• Nelson Frederick Wellington

Army / Flying Corps
  • 21st Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 6th Brigade
  • Lieutenant

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  • Military Cross (MC)
Stories and comments
    • Wellington at Gallipoli
    • Posted by RGCrompton, Monday, 18 June 2018

    Wellington commanded 'A' Coy at Lone Pine for six days before commanding the first of 21st Battalion to be evacuated. 'A' Coy withdrew from Lone Pine to Shrapnel Gully, taking over Wire Gully from 13th Australian Light Horse (ALH). Careful preparations were made to deceive the enemy. 'Time fused' 22 rifles were set and cook fires and incinerators left alight. Even though there were only two 'quiet' days leading to the evacuation, there was no evidence that the Turks knew what was happening. Lt. Col. J Hutchinson recorded the evacuation is in the War Diary but there is a date contradiction of two days. 'Definite arrangements for the evacuation were announced on the 17th inst when all stores such as signalling gear Medical Panniers & Battn tools were collected & sent down to the beach. On the same evening at 1800 "A" Coy were withdrawn from LONE PINE & rejoined the battalion (less men who had taken over trenches from 13th ALH in SHRAPNEL GULLY)'. Later Hutchinson writes: 'At 1030 [on Sunday 19th] A Coy at LONE PINE were relieved by 24th Batn & joined the Batn in SHRAPNEL GULLY. During the day all surplus store which could not be removed were destroyed. At 1900 our first party of 3 officers & 147 others under Captain WELLINGTON moved off to the rendezvous & then to the beach & embarked. [...] During the day 19th (sic) everything was quiet normal & the whole battalion 24 (except those actually in the trenches) had embarked. [...] The unit embarked safely 25 & had no casualties. [...] The first party landed at IMBROS at 0400 on 19th inst & remained there until 1630 on 22nd when they embarked on a trawler & were taken to MUDROS. They were transhipped to Z75 which left LEMNOS at 0700 on 23rd arriving ALEXANDRIA on the 26th & the party arrived in camp at TEL-EL-KEBIR on the 27th Dec. [...] He left Gallipolli in as dramatic manner as he arrived.

    • The Southlands episode - 02 September 1915
    • Posted by RGCrompton, Monday, 18 June 2018

