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imageFrank Wood was born in 1893 at 14 South Meadow Lane in Preston to Charles Robert and Elizabeth Ann Wood (nee Thompson). His parents married in All Saints Church in Preston on the 31 March, 1893.

Frank had three brothers and two sisters; Ethel Evelyn (1893), Harold (1897), May (1899), Horace (1901) and Norman (1904). When Ethel was born in 1893 Charles and Elizabeth were living at number 3 Grasmere Terrace in Penwortham but when Frank arrived two years later they had moved across the river to the Broadgate area of Preston to live in South Meadow Lane.
In 1901 the family were resident at number 29 South Meadow Lane where Frank`s father was employed as a Solicitor`s clerk.

By 1911 Frank and his family had moved a short distance away from South Meadow Lane to live round the corner at 37 Connaught Road. Charles Wood was still working as a solicitor`s clerk and Frank was now also employed as a clerk for a wholesale grocer. His eldest sister Ethel was a `machine feeder` in a Christmas card works and younger brother Harold was a telegraph messenger working for the G.P.O.

Frank went to the recruiting office on the 7th September, 1914 to enlist, prior to his enlistment he had been working as a clerk in the offices of Messrs. Merigold Brothers in Preston. Frank had his medical inspection and it was noted that he was five feet seven and a half inches tall and weighed 136lbs. His eyes were blue, his hair was black and he had a dark complexion. He confirmed he had no previous military experience and was unmarried. Frank passed his medical and was allocated the service number 13106 and posted to “D” Company (Preston Pals) 7th Battalion.

After the 7th Battalion had been formed and all the formalities completed the Battalion left Preston for Tidworth to start their training. The following is an extract from a letter that was printed in the Preston Herald shortly after they had arrived at Tidworth, it was written by `Jim` (surname unknown) one of the `Pals`.

“Writing to Mr. Bowman at Messrs Jacksons & Sons, `Jim` one of the employees who is with Mr. Cyril Cartmell`s `Pals` Battalion at Tidworth says “getting along fine, and the weather is champion…the only fault I find is getting up early in the morning, and by jove it is cold.

We have received boots, shirts, socks and knives and forks and are expecting clothes this week. We are getting along famously with our drills. We could not stick the grub for the first few days, but now we eat it like lions, all the lot of us.

We have got quite used to the soldier`s life now; and I wish I was going to the front tomorrow. Would you be kind enough to send some brown paper and string so I can send my togs home; it is an awful place here to get anything. We only get the evenings off, we are on parade all day long, and I feel twice as strong in myself, and I`m sure it is doing me the world of good”

Photo of `D` Company, 7th Battalion (Preston Pals) taken on the 21 November, 1914 at Tidworth.

Photo of `D` Company, 7th Battalion (Preston Pals) taken on the 21 November, 1914 at Tidworth.

Frank seemed to be doing quite well and must have impressed his superiors because he was promoted to Lance Corporal (unpaid) on the 14 December, 1914.

He was admitted to hospital at Tidworth on the 21 April, 1915 with a `nasal obstruction` of some sort, he spent almost three weeks in hospital before being discharged on the 10 May, 1915.

The 7th Battalion started mobilisation on the 16th July, 1915 when the transport section including 3 Officers and 110 non-commissioned officers and men left Southampton for Le Havre. Frank went with the main body of the Battalion the following afternoon (17th) proceeding in two trains to Folkestone and from there crossing to Boulogne.

On the 25 September, 1915 the Battle of Loos began and the Battalion having been in reserve in the northern part of the battlefield were moved into the front line in the Orchard Salient three days later.

Sadly on the 29th September 1915 Frank`s death occurred when he was hit in the shoulder with a rifle grenade and then fell sustaining a broken neck.
The following article was published later in the local paper.

His mother later took receipt of some of her son`s personal possessions, these included;
• 1 ID Disc
• 1 Tobacco pouch, 1 pipe and tobacco
• 2 Letters and 2 postcards
• 1 Note book
• 1 Cash bag
• 1 Silver case (damaged)
• 1 Cigarette case

Frank was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals which his mother Elizabeth later signed for. He was buried in Le Touret Military Cemetery, France.


Photograph: August 2015

Lance Corporal Frank Wood`s name is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Library in Preston.


Janet Davis
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