Private Joseph Henry WOOD


Regiment/Service:
Royal Army Medical Corps
Unit:
25th Stationary Hospital
Service Number:
73809
Date of Death:
13 March 1917 - Died
Age:
21
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Number:
2772


Personal History:

Joseph was born in the March quarter 1896, the son of Joseph (Bottler - mineral water) and Emily (née Connah) Wood of 4 Church Street, Buxton. (1901 Census RG 13/3270) He had an older brother, George William, and four younger brothers and sisters, Sam [see Footnote below], Hannah, Margaret (Maggie) and Louisa.

In 1911 (Census RG 14/21243) they were all living at 50 High Street, Buxton, and Joseph was employed as a "Grocer's Errand Boy". When reporting Joseph's death, "The Buxton Advertiser" stated that "Before joining up he was with Messrs. Rowland, Bros., grocers, Market Place, having been in their employ since he left school." and also: "The deceased was at one time a keen Boy Scout and a highly respected member of the Boys' Club."
Joseph was: "Of a kindly nature, a cheery disposition and courteous in all things. Pte. Wood was greatly esteemed by all who knew him whether it be in connection with business or out of it." The "Advertiser" also gave his father's place of business as "... in the employ of Mr. H.O. Tebb". Even though the family were still living at High Street, on the day of his funeral, the 17th March 1917, "... the cortege left Torr Street ...".

Shortly before Joseph died in hospital in Southampton, his father had been able visit him, arriving on Saturday, 10th March, and staying until Monday, the 12th. Unfortunately, Joseph died the following day.

Military History:
Joseph's Service Papers have not survived the Second World War bombing. It is known that he enlisted at Buxton (SDGW database), and his Medal Index Card indicates that he entered the War after 1915, as he was not eligible for the 1915 Star Medal. When reporting Joseph's death, "The Buxton Advertiser" stated that "... he had been in the Army 18 months the last nine months at the Front". From this we can deduce that Joseph enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps in August/September 1915, and had been posted to France about June 1916.

When Joseph arrived in France he was posted to No 25 Stationary Hospital, which had been based at Rouen after Mar 1915. [It remained in service until May 1919.] [see Footnote below] There were two types of Base Hospital, known as Stationary and General Hospitals. They were large facilities, often centred on some pre-war buildings such as seaside hotels. The hospitals grew hugely in number and scale throughout the war. Most of the hospitals moved very rarely until the larger movements of the armies in 1918.

Again from reports in "The Buxton Advertiser" it is apparent that Joseph became ill and was sent back to England. He was admitted to Southampton Hospital on the 1st February 1917, suffering from: "... dysentery and inflammation of the kidneys." He died there six weeks later, on the 13th March, and his body was returned home for his burial in Buxton Cemetery.

Joseph was buried with full military honours, at 3.00 p.m. on Saturday, 17th March: "With slow and measured steps a number of Royal Engineers, with arms reversed, preceded the coffin, and next in order came the Buglers.

Resting on a wheeled bier, and covered with the Union jack, on which lay a number of beautiful floral tributes, the remains of the dead soldier were drawn by the Royal Engineers. Marks of respect and sympathy were to be seen at every point along the route to the Cemetery; civilians uncovered their heads, soldiers stood to attention, and business and other vehicles halted as the cortege wended its way slowly along."

Later, at the graveside, a Service was conducted by the Rev. F. Peacock of Trinity Church, "Three volleys were fired over the grave, 'The Last Post' was sounded, and slowly the grief stricken party left the spot where one who had well-earned his rest had been reverently laid."

Footnote:
· Joseph's younger brother, Pte. Sam Wood, also served in the War, but without more information it is not possible to determine which
   Regiment he was with.

· The War Poet, Siegfried Sassoon, was a patient in 25 Stationary Hospital, Rouen, in February 1917.

Sources:
· 'The Buxton Advertiser' - 17 & 24 March 1917


Commemorated on:
Link to CWGC Record
Tom Wilson's Grave
poppy
Pt Joseph Wood