Charles Wood is destined to be one of those servicemen whose lives remain shrouded in mystery.
He was laid to rest in the Milton Cemetery in Weston-super-Mare, and his widow, Ellen, is buried with him. There are two headstones on the site – a family one, and a more recent war grave.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website give his age – 48 years old when he died – and states that he was a Private in the 263rd Company of the Royal Defence Corps and gives his service number. This was a territorial force, so it is probable that he served on home soil.
The only remaining military document relating to him is the Army Register of Soldier’s Effects. This confirms that he died in the Red Cross Hospital in Portishead on 12th November 1917, and that his belongings passed to his widow. It does highlight that he received a war gratuity, which was only applicable to soldiers who had completed at least six months’ service, so we know that he enlisted before May 1917.
There are a number of censuses available for the Weston-super-Mare area, but there at least two men called Charles Wood who married women called Ellen, so it is a challenge to identify which is the man buried in this grave.
A usual source of information would be his service record – which, in addition to his military activity, would give an address as well as other family members. However, this document is not available for Private Wood.
There is no mention of his passing in any of the contemporary newspapers, so it seems unlikely that his death was anything out of the ordinary.
Charles Wood is, sadly, lost to time, one of the countless men and women who gave up their lives for King and Country.