Morcourt Valley, and it was there on 9 August that Major Wells was mortally wounded and died the following day; he was 28 years of age.



[i] Australian War Memorial,, Honours and Awards (Recommendations: First World War) - Wells, John Clarence / 2/135P2 - 1st Australian Light Horse Regiment - 1915 to 1918 - Citation: AWM 28 2/135P2 p. 61
 

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