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Linda Report 4 May 2014 14:43

I am trying to obtain information re my paternal grandmothers brother. His name was Robert Wood and he was born in March 1889, and lived in Leeds (think it was Hunslet). He went to Cockburn School in Leeds.

He died following injuries sustained on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, dying the following day 2 July 1916. He was buried in France.

I am trying to obtain more information about him especially his service records etc but keep drawing blanks. I would also like to obtain information about his school records. There is a plaque in Cockburn School which commemorates the old pupils who died in WW1,



Kucinta Report 4 May 2014 16:26

For info on his regiment and his service no.


Service No: 15/1017
Date of Death:02/07/1916
Regiment/Service: West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own) 15th Bn.
Grave ReferenceI. B. 5.

Additional Information:
Son of the late William and Ann Wood, of Hunslet, Leeds.


Kucinta Report 4 May 2014 16:32

Medal Index card:

British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 about Robert Wood
Name: Robert Wood
Regiment or Corps: West Yorkshire Regiment
Regimental Number: 15/1017

Theatre of war first served in : 3) Egypt.

Date of entry therein: 22.12.15

Medals: Victory, British & 15 Star

Noted as 'Dead'


Kucinta Report 4 May 2014 16:42

This record simply confirms his enlistment place was Leeds, and his birthplace as Hunslet:

Soldiers died in the Great War 1914-1919

First Name ROBERT
Last Name WOOD
Soldier Number 15/1017
Battalion 15th Battalion.
Battalion Details -
Regiment Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment)
Birth Place HUNSLET
Residence -
Place Of Enlistment LEEDS
Year 1916
Death Date 2
Month Of Death 7
Year Of Death 1916
Cause Of Death Died of wounds
Theatre Of War France & Flanders
Theatre Of War Region Western European Theatre
Supplementary Notes -
Record set Soldiers died in the Great War 1914-1919
Category Military, armed forces & conflict
Record collection First World War
Collections from Great Britain

Not finding a WWI service record, but then approx 60% of them were destroyed by fire after a bomb raid on the War Office in 1940.


Kucinta Report 4 May 2014 17:04

Your great uncle was a private in the 15th Battalion when he died,. The fact that he entered the field of war in Egypt according to his medal card index tallies with the WWI movements of the 15th Battalion as summarised below:

"The West Yorkshire Regiment

15th (Service) Battalion (1st Leeds)

Formed in Leeds in September 1914 by the Lord Mayor and City.

June 1915 : came under orders of 93rd Brigade, 31st Division.

December 1915 : moved to Egypt. Went on to France in March 1916.

7 December 1917 : amalgamated with 17th Bn to form 15th/17th Bn."

from :


Linda Report 4 May 2014 17:06

Thank you for your helpful information.


Kucinta Report 4 May 2014 17:21

Looking at the summary for the activities of the 15th Battlion I posted above, it looks like Robert was in France by spring 1916.

Have you tried googling for imformation on the regiment, regimental museum etc?


This site has access to the archives, war diaries etc, but it reads like the archives are not open to the public and research will cost you...


Kucinta Report 4 May 2014 17:44

The 15th Battalion ( West Yorkshire REgiment) was known as The Leeds Pals.

There is this bit about Robert:

"Private Robert Wood


Born. 1889, Leeds.

Died of Wounds. 2/7/1916.

Robert Wood was the only son and eldest of three children born to William and Christiana (Ann) Wood of Hunslet, Leeds.

He joined the Pals on 4/9/1914 and served with 4 Section No1 Platoon of A Company at Colsterdale, Egypt and France.

Wounded on the 1/7/1916 in the Battle of the Somme, He died the following day.

He is buried in Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No1, France."

EDIT: I don't know if it's just coincidence, but the webmaster and head researcher for the site, who has also published a book on the 'Leeds Pals' is a Stephen Wood.


Kucinta Report 4 May 2014 17:58

The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 25 June 1931 tells of a memorial plaque to The Leeds Pals being dedicated in the Lady Chapel of Leeds Parish Church.

It was a white marble wall plaque with a bronze figure of St George designed by Mr Ernest Sichel, the Bradford artist. There are panels with names of the battles and war zones where members of the battalion gave their lives (but not the names of the fallen).

I'll try and pm you a snip.


Kucinta Report 4 May 2014 18:05

Wki on the Leeds Pals

Apologies if you know all this already.

"The Leeds Pals were a First World War Pals battalion of Kitchener's Army raised in the West Yorkshire city of Leeds. When the battalion was taken over by the British Army it was officially named the 15th Battalion (1st Leeds), The Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment).

The battalion was formed in September 1914 and underwent training at Colsterdale in the Yorkshire Dales. It became part of the 93rd Brigade of the 31st Division, along with the two Bradford Pals battalions (16th and 18th Battalions, The West Yorkshire Regiment). In December 1915 the Leeds Pals were deployed to Egypt to defend the Suez Canal from the threat of the Ottoman Empire.

In March 1916 the battalion landed in France, joining the British build up for the Battle of the Somme. On the first day on the Somme, 1 July 1916, the 31st Division attacked towards the village of Serre and the Leeds Pals advanced from a line of copses named after the Gospels. The battalion was shelled in its trenches before Zero Hour (7.30 am) and when it advanced, it was met by heavy machine gun fire. A few men got as far as the German barbed wire but no further. Later in the morning the German defenders came out to clear the bodies off their wire, killing any that were still alive. The battalion casualties, sustained in the few minutes after Zero, were 24 officers and 504 other ranks, of which 15 officers and 233 other ranks were killed.

"The name of Serre and the date of 1st July is engraved deep in our hearts, along with the faces of our 'Pals', a grand crowd of chaps. We were two years in the making and ten minutes in the destroying." (Private A.V. Pearson, Leeds Pals)[1]
In December 1917 the Leeds Pals were amalgamated with the 2nd Leeds battalion (17th Battalion, The West Yorkshire Regiment, a Bantam battalion) to form the 15th/17th Battalion, The West Yorkshire Regiment."

Another potted summary) Robert had enlisted in Sept 1914, so was with the Battlaion form it's beginnings:

"15th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (1st Leeds Pals) was raised in Leeds in September 1914 by the Lord Mayor and City. After training locally they moved to Silkstone in December 1914. In May 1915 The Battalion joined the 93rd Brigade, 31st Division and moved to South Camp, Ripon and later to Hurdcott Camp near Salisbury.

In December 1915 they set sail for Alexandria in Egypt to defend the Suez Canal. In March 1916 The 31st Division left Port Said aboard HMT Briton bound for Marseilles in France, a journey which took 5 days. They travelled by train to Pont Remy, a few miles south east of Abbeville and marched to Bertrancourt arriving on 29 March 1916.

Their first taste of action was at Serre on the Somme where they suffered heavy casualties as the battle was launched. In 1917 they were in action in the Battle of Arras. In early 1918 they were on the Somme then moved north into Flanders for the Battle of the Lys and the Final Advance in Flanders."


Kucinta Report 4 May 2014 18:11

There are a couple of books about the Leeds Pals on Amazon, and also on Ebay.

Neither are cheap, but it might be worth reading the reviews/contents to see if you might find either worth getting for a feel of what your great uncle went through.


Kucinta Report 4 May 2014 18:25

This article in the Yorkshire Evening Post about the Leeds Pals shows that approc 750 out of 900 men were killed in that first battle on the Somme that Lnda mentioned.

"Of the thousand-odd who went to war from Leeds, just 47 came back alive."

It's unimaginalable - yet it happened.

It must have devastated the whole community back home.