-H.M.S. Hood Crew Information-
H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour
Memorials to Men Lost in the Sinking of Hood, 24th May 1941

We will remember them
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In Remembrance of
Herbert William Wells

Photo of
Date of birth: 2nd November 1922
Place of birth: Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
Parents: Herbert and Elizabeth Wells
Service: Royal Navy
Rank: Ordinary Seaman
Service Number: P/JX 159717
Joined Hood: 2nd June 1939
Left Hood: 24th May 1941 (loss of ship) (Ordinary Seaman)
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Biographical Information:

"Billy", as he was known, was born on Thursday, 2nd November 1922 at 51 Kirkby Street, The Meadows, Nottingham. His parents were Herbert and Elizabeth Wells. He had a brother named Derek, a sister named Barbara and two step sisters, Beatrice and Edna. The family relocated to 67 Woolmer Rd, The Meadows, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire when Billy was a young boy.

Billy is believed to have attended junior school at Trent Bridge Junior School from 1927 to 1933. He is believed to have attended senior school at Trent Bridge Elementary School on Green Street from 1933 - 1937. Following school, Billy worked as an errand boy. He held this position until he enlisted as a Boy 2nd Class in the Navy in August 1938.

Billy was posted to H.M.S. Ganges for training from 29th August 1938 through June 1939. He was promoted to Boy 1st Class during this timeframe (on 26th March 1939). He joined his only ship, H.M.S. Hood at Portsmouth on Friday, 2nd June 1939. He was promoted to Ordinary Seaman on 2nd November 1940. Billy would have been aboard during Hood's entire wartime service, to include the action at Mers el-Kebir and of course, the action with Bismarck.

He was 18 years old at the time of his loss. He was posthumously awarded the 1939 - 1945 Star, Atlantic Star and 1939 - 1945 War Medal.

Following diligent detective work by a member of Herbert's family, it was established in 2019 that he had served in Hood in the Lofoten Islands in 1939 and at Mers el Kebir in 1940 and so qualified for award of the Arctic Star and the Africa Star. An approach to the Ministry of Defence for award of these medals was unsuccessful, but a second approach, providing further evidence, resulted in the award of these two medals to Herbert, some 78 years after his passing. They are shown below.



Additional Photos



Arctic Star (left) and Africa Star Medals.




Billy at four years old




Billy aboard Hood in 1940/41






Hood Chapel, Church of St. John the Baptist, Boldre, Hampshire, England


Photos of the memorial









Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Southsea, Hampshire, England


Photos of the memorial








Sources
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
'Register of Deaths of Naval Ratings' (data extracted by Director of Naval Personnel (Disclosure Cell), Navy Command HQ, 2009)
Elaine & Neil Bampton (photo, May 2003)
Ian Guest (photo & information, Feb 2012)
His nephew, Andrew J. Wells (photos & information July & October 2014, and further information and another photograph July 2021.)