681402 GNR. R. G. WOOD. R.F.A.
Reginald George Wood was born in Lancaster in April 1891 and baptised at Lancaster St Anne on 2 August. His father was Thomas Wood (b. 1856 in Brigham, near Cockermouth, Cumberland), a stonemason and pub landlord. His mother was Hannah Holmes (b. 1855 in Grange over Sands). Hannah was previously married to Joseph Thompson (b. 1852 in Cartmell). Hannah and Joseph had seven children before Joseph died in Christmas Day 1887. I haven’t found the marriage records for Hannah and Thomas, but they had three children together: Louisa Emily (b. 1888), then Reginald, then Thomas (b. 1893). Thomas snr died in 1903. In 1911, Hannah was living with two sons from her first marriage, two sons from her second marriage and two grandsons, at 50 King Street, Lancaster. Reg, then aged 20, was working as a general labourer in an oil-cloth factory.
Reg served four years in the Territorials, West Lancashire Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. He signed up in Lancaster at the age of 17 in 1908 and was assigned service number 223. He did four years and was discharged in 1912. It seems he then moved to Bradford, where on 2 November 1912 he married Maggie Collins (b. 1891 in Lancaster). Maggie had been a mat maker in Lancaster but it’s not clear why they moved to Bradford. In any case, the following year, Maggie and Reg had a son, Charley. They lived at 77 Clayton Street, Bradford.
Reg rejoined the artillery after War broke out. He joined up in Bradford and probably because of his previous service in the Territorials, he was assigned a service number associated with the West Lancs Brigades. He was assigned service number 3584 which was later changed to 681402. However, Reg did not serve with the West Lancs Brigades, rather he was posted to 64th Battery of 5th Brigade. The brigade landed in France in 1916 and eventually came under command of the 3rd Canadian Division (between 20 March and 13 July 1916) before going to the 4th Canadian Division in September 1916, with which it served until July 1917. At that point it became an Army Brigade and served with the Second Army in October 1917.
4th Canadian Division fought through the Arras Offensive in early 1917: the Battle of Vimy, Operations towards Lens, the affairs south of Souchez river, the capture of Avion, and the Battle of Hill 70. After Hill 70 (April 1917), the Canadians moved north to Ypres and would take part in the Second Battle of Passchendaele at the end of October. According to Soldiers’ Effects, Reg was killed in action on 18 September 1917 but the precise nature of the engagement is not known. He was 26 years old. He is buried at Brandhoek, near Ypres.
Service No: 681402
Date of Death: 18/09/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “64th” Bty, 5th Bde.
Grave Reference: I. F. 14.
Cemetery: BRANDHOEK NEW MILITARY CEMETERY NO.3
Additional Information: Son of Thomas and Ann Wood, of 50 King Street, Lancaster; husband of Margaret Wood, of 77 Clayton Street, Bradford, Yorks.
Maggie re-married in 1919. Her second husband was Henry Ramsden (b. 1901 in Bradford). Later that year they had a daughter, Mary Ellen.