Allied Warships

HMS Wells (I 95)

Destroyer of the Town class

World Ship Society photograph with thanks to Jan Visser.

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantI 95 
Built byCharleston Navy Yard (Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A.) 
Laid down29 Jul 1918 
Launched7 Jul 1919 
Commissioned26 Nov 1940 
End service24 Jul 1945 

On 21 November 1940, USS Tillman arrived at Halifax USS Tillman was decommissioned on 26 November 1940 and she was commissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Wells on 5 December 1940. She suffered damage on the 9th in a collision with sister ship HMS Newmarket. She was thus unable to sail for the British Isles until 4 February 1941. Getting underway on that date in company with HMS Newark, Wells encountered a heavy gale in which she lost her topmast. Newark soon suffered engine failure and had to be towed back to Halifax.

Wells eventually arrived in the United Kingdom and was soon assigned to the 17th Destroyer Division, which provided escorts for the 1st Minelaying Squadron. During this time, she carried out a number of mining operations off the western coast of Scotland.

Between these operations, Wells escorted convoys to and from Iceland. On 10 June 1941, while operating south of Iceland, she attacked a U-boat but without success. Two days later, she encountered another U-boat and went to the attack, but the explosion of her own depth charges damaged her and forced her to give up the search.

Following refitting at Hull, England, in the autumn of 1941, Wells returned to convoy escort duty. On 16 January 1942, she intercepted an SOS from the merchant ship F. J. Cullen an American merchantman which had run aground on the southeast side of Barra Island, in the outer Hebrides, west of Scotland. Heavy seas initially made launching a boat a virtual impossibility, but Wells stood by until lifeboats and tugs arrived and transported the steamer's crew safely ashore.

While escorting two transports later that spring, HMS Wells and HMS Brighton were bombed by German aircraft west of the Faroes, but escaped damage. During November, Wells conducted convoy escort operations with Convoy KX-6, supporting Operation "Torch," the invasion of North Africa, and returned to the United Kingdom in December with Convoy MKF to soon resume escort duties with Iceland-bound convoys.

After serving another tour of convoy escort and minelaying escort duties, Wells was transferred to Rosyth in August 1943 and operated with the Rosyth Escort Force, screening coastwise convoys between the Firth of Forth and the Thames estuary. Early in 1945, after refitting at the Clyde in late 1944, she became a target ship for aircraft training with the Western Approaches Command. Decommissioned in July 1945, Wells was subsequently scrapped at Troon, Scotland, on 24 July 1945.

Former nameUSS Tillman (DD 135)

Commands listed for HMS Wells (I 95)

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1Lt.Cdr. Edward John Lee, RN26 Nov 194023 Oct 1941
2Lt. Lewis Julian Pearson, RN23 Oct 194112 Jun 1942
3Lt. Nigel Dixon, RN12 Jun 1942Nov 1942
4Lt. Francis Wimburn Melvill Carter, DSC, RNNov 19429 May 1943
5Lt. Edward Beaumont West, RNVR9 May 194325 May 1943
6Lt. David Drummond Bone, RN25 May 194318 Nov 1944
7A/Lt.Cdr. Charles Alexander Headon Owen, DSC, RN18 Nov 19441 Apr 1945
8T/Lt. Arthur Philip Tomkins, RNVR4 Apr 1945mid 1945

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Notable events involving Wells include:

3 Dec 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Oracle (T/A/Lt.Cdr. S.A. Martyn, RNR), HMNZS Kiwi (Lt.Cdr. G. Bridson, RNZNVR), HMS Rye (Lt. J.A. Pearson, DSC, RNR) and HMS Wells (Lt. L.J. Pearson, RN). (1)

4 Dec 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Oracle (T/A/Lt.Cdr. S.A. Martyn, RNR), HMNZS Kiwi (Lt.Cdr. G. Bridson, RNZNVR), HMS Rye (Lt. J.A. Pearson, DSC, RNR) and HMS Wells (Lt. L.J. Pearson, RN). (1)

7 Oct 1943
HMS Uther (Lt. P.S. Beale, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Dundee with HMS Wells (Lt. D.D. Bone, RN), HMS St. Marys (Lt. D.B.G. Dumas, RN) and HMS Stella Conopus (Skr.Lt. W.J.V. Mullender, DSC, RD, RNR). (2)

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


  1. File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  2. ADM 173/18397

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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