Woods Harry Cecil

Harry Cecil Woods was born in Brighton on 26th July 1886. His mother Wilhelmina Sanders (named as next of kin on Attestation Papers for Corporal 154059 Harry Cecil Woods, from The Library of Canada) appears on the 1881 census on as Wilhelmina Tassell born 1858 in Wye, Kent, a professional Governess living at Sextries Farm in Nackington, Kent employed by Robert Collard a Farmer of 300 Acres employing 10 labourers and 1 boy. She was twenty three years of age and unmarried.

The 1891 census on shows that Wilhelmina Woods age 29, born in 1862, who I believe to be Wilhelmina Tassell was living with her son Harry C. Woods in  Clueslay Road, Battersea, Clapham London, her status is unclear but she appears  to either be married or widowed. Her son  Harry C. Woods was 4 years of age born in Brighton and there was also a servant living at the premises by the name of Kate Bouret age 17.

Wilhelmina Tassell married Henry John Sanders in 1894. (England and Wales Civil Registration Marriage Index 1837-1915 on

The 1901 census on reveals that Wilhemina Sanders, age 40 born in Wye, Kent, was living at The Grange, Robertsbridge, Sussex with her husband  Head of the family, Henry J. Sanders age 40 born in Essex,  a Corn Merchant by trade and Cecil Woods age 14, born in Brighton, who is described as Ward in relation to the Head of the family. Also at this address is Dorothy Sanders, daughter age 3 born in Ilford, Essex and Susan Baseter, age 21 born in Lowerstoft, Suffolk a General Servant by trade.

Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 on shows that the Sanders family emigrated to Canada on 9th October 1904 departing from Liverpool aboard the S.S. Southwark bound for Montreal, Quebec. Their final destination was Winnipeg. Mr C. Woods is shown to be on the same passenger list, 18 years of age, his trade is noted as Farmer.

The 1906 Census for Canada on shows that the Sanders family were living in the Province of Alberta in Township 51, it appears that they had a small farm or smallholding as the census shows that they own 2 horses, 1 milk cow and 7 cattle. Head Henry Saunders was 43 years of age and his wife Wilhelmina 45. Dorothy E. (Edna) was 8 and Cecil Woods a Servant by trade was 20 years of age.

I cannot trace the family in 1911 but they do appear on a Canadian passenger List, 1865-1935 on dated 4th May 1913 and it appears that they were on their way back to Canada from Australia bound for Vancouver, British Columbia aboard the Zealandia. They stated that they were tourists  and given ages were John Henry Sanders 50, Wilhelmina, 50, Edna, 11 and Harry Cecil, 26.

The family are shown on the 1921 Census for Canada on as living in Victoria, British Columbia at 1527, Coldharour Rd. Head of the household Henry J Sanders, Retired was 60 years of age, his wife W. Sanders age 60 and their daughter Edna age 20.

Attestation Papers for Corporal 154059, Harry Cecil Woods from the Library of Canada.

Harry enlisted into the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force on 19th August 1915 at Victoria, British Columbia. He gave his mother Wilhelmina Sanders as next of kin, address Cold Harbour Rd. Victoria B.C. Date of birth, 26th July 1886 and trade, Motor Mechanic. On Harry’s medical form he is described as being 5ft 4 ins tall with a fair complexion, light brown eyes and brown hair.

After basic training in Canada, Harry embarked for England and arrived on 30th November 1915 when he was posted to an Army camp to complete  training.  before being deployed to France on 8th March 1916, landing in Boulogne on 9th March 1916. On 16th April 1916, Harry was admitted to No. 10 Canadian Field Hospital after contracting Influenza and returned to duty on 24th April 1916. He was again admitted to hospital (no. 6 C.F.H.) on 1st May with Neurasthenia which is a condition associated with extreme tiredness, lesions, irritability, possibly as a result of early discharge from hospital after contracting Influenza.

On 10th May 1916 he was given the rank of Corporal but was again hospitalised for a neck problem on 22nd May 1916 when he spent 37 days in treatment.

Harry rejoined his unit on 30th June 1916 and remained in the field until 1st July 1917 being granted fifteen days leave he returned to duty in the field on 5th January 1918 when he was transferred to 9th Bn., Canadian railway Troops. Harry remained in the field until December 1918 when he was transferred with the Canadain Railway Troops to Whitby Army Camp in England. On 18th January 1919, Harry proceeded to Kinmel Army Camp in North Wales.

If you wish to read about the formation of the Canadian Railway Troops, please follow the link.

Kinmel Park Camp was a segregation camp used to house Canadian Soldiers awaiting repatriation to Canada after the end of WW1. Unfortunately the conditions at that time were extremely harsh with a lack of every kind of commodity, the camp was overcrowded and the services were poor, there were shortages of clothing, food and blankets. As a result of this situation, a vast number of servicemen and women became ill and many succumbed to the Influenza Epidemic or complications associated with this infection.

Sadly Harry contracted Bronchial Pneumonia, and was admitted to the Canadian General Hospital on 7th February where he died at 18.30 on 13th February 1919.

On Harry’s medical notes there was the following comment from the doctor. This was a severe case from the start, complicated by diffuse Bronchial Pneumonia of which the patient died.

Harry was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. All his possessions were sent to his mother.

Harry Cecil Woods is buried in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan, North Wales.

He is  commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War memorial.


Learn more about the other soldiers on the Bodelwyddan Memorial

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