Monday, October 01, 2007

GSSR/649 Pte Obediah Wood, Royal Sussex Regt

Obediah Wood is another of Chailey’s men who does not feature in Reverend Jellicoe’s monthly roll call of serving parishioners. His attestation papers though, which survive at The National Archives, state that he was born in Chailey and that at the time of his enlistment at Hurstpierpoint on 21st September 1914, he was 40 years old. He also had previous military experience having served with Kent Royal Garrison Artillery for six years and Sussex RGA for one year and 31 days before being discharged at his own request.

He was five feet, five and a half inches tall and was passed fit for one year’s service with the Royal Garrison Artillery Special Reserve on 24th September 1914. Four days later however he was transferred to the 9th Royal Sussex Regiment at Shoreham and given the number GSSR/649; a number which really belonged with the Royal Sussex Regiment Special Reserve rather than a New Army battalion. He remained with the 9th Battalion until the 16th August 1915 when he was posted to the 10th Royal Sussex Regiment.

He arrived in France on 4th October 1915 and five days later was posted back to the 9th Battalion, remaining with this battalion on the Western Front until 5th August 1916. He then sailed for England and was posted, on arrival the following day, to the Royal Sussex Regiment Depot on 6th August 1916. Sixty three days later, on 7th October 1916, he was discharged from the British Army.

During his initial period in England, Obediah (who appears as Obed on all but one of his military documents), attended a Brigade Transport Training class at Colchester on 5th September 1915.

Obed was discharged from the army as a result of epilepsy, a condition he’d suffered from since he was 12 or 13. A Medical Board, convened on 23rd September 1916, noted that he used to fall down unconscious and that for the last three years he had had difficulty swallowing, although he had taken normal food in hospital without difficulty. The Board noted that his epilepsy had been aggravated by military service and awarded him a conditional pension of 20 shillings a week for the next six months. Subsequent Boards over the next two years increased his award which seems to have run until 31st December 1918.

On his papers, Obed Wood’s next of kin is given as Thomas Marriott of Small Dole (in what is now West Sussex), and his home address given in September 1916 given as New Hall, Small Dole, Sussex.

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