Wells enlisted in the 79th (Cameron Highlanders) at Paisley in February 1842. He volunteered for the 78th Highlanders along with Alexander McKellar and joined the regiment in May at Canterbury before they left for India. Wells succeeded MacSwayd as Pipe Major, but was superseded by McKellar in 1850. He was appointed as a piper in April 1854 while stationed at Poona and was one of the first five pipers officially authorized in the regiment.
Wells was invalided at home in January 1855. He gained a prize of £2 10 shillings for Marches and Quicksteps at the Edinburgh Highland Society Games of 1860. Wells was stationed at
Aldershot and Shorncliffe in 1861-62. He was promoted to corporal in September 1862.
Following discharge, he went to the Royal Aberdeenshire Highlanders (Militia) as a Pipe Major. Wells died around 1865.