John Richard Wood
Date of birth: 1890
Date of death: 23rd March 1918
Regiment: Scottish Rifles
Family information: Husband of Blanche Wood nee Tunningley
Service number: 43176
John Richard enlisted at Leeds in 1914 into the 6th Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers. From his service number on his Medal Roll it is likely he enlisted with his younger brother Joe as their service numbers are close. He went to France in May 1915 and was serving on the Western Front in May 1916. John Richard was wounded three times, the last time in Autumn of 1917 and he was home on sick leave. He returned to France in November 1917.
No service records have survived so it’s not known when he transferred to 9th Battalion Scottish Rifles. But this was the Battalion he was serving with when he died.
In the spring of 1918 the Germans launched their great Spring Offensive. The 9th Battalion Scottish Rifles were part of the 27th Brigade of 9th Division (Scottish). In February 1918 they moved to 43rd Brigade of the 14th Division (Light) for two months. So John Richard was part of the 14th Division when he died. John Richard was part of the Battle of St Quentin 21st – 23rd March. There was a fierce shelling from the Germans before their attacks on 21st March. The British Forces were overwhelmed. Despite many casualties there was fierce resistance all along the line. This enabled a withdrawal and the saving of many. On 23rd March the 14th Division came under attack at Jussey, south east of St Quentin. Resistance from remnants of the 14th & 18th Divisions held the Crozat Canal, enabling many to cross to safety, reassemble and be part of the later offensive.
It is likely that it was here John Richard died. His body was not recovered and he is remembered on the Poziers Memorial.
John Richard Wood was born in 1890 in Knottingley, the second eldest son and fifth child of William and Emma Wood (nee Askam). He had three elder sisters. The four brothers all served in the Great War, only William the eldest survived.
William Wood had his roots in Knottingley and worked as a Seaman and Boatman. His wife Emma was born in Mexborough and her family were employed in the pottery industry. They lived in Aire Street and Seaton’s Yard.
John Richard worked in the glass works as a glass blower.
In 1913 he married Blanche Tunningley, from Knottingley. They had three children, Richard, Joe and George.
In 1924 Blanche married James Baines.