Arthur Richard Wells (Ch) J 39743, Ordinary Seaman.


Arthur was born 14th December 1898, in Shoreham, Kent, along with his twin, Ernest to parents Alfred and Clara. He was one of 7 children, all boys except for a sister, also named Clara.

During the 1911 census he and his twin brother were the only children left living with their parents at 7 Riverdale Cottages, Shoreham, still at school. On leaving, he worked as a baker’s assistant before joining the Navy on 3rd May 1915. He trained on HMS POWERFUL until 25th Aug 1915, as a Boy 2nd Class (rising to Boy 1st Class on 8th August 1915 then transferred to HMS Russell on 26th August 1915 to the 1st May 1916.

On the 27th April 1916 HMS Russell was steaming off Malta early in the morning when she struck two naval mines that had been laid by the German submarine U-73. A fire broke out in the after part of the ship and the order to abandon ship was passed; after an explosion near the after 12-inch turret, she took on a dangerous list. However, she sank slowly, allowing most of her crew to escape. A total of 27 officers and 98 ratings were lost.

Arthur was left wounded, in the sea for an hour, but rescued and taken to a hospital in Malta.

Arthur was posted to the Vanguard as a Boy 1st Class on 2nd May 1916, and would have experience of witnessing and participating in the Battle of Jutland aboard the dreadnought. He advanced to Ordinary Seaman on 14th December 1916.

He was 5'1" tall with dark hair and brown eyes and had a scar on his right hip and was killed aged 18 in the explosion.

#102 - 803/843

Sources:

1901 & 1911 England census

Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; Class: ADM 188/ 726

CWGC Register

British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Service Registers and Registers of Deaths and Injuries. Registers of Reports of Deaths

British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242 010 (1914 - 1919)

British Newspaper Archives


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