Vincent’s experience during what we now call the First World War (originally the Great War), culminating in his discharge with shell-shock, may well have coloured his view of the world, and determined in part his later approach to life. ‘In part’ because his assumption of the name VCW precedes his military service, or at least coincides with his enlistment, indicating a mindset already out of the ordinary.
We hope to flesh out these details with further research into the actions of the units to which he was assigned, and perhaps his own role in them.
He enlisted as a private soldier in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry on 15 June 1915:
He married Bournemouth hotel chambermaid Ellen Quipp at Christchurch, Hampshire (now Dorset) in June 1916.
He was hospitalized, still as Private V C Wellington, sometime prior to June 1917; we have as evidence his short poem published in the Gazette of the 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth, and reproduced in the 9 June issue of the Royal College of Nursing’s Journal of Nursing:
He was promoted to Lance Corporal after his period in hospital, and transferred to the Somerset Light Infantry at some point, before being finally discharged from service, with the reason given as shell-shock (Kings Regulations para 392/xvi: ‘No longer physically fit for service’), on 12 July 1917: