Albert Wood (c.1884-1917)

Rollofhonourblue.png
This page is part of a project by David Verguson to research the lives of those who appear on war memorials and rolls of honour in the Lindley area.

Biography

Albert Wood lived in Golcar from at least 1891 until he joined the army in August 1914, making him one of the first men on the St. Stephen's Church memorial to enlist. Exactly why he is included on that memorial has been difficult to determine.

In 1891 the Wood family was living in Linthwaite, where Fred worked as a "chemical labourer". He and Susannah Hoyle had married when both were very young, in 1877. By 1891 they had four children, all born in Linthwaite: Sarah Ann who was born in 1878, Anne born 1882, Helena born 1880 and Albert born in 1885. With only two rooms their house on Chapel Lane must have seemed very crowded indeed.

By the beginning of the next century they were living in George Street, Longwood. This road, running directly off the bottom of Scar Lane, is effectively in Milnsbridge. This house was a little bigger than the previous one and more spacious as Anne had moved out, presumably after marrying. Albert attended Milnsbridge Baptist Sunday School.

In 1901 the girls, now in their twenties worked in the woollen industry. Albert, at 16, was a cobbler, although this was not a trade in which he was to remain. Helena did not work for much longer: in 1903 she married Albert Whitwam also from Golcar and they moved to Wood Street.

Sadly Fred Wood died, probably in 1907. He was not yet sixty years old.

On 26 March 1911, Albert married Miranda Beaumont at Golcar parish church. Albert described himself as a "finisher". By then he was probably working for Messrs. John Lockwood & Sons, probably at Holme Mills, Golcar. Miranda was from Miles Platting, Manchester the daughter of a labourer. Seven years younger than Albert, she probably moved to the Huddersfield area in search of work, though she records no occupation in the parish register.

The couple went to live at 12 High Street, Scapegoat Hill, Golcar, where they completed their census form just days after their wedding. Albert described himself as a "cloth presser", and said he had been born in Milnsbridge.

By this time Albert's widowed mother Susannah, was living with her eldest daughter, Sarah Ann, who had married Fred Singleton — like Albert, a cloth presser — in 1905 and now lived 130 Spring Field, off Scar Lane, Golcar.

Although he was relatively newly-wed, Albert enlisted as soon as the war began, in August 1914. Unlike many of his contemporaries in Huddersfield, he did not join the local Territorial battalion, but seems to have enlisted "for the duration" in the New Army, serving in the Northumberland Fusiliers, although none of the battalions he served in were formed until the September.

His first battalion seems to have been the 9th, which may have served as his training battalion; it arrived in France in July 1915. At one point he served in the 14th Battalion but that was converted into a pioneer battalion in January 1915 and arrived in France in the following September. It seems possible that he may have transferred out of the 14th in order to join an ordinary infantry battalion. The 10th Battalion landed in France in August 1915.

Whichever battalion he was at that moment serving in, it is certain that he took part in much of the Battle of the Somme in the summer of 1916. At one point, Albert was wounded and transferred to hospital in Glasgow for treatment. Hopefully, his wife and mother were able to visit him. He was back in France by October 1916.

By the following year the 10th Battalion was in action in the Ypres area.

Albert was killed in May 1917 by a shell burst during a huge bombardment of the front line. He died instantly. At least two other men died in the same incident. Albert was 32 years old. There are nearly 2500 men buried in the Railway Dugouts Burial Ground (Transport Farm) two kilometres from Ypres town centre. Many, like Albert, are commemorated on special memorials either because they were never identified or their graves were destroyed in later shelling.

Albert is remembered in St. Stephen's and on the memorial in St. John's Church, Golcar.

By the time Commonwealth War Graves Commission was compiling its records, Albert's mother, Susannah, was living at 81 Station Road, Golcar, probably still with one of her daughters.

Miranda Wood returned to her family home in Miles Platting and at the end of 1917 married John Higgins in Prestwich and then lived in Miles Platting.

It has not been possible to find out the connection with Lindley that put Albert's name on the St. Stephen's memorial. It is possible that one of his sisters was living in the village at the time the list was compiled.

Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922

The following extract is from Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922 (2014) by J. Margaret Stansfield:

WOOD, ALBERT. Private. No 18363. 10th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. Born Milnsbridge. Son of Mrs Wood and the late Mr Fred Wood, 130 Scar Lane, Milnsbridge. Husband of M. Wood of Manchester and formerly of 81 Station Road, Golcar. Attended Milnsbridge Baptist Sunday School. Employed by Messrs John Lockwood and Sons Limited. Enlisted August 1914. After serving in France for some time he was invalided home and was in hospital in Glasgow. He returned to France in October, 1916. Killed in action, 17.5.1917, aged 32 years. In the middle of a terrific bombardment a shell burst in the trench and killed him instantly. Buried RAILWAY DUGOUTS (TRANSPORT FARM) BURIAL GROUND. Grave location:- Special Memorial D 32.
ROH:- St. John's Church, Golcar.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Links