Author Topic: E J Wells - 4th/3rd Bedfordshire/RAF mechanic WW1 Military mystery  (Read 107 times)

Offline jjq

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E J Wells - 4th/3rd Bedfordshire/RAF mechanic WW1 Military mystery
« on: Friday 12 February 21 12:51 GMT (UK) »
A military mystery with my ancestor Ernest James Wells, born 1881, Bushey, Hertfordshire, son of Sarah Wells. He was a labourer/gardener by profession. (I have records/censuses/first marriage/divorce 1881 - 1911)

In 23 December 1898 he joined the militia (according to  his attestation) - 4th Bedfordshire regiment. Service No: 3913. He undertook training over the years to 1908.
Entries  include -
"Embodied 16 January 1900
Dismissed home unfit - 22 February 1900
Posted to 3rd Beds 18 June 1900"

 I also have seen his attestation for the Army/Special Reserve in 1908.

He joined up in the First World War, (according to his transfer from the army to the RFC/RAF), on 17 Aug 1914, then  transferring to the RFC/RAF  4 August  1917/1 April 1918, service number 88397, as a labourer/ mechanic. Home address/next of kin - Mrs Ada Wells, Titania (Titian) Avenue, Bushey. There is no information about where he was serving in the army before his transfer.

I can find nothing for the time between.

There is however,  a marriage certificate for Ernest James Wells (aged 45) and Ada May Bunce at Chatham  in 1916 where the profession is given as "Lance Corporal, 5th Middlesex Regiment", residing at Lower Barracks , Chatham". If this is the same man, this is were the mystery lies.

He wasn't always truthful about is age etc (gave his year of birth as anything from 1871 to 1881) and by 1950, he sometimes used the Christian name Thomas. A newspaper report of his remarriage to is first wife in 1950,  said "he was in the Boer War" and "in the army for many years". But I take that with the proverbial pinch of salt!

I would like to try and fill in the missing years, if anyone can help or advise.

Thanks in advance.

JJQ



Hertfordshire - Stone, Wells, Quarry,Claxton
London - Sutton (Southwark), Phillips (Clerkenwell), Stone (Chelsea)
Suffolk - Turner & Rogers (Lavenham)
Norfolk - (K)Nobbs & Germany (Norwich)
Middlesex - Shackell

Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline MaxD

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Re: E J Wells - 4th/3rd Bedfordshire/RAF mechanic WW1 Military mystery
« Reply #1 on: Friday 12 February 21 15:57 GMT (UK) »

He joined up in the First World War, (according to his transfer from the army to the RFC/RAF), on 17 Aug 1914, then  transferring to the RFC/RAF  4 August  1917/1 April 1918, service number 88397, as a labourer/ mechanic. Home address/next of kin - Mrs Ada Wells, Titania (Titian) Avenue, Bushey. There is no information about where he was serving in the army before his transfer.
JJQ

I'd like to suggest that the RAF record is showing that he joined the Royal Flying Corps (hence the Army) right at the beginning of the war, presumably from civilian life,  and that 14 Aug 1914 isn't a transfer but his joining date.  He then remains in the RFC until absorbed into the RAF in 1918.  4 Aug 1917 is a promotion date not a transfer of any sort.

MaxD
Double  Essex/Suffolk
Randle/Millington Warwicks
Sokser/Klingler Austria/Croatia

Offline jjq

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Re: E J Wells - 4th/3rd Bedfordshire/RAF mechanic WW1 Military mystery
« Reply #2 on: Friday 12 February 21 18:30 GMT (UK) »
Hi

Thanks for your reply. I have attached a clip of the record, which may help.

Been tracing my family for a very long time, but my military knowledge is limited.

Thanks.

JJQ

(Sorry - clip not properly shown - will re do)





Hertfordshire - Stone, Wells, Quarry,Claxton
London - Sutton (Southwark), Phillips (Clerkenwell), Stone (Chelsea)
Suffolk - Turner & Rogers (Lavenham)
Norfolk - (K)Nobbs & Germany (Norwich)
Middlesex - Shackell

Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk


Offline MaxD

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Re: E J Wells - 4th/3rd Bedfordshire/RAF mechanic WW1 Military mystery
« Reply #3 on: Friday 12 February 21 19:36 GMT (UK) »
The info does appear to be contradictory between the two documents.

 The RAF medal award roll https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/5119/images/41629_611411_5766-00308?treeid=&personid=&hintid=&queryId=34ed788c649e378ad2a8459cf5dbd24c&usePUB=true&_phsrc=qjx667&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&pId=4130027
 has an RAF man with number 336355 who had previously served as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery.  This man's record is here, it is not him, a much younger man.:

Someone may be able to unlock the contradiction??

MaxD
Double  Essex/Suffolk
Randle/Millington Warwicks
Sokser/Klingler Austria/Croatia

Offline jjq

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Re: E J Wells - 4th/3rd Bedfordshire/RAF mechanic WW1 Military mystery
« Reply #4 on: Friday 12 February 21 19:54 GMT (UK) »
Hi

Thanks for that link. I had a look at this, and made further searches, it appears he is Ernest John Wells, from Woolwich, Kent. Still, it will eliminate  him from my searches.

I'll carry on searching !

Regards
JJQ
Hertfordshire - Stone, Wells, Quarry,Claxton
London - Sutton (Southwark), Phillips (Clerkenwell), Stone (Chelsea)
Suffolk - Turner & Rogers (Lavenham)
Norfolk - (K)Nobbs & Germany (Norwich)
Middlesex - Shackell

Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk