Charles Norton ('Norton') WOOD

WOOD, Charles Norton

Service Number: 4025
Enlisted: 17 October 1914
Last Rank: Bombardier
Last Unit: 1st Light Trench Mortar Battery
Born: Myrtleford, Victoria, Australia, 5 December 1887
Home Town: Myrtleford, Alpine, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Engine driver
Died: Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia, 15 December 1953, aged 66 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Wangaratta Cemetery, Victoria
Memorials: Myrtleford War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

17 Oct 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Driver, SN 4025, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade
20 Feb 1915: Involvement Driver, SN 4025, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade
20 Feb 1915: Embarked Driver, SN 4025, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade , HMAT Shropshire, Melbourne
15 May 1915: Transferred AIF WW1, Driver, 1st Divisional Ammunition Column
5 Dec 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Bombardier, 1st Divisional Ammunition Column
19 Apr 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Gunner, 1st Light Trench Mortar Battery
3 Jan 1919: Promoted AIF WW1, Bombardier, 1st Light Trench Mortar Battery
4 Dec 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Bombardier, SN 4025, 1st Light Trench Mortar Battery

Bmr Charles Norton WOOD

From: In Remembrance: Hungerford and Associated Families in the Great War 1914-1918

Charles Norton WOOD

Regimental Number: 4025
Unit Name: Field Artillery Brigade 2, Reinforcement 4

Religion: Church of England
Occupation: Engine Driver
Address: Victoria
Age of Enlistment: 26 years
Enlistment Date and Place: 17 October 1915, Melbourne, Vic
Next of Kin: Mother, Caroline Elizabeth Wood, Basin Creek, Myrtleford, Vic.
Rank on Enlistment: Driver
Embarkation Details: Unit embarked from Melbourne, Vic., on
board HMAT A9 Shropshire on 20 February 1915
Rank from Nominal Roll: Gunner
Unit from Nominal Roll: 1st Trench Mortar Battery
Campaigns Served: Egypt; Gallipoli; France.
War Service/Promotions: He went to Gallipoli, Turkey, on 23 February 1915. Admitted to Ghezireh Hospital, Cairo, Egypt, 11 December 1915 with Jaundice. On 15 May 1916 he was appointed a Driver with the 1st DA Col. He was admitted to 2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, at Southall, England, whilst on furlough in United Kingdom. He returned to France 2 March 1917. Promoted to Bombardier on 5 December 1917. By 19 April 1918 he reverted to Gunner with 1/M.T.M.B, at his own request, and was transferred to 1st Div. Trench Mortar Brigade. He was detached from this unit on 16 August 1918. Promoted to Bombardier whilst in the Field on 2 January 1919, with the same unit.
Fate: Returned to Australia per HMAT A23 Suffolk, 12 April 1919, arriving on 5 June 1919. He married Marjorie Huon Lamb Hungerford, 27 June 1923, Whorouly, Vic. He also served in World War 2.
Place of Death: 5 December 1953, Wangaratta, Vic.
Place of Burial: Wangaratta Cemetery, Wangaratta, Vic.
Medals: 1914/15 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal

The following are letters or part thereof received by Mr and Mrs Isaac Wood, of Waterloo, from their son, Gunner (Charles) Norton Wood:-

This first letter was published in the Myrtleford Mail and Whorouly Witness, Thursday, 24 June, 1915.

'We left Melbourne on the 21st March,, and had no stop till we reached Colombo, where I posted a letter, which I hope you received; also, the wireless which I sent before getting out of touch with Australia. We were not allowed off at Colombo, and I’d have given anything to see the city, which in the distance looked beautiful. One only had to see the buildings to realise that we were in a new world. Our next stop was at Aden, but only for an hour.

When we reached Suez we were ordered to disembark. We arrived there at 7 o’clock on the 17th April (having done the trip very quickly). Started to take our horses (450) off at eleven; trucked and entrained them for Cairo by 9 o’clock at night; travelled all night, and got to Zeelturn station at 8 o'clock the following morning. A two-mile march to camp; had dinner and got leave to see the city. As we are encamped seven miles out of Cairo, most of us went in, and it was one of the most enjoyable nights of my life. It is a marvellous city, and to make a study of the different people that comprise it's population is a education in itself.

