Arthur WOOD
Rank: Private
Number: 17117
Unit: 6th Battalion EAST LANCASHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 9 August 1915
Age: 20
Cemetery: Helles Memorial, Turkey

Arthur was born in Wilmslow, in the mid -1890s, the son of Samuel and Sarah Ann. Sarah is understood to have died later and Samuel got married again to Hannah.

The family was living in the town in 1901 when the national Census was taken. Samuel was then aged 49 and worked as an engine driver for the Waterworks Department of a local council. Hannah was 42. Arthur was aged 6 and had an older sister, 8 year old Martha. In 1915, his newspaper obituary referred to two other sisters Annie and Sarah Jane. 

In later life, Arthur followed in his father's footsteps and went to work for Stockport Council's Waterworks Department. When he left to go overseas, he left behind his "sweetheart", Edith, who lived on Finney Green in Wilmslow. It's not thought they were engaged to be married.

Arthur enlisted into the army very soon after War was declared in August 1914 and, after training, went abroad on 16 June 1915. They arrived at Alexandria in Egypt on the 26th and finally moved into the war zone of the Gallipoli peninsula at dawn on 7 July. They spent the rest of the month in and out of the front line trench system, before being withdrawn from the peninsula to Mudros at the end of the month.

They were back on 5 August and, on the 9th, were in position for an attack on Turkish positions at Chunuk Bair. The attack was scheduled to start at 5.15am, but the various battalions had difficulties in reaching the designated positions. The Regimental History takes up the story "It was nearly six o'clock when the two leading Companies of the East Lancashires reached the position from which the attack was to be launched. The way forward lay across some kind of cornland known as The Farm, about half a mile wide which formed a kind of shelf amid the hills. Beyond that was the almost cliff-like end of Chunuk Bair and on each flank were low ridges held by the enemy."

Although they were already under fire, the two leading Companies advanced across the open and almost immediately started to suffer casualties from a "hail of shrapnel and streams of gun fire". Captain Lutyens, commanding "B" Company, was brought back to Battalion HQ having been shot in several places (he died later in the day). Colonel Cole-Hamilton also suffered fatal wounds at this point.

"The whole Battalion pressed forward, though officers and men were falling fast. "A", "B" and "C" Companies found another ravine lay between them and the main ridge and their advance was definitely checked. On the right, "D" Company was able to work its way further forward until stopped by an almost sheer cliff."

The supporting Battalions were now pushed forward into the attack but the Turkish troops were well prepared and held strongly defended positions. There was no hope of the attack succeeding. The survivors of the East Lancashires found whatever cover they could and remained there, pinned down, until dusk when they were able to withdraw to The Farm. The Battalion had suffered about 110 fatalities and, perhaps, three or four times that number wounded. At the next roll call, only 100 men answered. As with many of the Gallipoli attacks, it was simply too dangerous to go into No Man's Land to recover the dead. The bodies lay there and rotted. It is why so many, including Arthur, have no known grave.

After the War, the Imperial War Graves Commission confirmed casualty details with the families before headstones were erected or, as in Arthur's case, names were inscribed on memorials to the missing. His next of kin recorded by the commission was his sister Annie, then Mrs Stafford, 405 Hempshaw Lane, Stockport. It is probable that other family or friends in Wilmslow commemorated his name there - there is an A Wood inscribed on the town's War Memorial, who may be Arthur. His name is certainly included on the Memorial inside St Bartholomew's Church.

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