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Bazj
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Well it is almost 100 years since my Great Uncle George Henry Woodey died at the Battle of Aubers Ridge on 9th May 1915. I had stories about George told to me by my mum but no one (not even mum) had ever seen a photo of him..... Well today I found one. It was in the old Warrington Examiner and had the following post script...

RIFLEMAN G.H WOODEY

Not Been Seen Since Engagement on May 9th
...
Official intimation has been received that Rifleman G. H. Woodey of the 2nd Battalion of the Rifle Brigade, son of Mr. & Mrs Thomas Woodey of 89 Catherine Street, was posted as missing after an engagement on May 9th.

A letter has also been received from a comrade - Rifleman Thomas Waring, whom lives in Hoyle Street and who is now in hospital, in which the writer states that he believes Rifleman Woodey to be either killed or wounded. "If he is not" he added "he is a lucky one. I hope he is lucky, He is the only 'pal' I had in the trenches"

Rifleman Woodey, who is 21 years of age, is a single man. As a boy he attended the Heathside day school. On the outbreak of war he left the Warrington Wire Rope Works, Bewsey Road, and enlisted in the Rifle Brigade. In the pre-war days he frequently attended the services at the "All Saints Mission", at which place of worship he was very well known. He was at one time a member of the football club connected with the mission
 
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Like SueS has already said.. what a fantastic find Baz.

 

Sad to read though as he was so young, just like so many others, and his friends concern and the comments he made about him [George] as being the only 'pal' he had in the trenches brought a lump to my throat.   

 

What a shame that your mum never got to see an actual photo of him but lovely that she clearly had memories and tales of him to share so he wasn't forgotten.

 

Are the old Warrington Examiner pages that you found him on available online ?

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It isn't on there Algy and I was trying to find out how to get it added before the 100th Anniversary of his death.... do you know?

I contacted the mayors secretary Julie or Julia and she sorted it for me, also a lady in the office at the crematorium was involved and they were all very helpful, sorry I dont have any numbers, good luck Baz.

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Why isn't he on it Baz is it because he was reported as missing in action as the info you posted says and that he/his body was never found  (sorry as that sounds awful but I couldn't think of any other way to put it).  Were there other reasons why some names weren't put on cenotaphs ?

 

I hope Algy can help and that you get his name added before the 100th anniversary of his death.  Have you asked WB Council as don't they look after the cenotaph so they should know.... saying that..... Algy's your best bet :wink:

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Baz, hopefully I will have the full war diary in the next few days of the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade 1914 to 1919 and there may be detailed information on your great uncles movements up to and including the day he died, my great uncle was with the 11th Battalion and I had the war diary that enabled me to trace the field that he died on, his body was never found either, very often soldiers recieved a direct hit from a shell that made there remains untraceable or due to the intensity of battle they were buried where they fell and never recovered for formal burial.

I have taken the liberty of attempting to retouch and resize your photo to hopefully give a more lifelike image of your uncle.

942090_10151694913379593_199904488_n_zps

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Baz, hopefully you will read this, I retrieved the CD containing the complete war diary for your great uncles regiment, unfortunately it is too large to upload all the pages on to here, what i have done is uploaded screen copies of the month of May 1915, I'm sure you will find it interesting, unfortunately it does not give the names of the soldiers killed on the 9th but does give an indication of the carnage that was taking place, the battalion suffered heavy casualties from there own guns dropping shells short of the enemy and on our own lads.

Because there are more than 10 pages I have uploaded them on two reply pages.

 

aWarDiaryFrontPage1914-1915_zps901c2b1b.

 

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All makes a rather sad read Algy and brings it all home to me just how very terrifying and awful it must have been for all these brave young men 24 hours a day, 7 days a week... if of course they survived that long :(

 

Who would have written those notes ?  Would it have been one of the higher up ranks who was in charge on the front line and there in full view of it all or were his daily notes somehow relayed off the front line and someone else wrote them down?  Sorry if it's a stupid question, I am sure it is, but I'm not too knowledgeable about these things.  I guess I just wondered because the pages look so clean and also considering everything going on around them I'm surprised the note books survived.

 

Like I said, probably a really stupid question, sorry.

 

I noticed on the 9th it said that their own front line suffered severe casualties from their OWN shell fire.  Very sad :( and the high numbers of those killed, wounded and missing in action in those few days (noted on the 12th) is shocking. 

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As you say Dizz, it really does make you realise what those lads went through although the written word could never convey the discomfort, pain and terror they experienced.

It was the Adjutant usually a Captain or Lieutenant who was in charge of battalion administration and would be based at the Battilion HQ, in a battle situation possibly a mile or so back from the front line or trenches.

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Baz, I have obtained this information from a WWI site it has been copied from your great uncles war records, there are 25 pages on Ancestry.com, perhaps Dizz or Tracey (if they are still members) can download them and mail them to you, alternatively you can access the site free at your local library and either print them out or load them on to a usb memory stick.

Here are the details I have obtained:-

 

Rifleman George Henry Woodey. Service No. Z/2521

 

He was 21 when he attested.
5ft 3.5 inches; 106 lbs

He served at Home, 2nd Sept 1914 to 16 Feb 1915
Expeditionary Force, 17 Feb 1915 to 9 May 1915

He was awarded 1914-1915 Star and British War Medal.

And his Reg No was Z/2521

Another page says:
Missing 9-5-15; reported by O.C. Bn A F B 213
Death accepted for official purposes as having died on or since the 9/5/15.

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Algy....

 

many many thanks for taking the time to look this up for me. I did have some of the info; but the war diaries are particularly poignant....

 

His number etc. were on the reverse of his 1914-1915 Star....

 

2ih5vea.jpg

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This is Ploegsteert Memorial where G.H. is remembered on plaque 10. I visited this back in 2011... very lovely place and so much better looked after than if he had survived the war and ended up in a tatty old grave in Warrington Cemetary

 

0baf2205-caa1-4432-bfbc-f026a43f7c20.jpg

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Baz, the war Graves Commission do a fantastic job regarding the upkeep of these cemetaries and there are so many small ones dotted about Europe, both the Belgian and French nations take a great pride in looking after them.

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Thanks Dizzy... I have full membership of Ancestry and have got most of the documents Algy mentions.

 

With regards to the war diaries he posted; May the 9th (as you can see by the entries) was when the battle happened in which George Henry died..... quite a skirmish by the looks of things and when you look how many died on that day; a total waste of young lives....

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Thanks Dizzy... I have full membership of Ancestry and have got most of the documents Algy mentions.

 

With regards to the war diaries he posted; May the 9th (as you can see by the entries) was when the battle happened in which George Henry died..... quite a skirmish by the looks of things and when you look how many died on that day; a total waste of young lives....

The whole war was a total wast of human lives Baz.

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