South Staffordshire War Memorials

Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of the South Staffordshire area who died during the two World Wars.

Edwin Wellings

Edwin Wellings was born on 31st October, 1883 at Astley, Shropshire. He was the son of Henry Wellings, plasterer, and his wife Margaret. The family lived in Shrewsbury where, by 1901, Edwin was working as a plasterer. Edwin married Susan Evaline Nunnerley in 1908 and, by 1911, had two children, Margaret and Henry William and was living in St Michael's Street, Shrewsbury.

Edwin had probably served some time as a soldier before the outbreak of war - his service number suggests that he may have enlisted towards the end of 1911. He arrived in France at the end of November 1914 and was killed in action a few weeks later on the night of 18th/19th December when his battalion was part of an attack. The War Diary records:

The Bn. was ordered to advance in 3 lines at 4:30 pm to attack & take the German Trenches which are in front of Le MAISNIL [South of Armentieres]. The attack was preceeded by a heavy artillery bombardment by our artillery to which the enemy made hardly any reply. Attack was started by 'B' company on the right led by Capt Haddon, advancing in 2 lines: A co. advanced on the left in 2 lines with D coy in the centre. C Coy formed the third line with entrenching tools. A machine gun was on each flank. Immediately the attack was opened the enemy opened a very heavy rifle and machine gun fire. The Battalion advanced under this with steadiness, suffering very heavy casualties. The 2/Queens sent 1 1/2 companies in support & although our dead were found only a few yards from the German trenches, the attack failed in its objective. What remained of the Bn subsequently retired into our trenches. Shortly after daylight the enemy came out & started examining our dead. Parties sent out fr our lines & buried some of the officers & collected discs from some of the killed. Owing to 2 officers of the Queens & several small parties of the Bn when engaged in carrying our wounded into the enemy's lines (the enemy refusing to allow us to recover our wounded) being made prisoners, & also owing to Lt Bower S. Staffords being killed while helping to collect our wounded, the informal armistice terminated. Lt Col Brewis was found killed about 40 yards from the enenys line. Capt Brownfield, Lts Monk, Tuckers, Campbell & Bird (attached RE) together with 34 men were found a few yards from a German machine gun. From evidence available, it is apparent that Capt Brownfield though previously wounded continued to lead the attack on the gun.
[6 Officers & 77 Other Ranks killed, 3 O & 87 OR wounded, 3 O & 219 OR missing. - almost 2/3 of Bn were casualties.]

Private Edwin Wellings was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and the 1914 Star with clasp. He is commemorated on both the War Memorials at Coven. It is unlikely that Edwin ever lived in Coven but his parents Henry and Margaret were living in Station Road, Four Ashes when Edwin's brother Henry William was killed in 1918. The Nellie Wellings recorded as an assistant in a confectioner's shop in Penkridge in the 1911 census was probably Edwin's younger sister, Ellen.

This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg.