Richard Wells was born in St Nicholas, Nottingham in 1782 and enlisted with the 2nd Battalion, 59th Foot at Rye, Sussex, on 4 Apr 1809 as a volunteer from the Nottinghamshire Militia.
Wells served as a Sergeant at Walcheren, the battle of Vittoria on 21 June 1813, the storming of St Sebastian on 31 Aug 1813, Nivelle, Nive, Bayonne, and finally Waterloo on 18 June 1815, Cambray 24 June and the surrender of Paris 6 July 1815. Wells had been promoted to Colour-Sergeant in Mar 1815 and transferred to the 1/59th Foot in Jan 1816. In June 1823 he was appointed Acting Sergeant-Major to the Provisional Battalion at Fort Cumberland until 26 Aug 1825, when he became Acting Sergeant-Major at Chatham. On 24 Sep 1826 he was transferred into the Newfoundland Veterans Companies and appointed Acting Sergeant-Major of the Invalid Depot at Fort Pitt, Chatham.
He was discharged on 9 May 1838, with a total pensionable service of 31 years 36 days, of which 17 years 174 days as a Sergeant and 11 years 204 days as Sergeant-Major. His cause of discharge was in consequence of advanced age, rheumatism, want of activity and being subject to attacks of gout.
He received the L.S. & G.C. medal shortly afterwards and took up residence in Ordinance Place, Chatham, as an out pensioner of Chelsea Hospital. On 15 Nov 1840, he was certified as being unable to leave his bed due to rheumatism and was to be visited to receive his pension.
Sergeant-Major Richard Wells died on 1 Dec 1840 and therefore never claimed the Military General Service Medal he was due.