CWG: Private Arthur Wellman

Private Arthur Wellman

Arthur Wellman was born in the spring of 1891 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.

Arthur and his siblings found work in the local lace industry – the 1911 census recorded him living with his family in Chard, working as a lace hand, mind the machinery in the mill.

In the summer of 1915, Arthur married Daisy Jane Slade, the daughter of an agricultural labourer from North Curry, Somerset. They went on to have a daughter, Beryl, who was born in May 1916.

By May 1916, Arthur had seen two of his brothers serve and die in the war: Private Bert Wellman had been killed serving with the Somerset Light Infantry in Mesopotamia, while Gunner William Wellman died from tuberculosis having served with the Royal Field Artillery. Whether through a sense of duty or a sense of guilt, he put his name forward to play his part. Full detail are not available, but he enlisted in the Somerset Light Infantry that autumn.

Private Wellman was assigned to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion, and was sent for training. Sadly, while in barracks, he contracted cerebrospinal meningitis; he died in hospital on 20th March 1917, at the age of just 25 years old.

Arthur Wellman’s body was brought back to Somerset for burial. He was laid to rest in Chard Cemetery, not far from his brother, William.

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