Harry Wood, Private 291769, 13th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 9th August 1917 in Belgium, aged 23
Harry Wood was born on 18 January and baptised on 13th May 1894 at Holy Trinity Church, Rainow, the youngest child of Martha and Samuel Wood, a gardener of Rainow Low.
By 1901 Martha had died, and seven-year-old Harry was living on Rainow Road with his widowed father and siblings Nancy (19), Mary H (15), Ezekiel (14), Abraham (11) and Edith (8). By 1911 the family had moved to Church Lane, Rainow, and Harry was employed as a quarryman/stone dresser at Wettons quarries.
Harry was educated at Rainow National School and had been a member of Miss Horsfall’s class at Rainow Church. He was a keen athlete and won the Rainow sports hill-climbing competition in his teens.
Harry enlisted at Macclesfield, joining the 13th Cheshire Regiment, which was formed at Port Sunlight on 1st September 1914 by Gershom Stewart, MP, and thus was unofficially known as the Wirral Battalion. The Battalion came under orders of 74th Brigade in 25th Division. Harry joined the battalion for training, either at Bournemouth, where they were based from December 1914, or at Aldershot, after they moved there in May 1915.
After his training period Harry was drafted to France; as he was not entitled to the 1915 star medal this could not have been before 1916.
In early August 1917 the 13th Cheshire Regiment was at Bellewarde Ridge, near Ypres, and on 9th August they moved up to West Hoek ridge. The Battalion war diary records that at 4.35am on 10th August the Battalion attacked and captured the German Front and support lines, but sustained many casualties in the process. Between 5th and 11th August casualties were: 50 killed, 266 wounded and 56 missing. Harry was one of those killed, on 9th August 1917.
The news of Harry’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 7th September 1917, and a memorial service for Harry and three other local servicemen, Privates Flint, Berry and Adams, was held at Rainow Holy Trinity Church the following Sunday, 9th September.
Locally, Harry Wood is commemorated on the Rainow war memorial.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers: Holy Trinity Church, Rainow
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
WW1 War Diaries (France, Belgium, Germany), 1914-1920: 13th Cheshire Regt (WO 95/2246/3)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Advertiser: 14 September 1917
Macclesfield Times: 7 September 1917