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Charles Wood

 From there they were sent by train to Favieres where they underwent training before an eight-hour train journey to Aire-sur-la Lys.  Here they trained, receiving instruction on gas and bayonet fighting before a further train journey to Neuville-St Vaast near Arras. Here they relieved the Black Watch in the front line on 8th May and came under bombardment almost immediately though only slight wounds were sustained by a few men. They were relieved a week later and spent the next week training and resting. The rest of May, June and July passed in a similar fashion with negligible casualties.

On 6th August a German raiding party attacked them and were repulsed at the cost of one man missing and eight wounded. Two days later they came under shelling with mustard gas but sustained no casualties. The following fortnight was uneventful and on 23rd they were moved to Bretoncourt. There they went into trenches and on 26th August moved into trenches on the Hindenburg Line  from where at 3.00 p.m. “A” and “B” companies led an attack through the line across the Cojeul River towards Henin Hill. By 4,00 p.m. they had captured the hill and established themselves in trenches there, having established contact with the Canadians on the battalion’s left. One officer was killed and casualties among the other ranks were reported as light, but it seems to have been in this action that Charles Wood was killed.

The Malton Messenger reported on September 28th 1918:

Mrs Wood, Greengate, Malton has received official news that her husband Pte C. Wood was killed in action in France on August 26th. The deceased was the youngest son of Mr & Mrs J, Wood, Scarborough Road, Norton and, before joining the Army, worked for Mr J. Redpath, Norton. In a letter conveying the sad news, an officer writes :-‘He was such a dear good fellow; so keen to do his duty, so kind and unselfish, always ready to help anybody…In action he was wonderfully brave – cool and calm as if he were miles away from danger.‘”

Charles was buried not far from where he was killed in an individual grave marked with a cross. After the war his body was retrieved and buried in Wancourt British Cemetery.

He is commemorated on the Malton Town Memorial and in St Leonard’s Church.

Charles Arthur Wood was born in the last quarter of 1885 in Norton and his birth registered in Malton. He was the third son of John and Ann Bolton (nee Cousins) Wood who married in the Malton area in the second quarter of 1881.

John was a general labourer and in 1891 the family was living in Scarborough Road, Norton with four children, the eldest son, Joseph having been born some years before their marriage.

1891 Census – resident at Scarborough Road, Norton
WOOD, John, Head, Married, M, 40, General Labourer, Norton  Yorkshire,
WOOD, Ann, Wife, Married, F, 37, , Old Malton Yorkshire,
WOOD, Joseph, Son, Single, M, 17, General Labourer, Norton Yorkshire,
WOOD, John W, Son, , M, 11, Scholar, Norton Yorkshire,
WOOD, Charles A, Son, , M, 5, , Norton Yorkshire,
WOOD, Rose H, Daughter, , F, 0 (1M), , Norton Yorkshire,

By 1901 the family was at 77 Scarborough Road; Joseph had left home and the two younger boys were working, John as a railway engine cleaner and Charles as an errand boy.

1901 Census - resident at 77 Scarborough Road Norton Malton
WOOD, John, Head, Married, M, 45, Labourer In Brickyard, Norton Malton Yorkshire,
WOOD, Annie, Wife, Married, F, 46, , Old Malton Yorkshire,
WOOD, John William, Son, Single, M, 19, Railway Engine Cleaner, Norton Malton Yorkshire,
WOOD, Charles Nathain (sic), Son, Single, M, 14, Errand Boy, Norton Malton Yorkshire,
WOOD, Rose Hannah, Daughter, , F, 10, , Norton Malton Yorkshire,
WOOD, Annie, Daughter, , F, 5, , Norton Malton Yorkshire,

Ten years later, John had also left home and Charles was working as a house painter.

1911 Census - resident at 77 Scarborough Road Norton Malton
WOOD, John, Head, Married, M, 57, Labourer Brickyard, Yorks Norton,
WOOD, Annie, Wife, Married 31 years, F, 56, , Yorks Old Malton,
WOOD, Charles Arthur, Son, Single, M, 25, Painter House, York Norton,
WOOD, Rose, Daughter, Single, F, 20, General Servant Domestic, York Norton,
WOOD, Lily, Grandchild, , F, 6, School, Yorks Norton,

In the second quarter of 1914 he married Mabel Ford in the Malton area and they had a son John E. in the last quarter of the same year. Mabel was about twelve years his junior and is shown in the 1911 census as a live-in kitchenmaid at the George Hotel in Yorkersgate.

We do not know at what point he joined the 1/4th Battalion of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers but previously he had been in the Highland Light Infantry, possibly in their training Battalion based at Catterick.  

1/4 battalion was a Territorial Battalion and prior to August 1914 had been based in Galashiels. It was part of South Scottish Brigade, Lowland Division and at the outbreak of war moved to Cambusbarron (Stirling). From 11 May 1915 they became part of 155th Brigade, 52nd (Lowland) Division.  

On 24 May 1915 they sailed from Liverpool for service at Gallipoli, arriving there on 14 June 1915 and eventually evacuated in January 1916 at the end of that disastrous campaign

in January 1916 they moved via Mudros to Egypt and in 1917 were stationed in Palestine where they received considerable losses.

On 5th April 1918 they embarked at Alexandria on the S.S. Malwa, eventually sailing for Marseilles on the 11thand arriving on 17th.