Sunday, November 01, 2015

229851 Leading Seaman George Wood, HMS Sandhurst

George Wood was born on 16th August 1886 and appears on the 1901 census as a 14 year old agricultural labourer living in Chailey village with his family.  The family as recorded on the census comprised Edward Wood (head, aged 45 and working as an agricultural labourer) and his four sons: Edward (15, agricultural labourer), George, Charles (aged 11) and Harry (aged seven).  Whilst Edward Wood senior had been born in nearby Fletching, all four children were born in Chailey.  There is no indication of the children’s mother on the 1901 census although their father is recorded as being married.  The 1891 census however, notes the family living at Westlands Cottage, North Common and there, Edward, George and Charles appear again (Charles noted as having the middle initial, J) with both parents: Edward Wood aged 30 and his wife, Mary Wood (also born in Fletching) aged 29. 

George Wood enlisted in the Royal Navy on 22nd February 1904 aged 17.  It was noted that he was five feet, five inches tall, had brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion.  A small scar was noted on the right of his forehead.  He gave his occupation as Labourer.  On enlistment, George Wood was given the number 229851 and posted to the training ship HMS Northampton . Due to his age, he was given the rating of Boy, 2nd Class. 

Over the next ten years, George Wood served on the following ships.  His reckonable service began on 16th August 1904 (when he turned 18) and he signed up for 12 years: 

HMS Calliope (15th July 1904 – 11th October 1904)
HMS Suffolk (13th October 1904 – 9th April 1906)
HMS Hecla (7th June 1906 – 27th April 1908)
HMS Canopus (28th April 1908 – 7th December 1908)
HMS Renown (21st August 1910 – 10thJanuary 1911)
HMS Neptune (11th January 1911 – 27th January 1913)
HMS Ariadne (7th May 1913 – 17th May 1913)
HMS Duncan (24th May 1913 – 18th October 1913) 

As well as serving on the ships noted above, George Wood also spent time at the Royal Naval Gunnery School – HMS Excellent - on four occasions (8th December 1909 – 20th August 1910, 28th January – 6th May 1913, 18th – 23rd May 1913 and finally 19th October 1913 – 24th January 1914).  He qualified as a Seaman Gunner on 16th October 1910 and re-qualified on 18th December 1913. 

On 25th January 1914, George Wood transferred again, this time to HMS Venerable and it was while serving aboard Venerable that war was declared.  Wood remained with her until 27th December 1916 when he returned to Portsmouth, remaining there until 14th March 1917. 

He then served aboard the following ships: 

HMS Greyhound (15th March 1917 – 18th September 1917)
HMS Woolwich (17th April 1918 – 30th June 1918)
HMS Columbine (1st July 1918 – 31st March 1919)
HMS Sandhurst (1st April 1919 – 7th May 1919) 

Throughout his time with the Royal Navy, George Wood’s character is noted as Very Good, with his ability ranging from satisfactory to superior.  He was awarded his first Good Conduct badge on 22nd March 1907, his second on 20th August 1912 and his third on 19th August 1917.  He was deprived of one badge on 2nd August 1918 but awarded another shortly afterwards on 31st January 1919. 

George Wood finished his service with the Royal Naval rating of Leading Seaman; a rating he had been promoted to on 3rd June 1913. George’s brothers Charles Wood and Harry Wood also served their King and Country during the First World War.

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