You can picture a big stretch of sand miles wide, and we camped in the middle of it; but all around are oases and irrigated flats, which are greener than anything I’ve seen. We have a big mess room, and the food is wholesome and abundant, and as the Egyptian Government allows 6d per day for each man, we are enable to provide extras.

We are near the old city of Heliopolis on one side and the new city on the other. The latter is a credit to the European population, and although only six years old it is worth going a long way to see.

I was very much impressed yesterday, as we visited the Sacred Well at Matarieb and drank of the water blessed by the Virgin Mary in her flight from Jerusalem. The tree where Joseph, Mary and child Jesus rested is fenced round, and a chapel has been built near it. This is a lovely little building with the 'Life of Christ' shown in the paintings on the walls. This is all very realistic, and makes a man stop and consider if he is going along the right road through life.

But absolutely the first, from an artistic point, of all the buildings I've ever seen is the Mahomedan Mosque at the Citadel. It is very dull looking from the outside, but the interior is simply wonderful.

I have not seen any of the boys who came before me. You will know more about the war than I do, but lately I have heard of the noble daring of our brave fellows. How proud Australia must be of her sons, though there will be great sorrow mingled with the pride. I wish it had been my lot to be with them, but our chance will come soon, as I hope to be many miles from here when this reaches you.'

This second letter was published in the Myrtleford Mail and Whorouly Witness, Thursday, 11 November, 1915.

Anzac Cove
September 7th, 1915

'At last I am able to write a letter which will not be censored, and I must say it is a relief, as one cannot write fully knowing the censor reads it all. I am quite well, as I hope you are. At present I am in a fairly safe position, but for eleven weeks I was under shell fire every day - some days only stray shells, but more often when the guns were out for business and trying to get us. We’ve been under shell fire several times when the bullets were singing merrily, and its surprising the thrill, not of fear, but rather the reverse, which it sends coursing through one's veins. I must say I did not know myself, before I came here. I was a bit afraid I’d be scared, but to my surprise I find that a sudden noise on dark night at home would give me more of a start than the bursting of a big shell close at hand will. It’s not bravery, but one does not seem to realise that the danger is as real for him as for his neighbour, and the first thought is to see who is hit, but no surprise at your own escape.

It’s no use saying much about OUR boys, as you know all about them by the papers, but cowards do not thrive in Australia. There are a dozen different classes of brave men, but my idea of a hero is the man who fears death and fully realises his danger, and yet unflinchingly sets out to do his duty, no matter if he goes to almost certain death. I've seen such cases often enough, but for the most part our boys go out with great faith in their luck, and treat the whole show as a huge game. One thing everyone must say is that our Red Cross men are the real heroes; no one can praise them half enough. Every man here has had narrow escapes, but some worse than others. I’ve had several close shaves, and got one knock, but not a severe one luckily. I was working with others in a gun pit one afternoon, when a shell burst some distance away. I heard a piece coming, but took no notice until it struck the bank overhead enough to break its force, and then got me in the muscles of my back. I went down and out for a few seconds, but only had a scratch and big bruises. I got it dressed, and after a day or two spell was fit for duty again, but could not lie on my back for some time. Of course, it was nothing, but had it come a couple of inches further it would have missed the bank and you would have missed your boy.

We see some awful sights, but one gets hardened to them. One morning a shell came along and got seven of our number. One poor fellow was shot through the head and fell against me. We had hard work getting them to the dressing station. But enough of this, or you will think I am everlastingly in peril, whereas we are now comparatively safe and like the life immensely, but I must confess I am a bit leg-weary. I have a dug-out on my own, about 9ft long and 6ft wide, so am very comfortable, and as our food supply is very good, you need not worry over me. I’ve just received your letter of July 18th and am very glad it came before I closed this. I saw Hayden Ewart yesterday, he is well. I am so glad Walter enlisted, and he will never regret it; but tell the married men not to come till all the single ones have volunteered.

Well, I think there is too much about myself in this, but I know you like to hear. So keep smiling and reckon on seeing us back safe and sound some day, as the chances are good. But if we don’t come back we will at least die game, and there will be a great reunion hereafater. Give my kind regards to all friends.'

Note: Mr. Walter Wood, another son of Mr and Mrs Wood, had also enlisted.

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