Wells, Edward Preston

    Date of birth:
    July 26th, 1916 (Cambridge/Waikato, New Zealand)
    Date of death:
    November 1st, 2005 (Great Britain)
    Nationality:
    New Zealander (1907-1947, Dominion UK)

    Biography

    Edward Wells joined the RNZAF in 1939 and following his training sailed for England in late May 1940. After converting to Spitfires he was posted at No. 266 Squadron before moving some weeks later to 41 Squadron at Hornchurch.
    In March 1941 he joined No.485 Squadron, the first all-New Zealand fighter unit. By then he had three conformed victories. In November 1941, his victories risen to ten, he took command of the Squadron.
    When the German battleships ’Scharnhorst’ and ’Gneisenau’ left Brest under the cover of darkness on 12 February 1942, No. 485 was one of the squadrons sent to engage the enemy fighters who were protecting the ships.
    In May 1942 he was apponted as co of the Kenley Wing. After two years of non stop fighting, he was given a rest and returned to New Zealand where he declined an offer for a higher ranking desk job. Via the USA where he visited several aircraft factories he returned to England in Spring 1943.
    After a course at Staff College, Wells returned to Kenley to lead the Wing again until November 1943, when he was rested. During 1944 he led the Tangmere, Detling and West Malling Wings. On December 1944 he was posted to command the Day Fighter Leaders School.
    Wells was credited with thirteen enemy aircraft destroyed, three probably destroyed and fifteen damaged. He retired from the RAF in 1960 and took up farming in England with his Dutch wife.
    In 1975 he retired to Spain where he build up a reputation for growing subtropical fruits.
    When his wife died he returned to England.

    Promotions:
    May 1940: Pilot Officer
    1941: Flying Officer
    July 1941: Flight Lieutenant
    November 1941: Squadron Leader
    May 1942: Wing Commander
    January 16th, 1947: Commissioned as Squadron Leader
    January 1st, 1952: Wing Commander
    January 1st, 1959: Group Captain
    June 15th, 1960: resignation

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Acting Flight Lieutenant
    Unit:
    No. 485 (RNZAF) Squadron, Royal Air Force
    Awarded on:
    August 29th, 1941
    Action:
    Citation:
    "This officer has served with fighter squadrons since May, 1940, and has taken part in many engagements against the enemy. He has destroyed at least five of their aircraft and has damaged others. He has at all times shown the greatest courage and determination."
    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Acting Flight Lieutenant
    Unit:
    No. 485 (RNZAF) Squadron, Royal Air Force
    Awarded on:
    November 11th, 1941
    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    Action:
    Citation:
    "This officer has completed 46 operational sorties over enemy territory He is a splendid leader and a most determined and skilful fighter pilot whose keenness in action sets a splendid example Flight Lieutenant Wells has definitely destroyed 13, probably destroyed 5 and damaged a further 8 hostile aircraft."
    Details:
    Second DFC awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC.
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Acting Wing Commander
    Awarded on:
    August 7th, 1942
    Action:
    citation:
    "This officer has completed many operational sorties. He has destroyed 11, probably destroyed 3 and damaged many more hostile aircraft. His
    courage, skill and initiative have proved a source of inspiration to his colleagues and his fine leadership has contributed materially to the many successes achieved by the wing."
    Distinguished Service Order (DSO)

    Sources

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