Henry Woods (1894-1896)
December 1915(aged 32)
|Cause of death||Upper limb amputation, wounds to leg and face|
|Resting place||Merville Communal Cemetery, France, plot 4, row N, grave 10|
|Education||Tower Road School, Boston Grammar School (1894-?)|
|Employer||William Darby and Son (joinery and art supplies), Royal Field Artillery|
Henry Woods was born in 1883 at Spalding. When the family moved to Boston he attended Tower Road School and in January 1894 entered the Grammar School. At that time they were living in Queen Street.
When he left school he went to work for William Darby and Son in Wormgate a firm specialising in joinery and artist colours. He stayed with them for fifteen years and in about 1911 he joined the army - the Boston Battery of the Royal Field Artillery. When war broke out in August 1914 the battery was mobilised and it was not long before it was sent to France and Henry went with it.
The infantry in the trenches were supported by the field artillery and the guns were not far behind the front line. On 13th October 1915 the battery came under heavy shell-fire from the enemy. One of the guns was hit and the gun crew suffered heavy casualties. The order came for the men to take shelter and Henry and his friend Price dived for cover. They were only just in time. Henry described the incident in a letter to his wife saying: “Not one minute had we left our gun than a shell burst over it, blowing in the back. Five of our poor fellows were blown to pieces. One had a broken arm, bruised leg and chest; another hit on the knee and three were cut a bit in the face and head, I and Price were two of them. Ours is nothing. We are on duty just the same. So you know it was only slight. The concussion bowled us over like skittles.”
Henry’s luck was not to last much longer. Seven weeks later he was wounded by a German shell. He and others were behind the lines in a building which was used as an observing post to keep an eye on the enemy. The Germans somehow discovered this and started heavy shelling. A shell hit the building and Henry caught the full force of the explosion which tore off his arm well into the shoulder. His pals rushed to his assistance as he lay in great pain and prepared to have him carried away, no doubt to the nearest field hospital. But Henry, with great courage and cheeriness said “Never mind lads. Put me on my feet and I can walk” and he did. He made it to the dressing station, but the loss of his arm, together with other wounds to his leg and face, proved fatal.
He is buried in Merville Communal Cemetery, France, plot 4, row N, grave 10. He left a wife and five children, the eldest 13 and the youngest 10 months.