Maurice WOOD
Rank: sergeant
Number: 13426
Unit: 10th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 8 May 1916
Age: 21
Cemetery: Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Mony-Saint-Eloi, Pas de Calais, France

Maurice was the son of Joseph and Martha Wood, 92 Churchgate, Stockport. He worked as an assistant to Mr D Blair who owned a hairdressing business on King Street East. Maurice was one of many local men who rushed to enlist when war was declared in August 1914. He joined up as soon as he could in September but probably did not go overseas on active service for about a year.

In the early part of 1916, Maurice had his first leave and returned to Stockport where he got married. The name of his wife is not known but her initials were "S E". After the wedding, Maurice returned to the front and his wife went to live with her new in-laws.

On 8 May 1916, the Cheshires were in front line trenches at Mont-Saint -Eloi, a small village approximately 8 kilometres north west of the French town of Arras. The Battalion's War Diary records that "Considerable heavy damage was done to our left during morning and afternoon chiefly by the fire of heavy trench mortars".  Henry was in charge of a small group of men holding an advanced post a little way into No Man's Land. His officer, 2nd Lieutenant Withens,  subsequently wrote:-

"Your husband was in charge of an advanced post consisting of four men and himself and stuck to the position to the end, in the face of the hail of explosives that were being poured upon them. Of the advanced party, three were killed. I cannot speak too highly of your husband and his work. As a soldier, he was excellent, beloved by his officers and men and off-parade he was always cheerful and kind, the friend of the men in his charge. His death came as a great blow to us all. Without him, I feel absolutely lost and I know the men feel that their chief friend has gone. We buried him and his two companions in death in our little Cemetery behind the wood. He lies peacefully with the other British soldiers who have manfully given their all to the service of their King and Country. Be comforted by the thought that he died doing his duty and beloved by all who came into contact with him."

Lt. Withens is thought to have survived the war

The Battalion's officer, who was responsible for the War Diary entry that day, seems to have been more interested in another matter than the deaths of three soldiers. The official record continues "Between 6 and 7pm, three of the enemy deserted and gave themselves up to one of our posts. They belonged to the 2nd Battalion of 5th Regiment of Guards. Their physique was excellent, uniforms clean, smart and of good quality. They were intelligent men and very ready with information. They said they were from Alsace and did not wish to fight against us. They expressed themselves as being dissatisfied with their treatment on this front and had taken the opportunity, while on listening post, of deserting."

By the early 1920s, when the War Graves Commission was collating its casualty information, Maurice's wife was living at 1 The Fold, Luthwood Road (or Lythwood Road), Bayston Hill, Shropshire.

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