Monday, October 27, 2014

SE/4483 Corporal Frederick Albert Jon Wood, Army Veterinary Corps

Frederick Albert Jon Wood is commemorated on the war memorial on Chailey Green but is not recorded on either the Commonwealth War Graves’ Commission’s (CWGC) Debt of Honour register or Soldiers Died in the Great War.  This suggests that he died of wounds or a war service incurred sickness after 31st August 1921; the “cut-off date” set by the CWGC for servicemen and women to be granted war grave status.  Chailey’s war memorial was unveiled on 2nd October 1920 and Frederick Wood’s name, appearing out of alphabetical sequence, seems to have been added at a later date. 

Frederick was born at Wivelsfield, Sussex in 1896, his birth registered at Lewes in the December quarter of that year.  He appears on the 1901 census of England and Wales as a four year old living at North Colwell Farm, Wivelsfield with his family.  The household comprised Frederick Wood (head, aged 32, a farmer), his 30 year old wife, Alice Mary Wood and their three children: Edith Grace Wood (aged five), Frederick Albert Jon Wood and Alice Ellen Wood (aged one).  

Chailey Parish Magazine first notes in March 1915 that Frederick Wood is serving his King and Country.  In October 1915 it notes, Wood, Pte F, AVC, Dardanelles and in December 1917 that his rank is now that of corporal.  This information is then repeated up to and including the final published roll call in July 1919.  There is no mention of him in the parish magazine’s roll of honour. 

Fortunately, Frederick’s medal index card at The National Archives in Kew fills in further details. He is recorded as SE/4483 Corpl Fredk Albert J Wood of the RAVC (the Army Veterinary Corps became the Royal Army Veterinary Corps on 27th November 1918).  He enlisted on 1st March 1915 and appears to have arrived in Gallipoli just thirteen days later on 14th March.  He was discharged as no longer physically fit for war service on 7th June 1919 and was entitled to a silver war badge as well as the 1914-15 Star and British War and Victory Medals.  
Frederick's entry on the silver war badge roll would appear to be incorrect as it contradicts the medal index card, stating that he enlisted on 1st February 1915 and did not serve overseas. His age (in 1919) is given as 23.

Frederick’s name does not appear on any of the Wivelsfield memorials and although I have not researched the church cemeteries in this area of Sussex, it seems likely that he is buried either in Chailey or Wivelsfield.
Medal index card courtesy of Ancestry.

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