Alexander WELLS. (1892-1957)

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34th BATTALION A.I.F.

Private: 912 Alexander WELLS.


Born: 1892. Minmi, New South Wales, Australia. Birth Cert:22641/1892.

Married: 1915. Cessnock, New South Wales, Australia. Marriage Cert:7448/1915.

Wife: Catherine Wells. nee: Sneddon.

Died: 1957. Marrickville, New South Wales, Australia. Death Cert:10901/1957.


Father: Robert Wells.

Mother: Grace Wells. nee: Wilson. (19..-1956) Died Cessnock, N.S.W Death Cert:14357/1956.


INFORMATION

(Studio Photo; front row left Private: 912 Alexander WELLS   Private: 895 Harold SNEDDON courtesy Heath Ricardson, Newcastle N.S.W.)

Alexander Wells enlisted into the AIF on the 15th January 1916 and was allocated to C Company 34th Battalion AIF. "Until the 10th of March, early training and formation of the Battalion was in progress. On that day the Battalion marched to the newly pitched camp at Rutherford and was completed with the exception of the Transport. These joined later and came from the Army Service Corps camp near Sydney. Here strenuous training was carried out. The men were very keen and fit, whilst their comfort and health were made a special study. Food was good and ample and sports and recreation were not overlooked.

A Girl's League was formed to cater for the comforts of the Battalion, under the supervision of Miss Violet MACKAY, who took a keen interest from the beginning, having, with the Mayor of Maitland met the men of the Wallaby March at East Greta and prepared dinner for them on their arrival. On 1st May 1916, the Battalion left by Train from Farley Station for the Showground in Sydney, equipped with kit bags and neccessary clothing, and was reviewed in Moore Park by General RAMACCOTTI. On the following morninng, 2nd May 1916 the men embarked on the transport HMAT A20 "HORORATA" and sailed at 4:00pm".

The voyage to England was without any unusual incidents and a good passage throughout. The first port of call was Albany, where three days were spent. Columbo was reached on Empire Day, 24th May. Here two days were taken up coaling and taking on provisions, etc. During the stay the Battalion carried out a route march through the town. Suez was reached on 8th June, where a party of Light Horse and some details were disembarked. Arriving at Port Said on 9th, the ship coaled and proceeded to Alexandria which was reached on 11th June 1916.

Here the Battalion transferred to S.S."Aragon", E867. Some Australian Details were on board, also a number of Tommies going to England on Furlough. Devonport was reached on the 23rd June, the Battalion disembarked at Plymouth at 1:00pm and entrained during the afternoon for Amesbury, arriving at midnight and marching to hutments at No: 1 Camp, Larkhill. Here the Battalion settled down to hard training, which included Route Marching, Trench Digging, Bomb Practice, Musketry and general Camp Routine. Later the Battalion moved to the No: 25 Camp and finished off their training, which included six days' battle practice and field work at the Bustard Trenches.

Four days' disembarkation leave was given from 6th to 10th July and later King's Leave from November 5th to 9th. Whilst here the Official Colours were issued. Purple over Green (Oval), these replacing the Colours presented to the Battalion (Old Gold on Shoulder Straps) by the Ladies of West Maitland. A Signal Section was formed at Larkhill under Lieutenant: Harold Henry McMINN. The weather in England was mostly fine until the latter part of training, when a good deal of rain and snow caused inconvenience. In October the 34th Battalion was reviewed at a Divisional Parade by His Majesty King George V at Bulford.

The 34th Battalion left Larkhill on the 21st November and entrained at Amesbury for Southampton, embarking on the S.S "Arundel". The transport section left by S.S. "Princess Victoria". The Battalion arrived at Le Harve, France on the 22nd November 1916. Disembarkation commenced at 8:00am and the Battalion marched to No;1 camp on the Hill, arriving at 2:00pm. The men carried heavy loads, in some cases amounting to miniature Q.M.' Stores. The march over cobblestones was very tiring, notwithstanding the many route marches which had been carried out at Larkhill. However, after bathing their feet and receiving treatment, as well partaking of a good meal, some spent a comfortable night.

The following morning the Battalion moved to Le Harve Railway Station, leaving D Company behind. On arrival at the Station entraining commenced at 8:00am and the train left at 11:15am. The journey was slow and occupied until 4:30pm on the 24th. On arrival at Bailleul the men detrained and marched to Outtersteene. D Company arrived at 4:00pm the following day. The Battalion rested here in billets for two days previous to taking over garrison duties in the Line at Armenties. The Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel. Malcolm St John LAMB. with the Adjutant, Company commanders, N.C.O's and Specialists went into the Line to inspect Trenches, Stores, Plans and to arrange for the taking over this Section of the line on the following day.

(Illawarra Press; 1957)


(Camp Photo; front row 2nd left Private: 912 Alexander WELLS 3rd left Private: 895 Harold SNEDDON courtesy Heath Ricardson, Newcastle N.S.W.)

Returned to Australia on the 20th October 1918.

CESSNOCK WAR MEMORIAL


Family Information

Alexander was a married 23 year old Coal Miner from David Street, South Cessnock, N.S.W. upon enlistment. Alexanders's parents Robert and Grace Wells were married at Minmi, N.S.W. Marriage Cert:5567/1889 and had 6 children. John W Wells born 1891 at Merewether, N.S.W. Birth Cert:21768/1891. Alexander Wells born 1892 at Minmi, N.S.W. Birth Cert:22641/1892 and died 1957 at Marrickville, N.S.W. Death Cert:10901/1957. Hariet L Wells born born 1892 at Minmi, N.S.W. Birth Cert:21138/1894. George Robert Wells born 1902 at Wallsend, N.S.W. Birth Cert:27143/1902 and died 1967 at Campbelltown, N.S.W. Death Cert:33870/1967. Gordon RRonald Roy Wells born 1908 at Wallsend, N.S.W. Birth Cert:9368/1908 and died 1941 at Wollongong, N.S.W. Death Cert:4815/1941. Grace A Wells born 1911 at Cessnock, N.S.W. Birth Cert:38852/1911.

Brother in Law; Lieutenant: 1422 James SNEDDEN 34th Battalion. AIF

Military Records

Australian National Archives

Under Construction; 10/01/2013-16/01/2015.


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