    WELLINGTON made a dramatic arrival in the Gallipoli Theatre when the transport Southland was torpedoed. On September 2 the Southland was steaming on her course, about 40 miles from Lemnos. The Island of Strati[s] [modern Agios Efstratios or Saint Eustratius and colloquially Ai Stratis] was in sight, 15 miles away on the port beam. The sky was clear, with freshening winds. At 9.43 a.m. the wake of a torpedo could be seen travelling towards the port bow; before the vessel could pay off under her ported helm, the torpedo blew a hole 40ft. by 20ft. in the side, on the bulkhead between Nos. 2 and 3 holds. The torpedo came from the German submarine UB14, a vessel of only 142 tons, built in a German shipyard, then sent in sections by rail to Pola, on the Adriatic, to be reassembled there. She left Pola [the Austrian Adriatic naval base] under the command of Kapitän Leutnant von Keimburg for Constantinople, sinking the British troopship Royal Edward, carrying 1,366 troops, and a crew of 260, of whom 866 troops and 132 of the crew, including the captain, were lost. This occurred on August 13, and the submarine had previously sunk the Italian submarine Medusa It was fortunate for the Southland that the military parade had been set for 10 am, so that most of the troops were already on deck. The casualties were few. As the boats were being lowered, some or the firemen and stewards rushed them as they passed down the vessel's side. The officers soon produced revolvers, and forced the men in the boats to return to the ship to load up with troops. The wireless operator had sent out an SOS, and several other vessels were steaming rapidly to her assistance. Meanwhile, a boat containing the staff of the 6th Brigade, and other troops, capsized as soon as it touched the water. Another boat collided with the capsized boat, and turned over; a third had its forward sails cut when 20ft. above the water, dumping its occupants into the fairly heavy sea now running. Colonel Linton was in this boat. He was picked up after having been in the water an hour and a half, but he died in the French destroyer Massue two hours later. All the rafts were got over the side. Troops set to work breaking up the horse stalls, and dumping the timber overboard, so that if the vessel sank there would be plenty of floatable material for those unable to obtain places in the boats. Seeing one of the rafts drifting away, Private Geoff Smith dived from the boat deck and managed to get it back alongside the ship, when it was rapidly filled. The adjutant of the 21st Battalion, Captain N. F. WELLINGTON (now Lieutenant -Colonel NF WELLINGTON, town clerk of Essendon), summoned the number of men for each raft. Those whose turn was not yet stood there without movement, only their slightly strained faces indicating their inner thoughts, but still they awaited their turn, knowing that the ship, dependent on one bulkhead, might sink at any moment. At 10.15am, Captain Kelk, having been informed that three vessels were coming to his assistance, asked if he could get a party of troops to stoke the boilers, the majority of his crew having left the ship. Volunteers were called for, after the men had been told of the dangers, mid that the bulkhead was bulging badly at the bottom through the great pressure of the rising water. Six officers, [WELLINGTON being the senior according to the Commemorative programme], and eight men stepped forward. [...] Southland was listing so heavily to port and down so much by the bows that her rudder had little effect. Ballast tanks on her starboard side were flooded giving her a list to starboard but she steered better. Ringing slow ahead on the engine-room telegraphs, Captain Kelk felt the vessel move ahead at a speed of two knots. [...] Slowly Southland steamed onwards until nearly 6pm, when she was in sight of Mudros. She was drawing 34ft. (10.363m) forward, and only 18ft. (5.5m) aft, so that with her two propellers partly out of the water she was yawing dangerously. She was still expected to sink at any moment, but the military and naval volunteers with the ship's officers stuck grimly to their tasks. [...] Slowly in the darkness she steamed through the lines of ships in the upper reaches to a soft sandy beach, where she was quietly put ashore and allowed to settle down. Following the Southland incident WELLINGTON was recommended for the Legion of Honour. Despite WELLINGTON being first in the order of merit, the award was never made. It is interesting to note that Maj-Gen Sir John Gellibrand, who commanded the 3rd Division from 1918 to 1922, was second on the list and received the award. Source: Trove: The Story of the Southland (1935, September 7) and the Southland Commemoration programme.

    • Nelson Frederick Wellington in World War 2
    • Posted by RGCrompton, Tuesday, 19 June 2018

    Through out the interwar years WELLINGTON maintained his military contacts, being active in the peace time forces with the command of the 58th Battalion (Essenden Rifles Militia) for 4½ years until October 1, 1938. His illustrious predecessor was Col. (later Major General) Harold 'Pompey' Elliott. The 2nd/2nd Pioneer Battalion was formed on 1 May 1940 and WELLINGTON was given command of the unit. He was assigned to the Puckapunyal military camp near Seymour where the unit was built up to full establishment, equipped and trained during the next six months. He took leave of absence from his job, with the Essendon City Council, for the duration of the war. On 8 June 1941, at the insistence of the British government, General Wavell launched a hastily planned invasion of Vichy-held Lebanon and Syria. Most of the troops were Australians of 7th Div, who spearheaded two of the three columns that attacked from Palestine and Transjordan. Although assured that the Vichy French would offer little resistance, they soon found themselves attacking thoroughly prepared defences that exploited the mountainous terrain; the columns were not mutually supporting, and made variable progress. After a week of fighting the French defenders counter- attacked, exploiting their superiority in armour; the counter-attack soon foundered against stubborn defence, but it disrupted the Allied timetable by several days. The Australians fought the decisive battle on 5-9 July at Damour; this involved a frontal attack across the Damour river as well as fighting in rugged country to the east of the town. Australians also did most of the fighting in the central sector, especially around Merdjayoun and Jezzine, and contributed to the advance in the east once the Allied forces took Damascus. In the action at Merdjayoun, WELLINGTON was blown up, awarded an immediate DSO and returned to Australia. With the rank of full colonel WELLINGTON was the Chief Liaison Officer for the Australian Army attached to Gerneral MacArthur's US Staff during 1942 and 1943. Though badly burnt in an American bomber crash, he survived but retired from active service. But for the crash he would have retired as a brigadier.