CWG: Gunner William Wellman

Gunner William Wellman

William Wellman was born in March 1890 and was one of nine children. His parents, road builder Thomas and collar machinist Eliza were both born in Somerset, and it was in Chard that they married and raised their family.

William and his siblings found work in the local lace industry – the 1911 census recorded most of the family in Chard, but William was boarding in Stapleford, Derbyshire, with his older brother Fred; both were working as lace hands.

War was coming to Europe, and, as a previous member of the territorial force of the Somerset Light Infantry, William was keen to play his part. In February 1915, he enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery: his records show that he was 5ft 7ins (1.69m) tall, had light brown hair, grey eyes and a slender build, weighing 129lbs (58.5kgs).

Gunner Wellman was sent to Wiltshire for training but, while in barracks, he fell ill. Having contracted tuberculosis of the kidney, he was admitted to a hospital in Sutton Veny. After two months’ treatment, his health did not improve sufficiently enough, and he was discharged from the army on medical grounds in February 1916.

William returned to Chard, but was not to get any better. He passed away at home on 1st April 1916; he was just 26 years old.

William Wellman was laid to rest in the cemetery of his home town, not far from his brother, Private Arthur Wellman.

William and Arthur were not the only two of the siblings to fight in the Great War.

Their youngest brother, Private Bert Wellman fought with the Somerset Light Infantry, and died in fighting in Mesopotamia on 22nd November 1915. He was just 20 years of age.

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