Driver Henry Alexander Woods

Thank you to Patricia Brazier for the following research

Henry was born on 1st October 1894 in Dorking. His parents are Peter and Susanna (nee Rollinson). Peter is a Farm Labourer.

Henry’s family lived in Great Bookham for several years where Henry’s brother James and his sister Elizabeth were baptised at the parish church. They moved down to Hampshire shortly after Henry was born.

In the 1901 census the family are living at 5 Portsea View in Portsea Hampshire. Henry now has two more sisters, Mary Ann and Bessie Louise.

In 1907 the family are back in Bookham again and living in Flint Cottages. Henry’s father, Peter died aged 46 on 24th March 1910 and is buried in the churchyard of St. Nicholas in Bookham.

In the 1911 census Henry is aged 17 and lodging with a family in Cowslip Cottage in Mickleham. He is a Shepherd. His sister Elizabeth is lodging with her Aunt and Uncle at Eastwick Laundry in Great Bookham. Sadly Bessie Louise died in June 1901.

Henry joined the navy in January 1913. His registration papers show that he is 5 feet and three quarter inches in height and has brown eyes and hair. He was discharged on medical grounds on 5th June 1913. In May 1915 he enlisted into the Royal Field Artillery and after training became a Driver.

A Driver was a soldier who had been trained in the management and use of horses. Six horses and three Drivers were needed to pull the heavy guns. Drivers also looked after the horses. The management, condition and state of health of the animals were regarded as one of the most important functions in the battery.

Henry Died on 30th August 1917 During the Battle of Passchendaele. He is buried at Canada Farm Cemetery which is 8 kilometres North West of Ypres. The cemetery is named after a farm house which had been used as a dressing station between June and October of 1917. Most of the men buried here had died at the dressing station.

Henry’s personal effects were sent to his sisters Mary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth married Arthur Mellem in April 1919 at St. Nicholas Church in Bookham. She continued to live in Great Bookham. Henry’s name also appears on the memorial in St Nicholas church yard.

Born                            Dorking, Surrey
Lived                           Great Bookham, Surrey

Son of                         Peter and Susan Woods of Great Bookham

Enlisted                       Kingston Upon Thames

Regiment                     “C” Company, 93rd Army Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
Number                       95701

Date of Death              30th August 1917
Place of Death             Near Ypres, Belgium
Cause of Death           Died of wounds

Age                             24

Cemetery                     Canada Farm Cemetery, near Ypres, Belgium