Major John Wells’ Military Trunk

Trunk containing uniform and kit belonging to Major John Wells of the Royal Army Medical Corps. Major Wells was attached to the Hertfordshire Regiment during the First World War.

Major John Wells was born in 1869, the son of a surgeon. John qualified as a surgeon himself in 1893 and lived and practised at Essex House in Hoddesdon. He had previously enlisted with the Hertfordshire Rifle Volunteers, where he was appointed Surgeon-Lieutenant in 1899, and when the War broke out, John, aged 45, joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Major in the 6th London Field Ambulance Service.

By 1916, John had been attached to the 4th Battalion of the 1st Hertfordshire Regiment, who were engaged in home defence. After the war, John continued his practice at Montague House in Hoddesdon until his retirement in the early 1930s. Having moved to Roydon, John became president of the local branch of the British Legion. He died in 1952, aged 83.

John’s trunk was donated to Hertford Museum by his daughter and the contents provide a wonderful record of the items required by a Medical Officer at that time. His belongings include:

Sword
Scabbard
Spurs
Inflatable pillow
Razor strop
Mirror
Identification tag
Medical Officer arm band
Memorial arm band
RAMC buttons
RAMC Cap badge
Shoulder insignia

The museum also has several pieces of Major Wells’ uniform including his combat jacket with Royal Army Medical corps lapel badges and buttons and the crowns signifying his rank.