Ernest John Wood was born on 16th June 1898 in Colter, Manitoba, Canada.
The 1901 census for Canada on Ancestry.co.uk shows that the Wood family was living in the district of Brandon , Manitoba. Head of the household was George Wood aged 56. He had been born in Ontario in 1845. He was a Farmer and was of English descent. He married his wife Margaret in October 1878. Margaret was born in Scotland in 1856 emigrated to Canada in 1874. They had a large family consisting of Robert E., aged 21, James A. 20, Mildred 18, George Herman, 16, Maggie L. 15, Hannah M. 14, Mary B. 12, Stella J. 9, Susannah J. a 7, John E. 1 and Rex Almer who was under 12 months of age.
Ten years on, the 1911 census reveals that the Wood family was living in the district of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan. Head, George Wood age 65 was still farming and it appears that some of the children had left home. Margaret was then aged 55. There were seven children listed at home. Robert was 31, James 30, George Herman 27, Mildred 23, Stella 20, Ernest J 11 and Rex age 10.
Ernest’s mother, Margaret died on 24th January 1913.
The 1916 census for Canada shows that the Wood family was still living in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan and the family consisted of, George Woods 70, (Widower), James A. 35, George H. 33, Mary 26, Stella 24, Susan B. 22, John E 17 and Rex Almer aged 14. All the male members of the family worked on the farm.
Ernest John Wood’s army records tell us that he enlisted into the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force as part of the Forestry Company on 26th February 1917 at Regina. He named his father George Woods of Benson Saskatchewan as his next of kin. he was a Gas Engineer. His address at that time was the family home. He was of single status and was described on his medical form as having a medium complexion, brown eyes and dark hair.
After completing basic training in Canada, Ernest embarked from Halifax, Nova Scotia on 28th May 1917 aboard the S.S. Olympic, arriving in England on 9th June 1917 when he was posted to Sunningdale Army Camp to complete training. A month later on 11th July 1917, Ernest contracted Measles and was admitted to Aldershot Isolation Hospital and then having been discharged from hospital, Ernest was admitted to the Community Hospital at Doodcote with Gastritis. He was discharged from hospital on 8th September 1917 and was posted to the 2nd Canadian Command Depot until 21st February 1918 when he was returned to Sunningdale Army Camp and transferred to the 15th Reserve Battalion. On 21st August 1918 Ernest was transferred to Bramshott Army Camp with the 15th battalion and proceeded overseas to France with the 1st Battalion of the Canadian Mounted Rifles, joining his unit in the field on 31st August 1918. Ernest sustained a gun shot wound to his left foot and knee on 2nd October 1918 and was admitted to 22nd General Hospital at Camiers and transferred back to England where he was admitted to 5th General Hospital in Leicester on 11th October 1918 and then to a convalescent home in Epsom on 2nd November 1918. Ernest was discharged from hospital on 22nd November 1918 and posted to Bramshott Army Camp and then on 30th December he was transferred to Kinmel Army Camp, North Wales. Sadly, whilst there, Ernest contracted Bronchial Pneumonia, and was admitted to the Canadian General Hospital on 2nd January 1919 where he died at 10.30pm on 8th January 1919.
(From Library of Canada Archives)
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.
Ernest John Wood is buried in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan, his brother paid for his grave marker.
He is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.