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Signaller David Douglas Wood, 1/1st Hertfordshire Regiment. Killed in action, 4th November 1918.
First World War Army United Kingdom
By Dave Dykes

United Kingdom

Private David Douglas Wood
View record on CWGC
"David's best friend, Frederick Stewart, visited David's mother to celebrate the end of the war only to find her sitting with a telegram informing her of her son's death."

In 1901 the Wood family were living at 35 York Place, Perth: Father, Robert A. H. Wood (Bank Agent) (36); Jeannie S. Wood (36); Janet Coventry Wood (7); and David Douglas Wood (1). Also living at this address was Annie Ramsay (General Servant, Domestic) (21).

The 1st Battalion of the Hertfordshire Regiment was part of 112th Brigade in the 37th Division. Extract from the War Diary of the Hertfordshire Regiment, November 1918:

“1-11-18. Battalion resting at BEAURAIN. “3-11-18. At 1730 hours the battalion moved from billets in BEAURAIN to a position in readiness at BERNIER FARM. Accommodation was not good but luckily it was possible to get most of the men under cover until 0400 hours on Nov 4th.

 “4-11-18. (The Final Advance in Picardy - The Battle of the Sambre). At 0600 hours the 111th Brigade attacked the enemy’s positions between the villages of GHISSIGNIES and LOUVIGNIES after a short but violent artillery preparation. Strong opposition was encountered on the railway embankment in X.5.a&c but this was overcome. Pushing on the 111th Brigade captured LOUVIGNES and reached its final objective about 300 yards East of the PONT A VACHE, from which line the 112th Brigade were to resume the attack.

"The attack progressed favourably all day and 40 prisoners and several machine guns were captured. The leading companies passed through the village of JOLIMETZ and on reaching LAIECOULON strong enemy machine gun fire was opened out. At the end of this the enemy retired and the Battalion reached its final objective at 1500 hours.

“5-11-18. The Bn was withdrawn to GHISSIGNIES at 1000 hours. During this period the bodies of the men of this Bn who were killed in action in the attack of the 4th inst. were recovered and buried at GHISSIGNIES.”

While there is no definitive record of how and when Douglas Wood lost his life, it is likely that he was one of the casualties of this action. He was 19 years old.

Miss Flora Stewart was educated at Perth Academy and was a teacher at the school for 24 years. Her father, Frederick Stewart, was born in 1897 and was in the same class at the Academy as Douglas Wood. He was also Douglas’ best friend.

There were 28 boys in the class and only 8 survived the war.

Frederick Stewart also fought in the Great War and was invalided out in 1916-17 with serious injuries after being buried in a collapsed tunnel for three days. On the 11th of November 1918 (Armistice Day) Frederick called on Douglas Woods’ mother to celebrate the end of the war with her, only to find her sitting with the newly arrived telegram informing her of her sons death.

In 1918, the Perthshire Constitutional reported: 

“Signaller Douglas Wood, only son of the late R. A. Harper Wood, Agent of the British Linen Bank (West End Branch) and of Mrs. Harper Wood, Fitzroy Terrace, killed.”

David Douglas Wood is also commemorated on the Perth Congregational Church War Memorial.

Miss Stewart attending a ceremony at Perth Academy, 26th March 2015 (copyright Dave Dykes)
David's headstone, Ghissignies British Cemetery, France (copyright TWGPP)
Ghissignies British Cemetery, France (copyright CWGC)
Perth Congregational Church War Memorial (copyright SMRG)