Born: 28th May 1897, Ipswich, Suffolk.
Died: 29th August 1918; age 21; KiA or Died of Wounds or shortly after.
Enlistment Location: Ipswich; Date: 27th June 1915; Age: 18 years & 30 days; Religion: CofE. Height: 5ft 9ins tall, brown eyes & brown hair.
Residence: 87, Hervey Street, Ipswich.
Occupation: Grocer’s Assistant.
He served three years with the Hussars in Egypt and Palestine.
In May 1918, his ship was torpedoed whilst en route to France. On finally reaching France, he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps.
Expeditionary Force to Egypt 1st February 1916 – 7th June 1918.
Embarked En Route 18th June 1918 – 21st June 1918.
B.E. F. 22nd June 1918 – 29th August 1918.
Reported wounded & missing 29th August 1918.
Rank: Private; Service Number: 165886
Regiment: Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), 10th Battalion.
Formerly: 2462; Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars.
Medals Warded: Victory, British War & 1915 Star.
V. G. 9.
Pas de Calais,
Relatives Notified and Address: Son of Edward James and Alice Louisa Woods, of 87, Hervey Street, Ipswich.
1901 87, Hervey Street, Ipswich.
Francis was 3 years old and living with his mother, maternal grandparents & aunt and his grandparent’s female ward. Both he and his mother were not using their surname, Woods.
Charles Hart, 73, a retired Police Constable, born Thrandeston, Suffolk.
Lucy Hart (nee Levett), 70, born Woodbridge, Suffolk.
Alice Louisa Hart, 32, a Dressmaker, born Laxfield, Suffolk.
Lucy Helena Hart, 35, born Laxfield.
Pomponia Watson, 7, born Easton, Suffolk.
1911 87, Hervey Street, Ipswich.
Francis was 13 years old, and living with his mother, maternal grandmother & aunt & his grandmother’s female ward. Francis & Alice are now using their surname, Woods.
Lucy, 81 a widow, was kept by children.
Alice, 42, a Dressmaker for a Drapery.
Lucy, 45, helped at home. totally deaf.
Pomponia, 17, a Student.
Francis’s maternal grandfather Charles Hart died in January 1904, at 87, Hervey Street, Ipswich.
Francis’s father, Edward William James Woods, born in 1869, Ipswich was a Tobacconist’s Manager in 1911, living at 39 Bulwer Street, Shepherds Bush, London, he recorded himself as widowed. Alice Louisa Hart and Edward Woods were married at St. Margaret’s Church in April 1895. On Francis’s service record, Edward is acknowledged as his father but his address is unknown.
Edward Woods was first married to Hetty Maria Catchpole, they had two daughters – Hettie Maud Woods, born 1887, Ipswich, and Beatrice Annie Bertha Woods, born September 1888, Ipswich.
In December 1891, Hetty Maria Woods died at the family home, of 10, Cox Lane, Ipswich, she was 23 years of age.
Soldiers’ Effects to Alice Louisa Woods – mother and stepsisters – Maud Nelly Reed, of 31, Henslow Road, Ipswich, and Beatrice Bertha Eley, of 30, Nacton Road, Ipswich.
Francis’s stepsister, Beatrice Eley also lost her husband in the First World War. Walter Eley, of Stone Street, Boxford, Suffolk, was ranked a Private, service number 235116, for the Sherwood Foresters, 11th Battalion. On the 18th September 1917, Walter died from a shell wound to his left hip and side of his abdomen at the 10th Casualty Clearing Station, he was 30 years of age and laid to rest at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium. Beatrice and Walter had young two sons.
The Machine Gun Corps was formed in October 1915 as the machine gun proved to be held affective as infantry support in trench warfare. Cavalry and Motor branches, followed in 1916 by the Heavy Branch. A depot and training centre was established at Belton Park in Grantham Lincolnshire also a training base depot at Camiers in France .the men were trained to a higher technical standard, capable of stripping down and mending the guns in the field.
The Machine Gun Corps had 62,049 casualties, including 12,498 killed out of 170,500 officers and men earning it the nickname ’the Suicide Club’ manly as machine guns were static or fix positions becoming prime targets for the enemy.