T. H. Wellings
Service no. 29546
Private, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment), 1st Battalion
Born in Lambeth; enlisted in Camberwell
Died of wounds on 1 October 1918, aged about 19
Remembered at Grevillers British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
Information from the 1911 census and British Army WWI Service Records 1914-1920
This is a tentative identification. In 1911 there was a Thomas Wellings, aged 12, living at 35 Camellia Street, South Lambeth. He lived with his widowed 43-year-old mother, who called herself merely “Mrs. Wellings” on the census return and worked as a cardboard box maker in a factory. Another son, George Wellings, 9, also lived there. The family had two rooms. Mrs. Wellings, who had two other children living elsewhere, was from Blackfriars. She did not give place of birth for her sons. However, this is the only Thomas Wellings in Lambeth listed on the 1911 census, and thus could be our man.
On 20 July 1915 a Thomas Henry Wellings enlisted in the 3rd/21st Battalion of the London Regiment. He was 16 years but lied and gave his age as 19 and 2 months. He was, like so many others, found out and discharged, despite the fact that the Army was impressed with his good military character. “Could have made a good soldier if of the required military age,” was written in his file.
Wellings’ discharge papers give a portrait of a skinny teenager: a fresh complexion, grey eyes, light brown hair, 5 foot 6 inches, with a 34 inch chest (he had increased this by 2 inches in the seven months he served), but still under 8 stone. His physical development was judged to be only “fair”. Wellings lived at 2 Thorncroft Street, which is only a few streets down from Camellia Street.
If these Thomas Wellings, on the Commonwealth War Graves database, the Soldiers Died in the Great War database, the 1911 census and the Service Records archive are one and the same, we have a story of youth and determination. However, after 1916 all those eligible were compelled to volunteer themselves one way or another. Wellings must have enlisted again when he was able or compelled.
I know of no connection to Alfred George Wellings.