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George Thomas Wood
Stoker Petty officer
Service number K3120

 

George Thomas Wood was born on the 1st September 1891 in Edmonton, Middlesex.
He was a general labourer before he joined the Royal Navy at Chatham at the age of 18, to serve for 12 years from 3rd June 1909 to 19th May 1921. His record shows that his character through his service was described as very good.
Sadly he died as a result of injuries sustained in a road traffic accident in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) on 29th January 1924, during the Cruise of the Special Service Squadron.

George is believed to have been buried in Mahaiyawa cemetery after the service in St Paul's church, Kandy City, although this is not confirmed as yet.

I
n ADM 53/82492 I discovered that my Grandfather was on HMS Repulse as she took part in a world tour with HMS Hood. The tour started in 1923 and took in Canada, America, Africa and was referred to as the Special Service Squadron. The squadron was under the command of Vice Admiral Frederick L Field. After the ship left Tricomali, Ceylon at 0900 on Thursday 31/1/24 they headed on to Freemantle, Australia to continue their tour. From what I have learned the tour was a chance to "show off" the ships and where ever they went there was great pomp and pageantry with local dignitaries and even royalty being invited on board to inspect the ships. In return the men, both officers and serving ranks, were treated to "entertainment" on shore such as golf, concerts, balls etc. Ceylon was no exception except the men had to be transported by autobus from Tricomali to Kandy, where the Government offices were, and the entertainment was provided. I'm sure somewhere amongst admiralty papers/history there must be some sort of photographic evidence that I can find of my Grandfather's funeral.

The ships log states that on Tuesday 29 January 1924 at 0530 the party for Kandy left the ship. I believe that part of the shore leave was a trip to Dambulla to see the Golden Buddhas. It was returning from this trip that the autobus my Grandfather was traveling in met a lorry/car/bus on a steep mountain bend and overturned as part of the collision. Several others were hurt but George Wood was killed. There is a text below from a newspaper cutting about the funeral.

The above information I got from the monthly report from Vice Admiral Field to the Admiralty in London, however he does make reference to the full report he lodged about the accident after the inquest on the 5th February 1924. I have the full Admiralty reference number for the report but unfortunately Kew did not keep the same reference numbers so I will have to go back some day to see if I can manage to locate it or try to find a copy of the inquest papers drawn up by the Assistant Government Agent of Matale.

I also attach a copy of my Grandfathers service record below and a copy of the only photo we have of him. When Dad was alive he said that he was sure it was taken on his last leave home due to the age of my aunts in the photo in relation to their birth years of 1919 and 1921 respectively. By my reckoning this would have been around Christmas 1922 - my Dad was born September 1923. His father knew he had a son but he never saw him.


Debbie Darling (Granddaughter)

Please contact Andy (webmaster) with any information.

Andy Wade (Webmaster)

Information provided by
Debbie Darling and Don Kindell.



The service record of George Thomas Wood

Ship &c. served in Rating From To Character Notes
Acheron Stoker 2nd Class 3 June 1909 28 Oct 1909 VG
Diamond " 29 Oct 1909 24 Feb 1910 VG
Pembroke II " 25 Feb 1910 7 Mar 1910 VG
Formidable " 8 Mar 1910 2 Jun 1910 VG
" Stoker 1st Class 3 Jun 1910 2 Apr 1911 VG
Pembroke II " 3 Apr 1911 24 Apr 1911 VG
St George " 25 Apr 1911 11 Feb 1912 VG
Cormorant " 12 Feb 1912 31 Jul 1912 VG
Minerva II " 1 Aug 1912 29 Aug 1912 VG
St George " 30 Aug 1912 VG
" Unknown 17 Dec 1912 30 Apr 1914 VG Paid War Gratuity
Pembroke II " 1 May 1914 30 Jul 1914 VG HMS Canterbury
Unknown " 31 Jul 1914 VG List No. 36
" Unknown 1 Jan 1915 VG
" Stoker Petty Officer 1 Apr 1916 9 Feb 1919 VG  
" Paid War Gratuity
Unknown 10 Feb 1919 28 Feb 1919 HMS Empress II
Prince George 1 Mar 1919 1 Apr 1919
Pembroke II 2 Apr 1919 28 May 1919
Empress 29 May 1919 10 Oct 1919
Egmont 11 Oct 1919 31 Dec 1920
Caesar 1 Jan 1920 31 Jan 1920
Vivid III 1 Feb 1920 13 Apr 1920
Pembroke II 14 Apr 1920 11 Aug 1920
Unk Neptune 12 Aug 1920 11 Jul 1921
New Zealand 12 Jul 1921 1 Nov 1921
Princess Royal 2 Nov 1921 5 Dec 1921
Lion 6 Dec 1921 29 May 1922
Pembroke II 30 May 1922 10 Jul 1922
Repulse 11 Jul 1922 29 Jan 1924 VG

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Press cutting about the funeral on 30th January 1924:

The Dambulla Tragedy
Funeral of Petty Officer Wood in Kandy.

Kandy Jan 30th.


Further particulars of the tragic death of Stoker Petty Officer Wood of HMS Repulse disclose that he was found completely crushed under the overturned lorry. his companions, as soon as they had recovered from the shock of the disaster, hurriedly lifted the heavy mass of wreckage and sent the dying man and the other injured to the Dambulla Hospital in a car that was following immediately behind. - Petty officer Wood died five minutes after admission to the hospital. Mr C. Harrison-Jones, Assistant Government Agent of Matale, held the inquest late last evening and the re-night

The Funeral.

Early this morning the rank and file of the party from the squadron mustered on the Barrack Square in preparation for the funeral. Six petty officers of the 'Repulse' bore the coffin to the hearse, which was then drawn by them, preceded by the firing party and followed by the officers and the rest of the men, the police and the general public, the St Paul's church, where the Rev. C A Guy officiated at an impressive service. the cortege continued its way to the cemetery at Mahayawa. After the committal prayers, the firing party of 26 men of the 'Repulse' under Petty Officer Lazelle, fired three volleys over the open grave, and two trumpeters of the Royal Marines sounded the 'Last Post'
The Attendance.

The naval officers present included:
Eng. Lieut. Commander Plant of HMS Hood, representing the Vice Admiral; Eng. Commander Starr, Paymaster Lieut. Commander Grace, Lieut. Roe, Mr Carpenter and Mid. Miller of HMS Repulse; Lieut. Breaks and Warrant Engineer Atkins of the 'Dunedin'; Lieut. Usher, Lieut. Wilson and Mid. Coleridge of the 'Danae'; Mid Roe of the 'Hood' and Paymaster Mid. Winslow of the 'Dauntless'.
The Hon. Mr W L Kindersley represented his Excellency the Governor.
The other present were:- Lieut. F J S turner (C.M.R.), Capt T H Holland (C.P.R.C.), Messrs. A S Long Price, A G Gottelier, Superintendent of Police, C E Arndt, N K LaBrooy, and R.S.M. and Mrs. Jacobson.
The Wreaths.

Floral wreaths were placed by the following:-
Captain and Officers of HMS Repulse, Chief Petty Officer and Petty Officers of HMS Repulse; the shipmates of the engine room of HMS Repulse; the shipmates of the engine room HMS Repulse, Dauntless and Dragon; the Ceylon Mounted Rifles; the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps; the Inspector-General of Police, officers and men of the Ceylon Police Force; the Kandy residents; Kandy Kachcheri; King's Hotel, and Mr & Mrs Jobson.
The following sent permanent wreaths:-
The Ceylon Auto Carrier Co.; the Ratemahatmaya and all other officers in charge of the Naval Camp, Dambulla.