Harry Wood was born circa 1922 (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/29A/88), the son of Henry (Harry) and Minnie Wood (nee Smith, formerly Price.)
Minnie had married her first husband Samuel Price in St. Bartholomew’s Church, Sealand on the 27th June 1914. Samuel was age 29, a bachelor, Ironworker and his address was give as, 52, Farm Road, Queensferry, his father was Samuel PRICE, Blacksmith.
I found a death certificate for a Samuel Price in 1917, but this would have to be purchased to confirm/deny. (Flintshire (Mold) MOLD/38/24)
I believe that Minnie remarried, again in St. Bartholomew’s Church –
Parish Registers – Marriages.
Page 59 No 118 15th December 1917 Harry WOOD, 30 Bachelor Collier 50, Farm Road, Garden City. Father John WOOD, Labourer & Minnie PRICE ,28, Widow, 52, Farm Road, Garden City, father John SMITH Ironworker (After Banns)
Witnesses:-Albert SMITH & Elizabeth WOOD (Officiated by J.J.J. ROBINSON (Vicar of Shotton Church))
It is from this union that young Harry Wood was to be born, but sadly, as there are no Censuses after 1911 in the public domain, I have no record or information of young Harry’s childhood, so any information to help tell his story would be gratefully appreciated.
Harry did pass his exams and went to Hawarden County School:- Hawarden Grammar School Admissions Register E/GS/1/10
1756/2536 WOOD, Harry, Date of Birth – 30th August 1922, 84, Sealand Ave. Garden City (crossed out and 6, Gloucester Rd., Shotton, written in ), Father – Crane Driver, Date of Entry, 18th September 1934, Sealand Cl., Date of Leaving – 26th July 1937.
However, we do have the 1939 National Register, but unless Harry was one of the redacted records, he is not on it. Probably in the Royal navy already, as the 1939 National Register was taken on the 29th September 1939 and war was declared on the 3rd September 1939. The family were living at 5 Gloucester Avenue, Hawarden (I think this was Shotton, in the Parish of Hawarden.) Harry’s father Henry ‘s date of birth was the 27th February 1887 and he was a Electric Crane Driver In Sheet Mill (Heavy Worker), his wife Minnie’s date of birth was the 28th March 1889 and she was doing “House Duties Unpaid,” this Register, so describes married women who are not “in work,” Harry’s siblings, I believe, were Norman Wood, born the 12th June 1928, at School, Dorothy Wood, born the 24th May 1921, she was an Aircraft Assembler. There is a Ronald Wood, born the 8th May 1869, working in the Finishing Department Steel Rolling Mills (Heavy Worker), he was single. There is a closed record, but I don’ think that would be Harry, it would have to be opened to find out, this can be applied for.
His Commonwealth War Graves Citation states that he was on HMS Nile, —- Taken from:- http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19390:-
From research I know that HMS Nile, HMS Sphinx and HMS Stag were all shore bases in or near Alexandria during WWII and that they were involved in Special Ops and Combined Operations (Commandos/SBS?).
So Harry wasn’t actually on that Ship:-
HMS Nile was the name given to the naval base at Alexandria from April 1939 to June 1946.
List of Royal Navy shore establishments – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Royal_Navy_shore_establishments#L_to_R
Lot’s of information on this website.
He may have been on this boat:-
Allied Warships https://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/14962.html
HMS HDML 1039 (ML 1039)
Harbour Defence Motor Launch of the HDML class
Navy The Royal Navy
Type Harbour Defence Motor Launch
Pennant ML 1039
Built by Morgan Giles (Teignmouth, England, U.K.)
Ordered 14 Feb 1940
Commissioned 26 Nov 1940
Lost 20 Jun 1942
History – Captured by Germans/Italians at Tobruk on 20 June 1942.
Or one of these:-
LCM, Landing Craft Mechanised (30-37 tons) – able to carry one 16t-40t tank or 60-100 troops – No.110, 113, 145, 146, 148 (total 5), lost during fall of Tobruk, June 20, 1942.
Landing craft personnel (Large) LCP(L) (8-11 tons) No.64, lost during fall of Tobruk, June 20, 1942
Landing craft support (Medium) (MkI) LCS(M) (9-11 tons) – LCA with 4in smoke mortar – No.4, 6, 15, 18, 19, 22 (total 6), lost during fall of Tobruk, June 20, 1942.
LCA, Landing Craft Assault – able to carry 35 troops – No.193, lost during fall of Tobruk, June 20, 1942.
Landing craft tank (MkII) LCT (450 tons) – able to carry 3-40t or 7-20t tanks – No.119, 150 (total 2), lost at Tobruk, June 20, 1942.
I cannot find out exactly what happened to young Harry, but as he is commemorated on a memorial, his body was never found. However, I would guess he was killed whilst serving on one of the above.
I then received a message through the WW2 Talk Forum from Stanley Wood, telling me that Harry was his father’s brother – “ Harry Wood was my uncle. His ‘baby brother’ was my father, Brian Wood born in 1938.
My late father once told me a story how when he was a little boy, he remembered a sailor in full navy uniform arriving at the family home in Shotton. (N. Wales). The man was there to inform Harry’s parents that Harry had died in service. Apparently, the sailor in question was one of his shipmates, and the ship they were on, had been hit and was sinking rapidly. The crew abandoned ship and were swimming in the sea. Soon after, an Italian aircraft flew over and strafed the survivors in the water. Harry was one of the unfortunate ones who were killed but his mate survived and retold the events to Harry’s parents.
I believe Harry Wood also served on another warship (as a Telegraphist) called the HMS Valiant. (which I believe was a Battle Cruiser). I have a picture somewhere of him.
Hope that helps
Mr S Wood”
Then Roberto Unger added on the Forum – “HMS Valiant was actually a Queen Elizabeth class battleship Stanley, completed during WW1, and much modified subsequently. She was mined in Alexandria harbour, along with her eponymous sistership, by the famous Decima Flottiglia MAS on 19 December 1941. She survived the attack but was obliged to leave for South Africa for repairs, joining the Eastern Fleet in April 1942. Harry may have been put ashore following the mining, accounting for his transfer to HMS Nile’s establishment. His service record should clarify this.
It is understandable that to anyone in the water that they could sincerely believe that they were the target of the strafing aircraft, but I suggest that it is more likely that it was attempting to finish-off the now evacuated vessel, which may in any case not have been apparent to the pilot, or to attack its companions, which is of course no consolation.” Roberto Unger.
My thanks to the Forums on WW2Talk and other websites for leading me through, although I do not know if the information is absolutely correct, but it might help to build a picture of that day, I am grateful for all their patience when I asked the questions.
Harry was so obviously loved as can be felt by the story from Stanley Wood, many thanks to him, but the family made sure he was to be remembered as they added his name to the War Memorial.
Harry is also remembered on the Hawarden War Memorial and Hawarden Grammar School Roll of Honour.