World War I

Initials: A G N
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Major
Regiment: Essex Regiment
Unit Text: 1st Bn.
Age: 32
Date of Death: 30/10/1915
Awards: DSO
Service No:
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: II. A. 14.
Son of Mrs. A. M. C. Wood, of "Nithsdale," Ingatestone, Essex.
WOOD, Major Algernon George Newcome, D.S.O. (Algy) 1st Battalion The Essex Regiment
Born May 19, 1879, in Warley, Essex, the only surviving son of Lieutenant Colonel George Wilding Wood, formerly of the 50th Regiment of Foot, and Anna Maria (née Morton) Wood of Nithsdale, Ingatestone, Essex.
He was educated at Haileybury School (1893-97) and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. On February 11, 1899, he was gazetted 2nd lieutenant in The Essex Regiment and on March 11, 1900, he was promoted to lieutenant; to captain in 1905. During the Boer War he served as a staff officer and with the mounted infantry during the Boer War (1899-1902).
He was present in operations in the Orange Free State at Paardeberg (February 17-26, 1900) and in the actions at Poplar Grove, Driefontein, Vet River (May 5 and 6, 1900) and the Zand River; operations in the Transvaal east of Pretoria from May to June 1900 to include the actions near Johannesburg, Pretoria and Diamond Hill (June 11 and 12); operations in the Transvaal including the action at Belfast (August 26 and 27, 1900); operations in the Transvaal west of Pretoria to include the action at Frederickstad (October 17 to 25); in Cape Colony south of Orange River (1899-1900) to include the action at Colesberg (January 1 to 29, 1901); operations in the Transvaal and Cape Colony (November 30, 1900, to May 31, 1902) (Q.S.A. with clasps RELIEF OF KIMBERLEY, PAARDEBERG, DRIEFONTEIN, JOHANNESBURG, DIAMOND HILL, and BELFAST).
He was awarded the Disitinguished Service Order for service at Gallipoli (L.G. October 15, 1915) and the Serbian Order of the Eagle. While leaning against the outside wall of his dugout at 11 a.m. on October 30, 1915, smoking his pipe and watching an airplane hovering over the line, he was lmortally wounded by a Turkish sniper and died a few seconds later in the arms of his Sergeant Major, aged 36 years.
His last words are reputed to have been, “I am finished, Sergeant Major.” He is buried in plot II, row A, grave 14 in Azmak Cemetery, Suvla. Name commemorated on the Ingatestone and Fryerning War Memorial, Essex.
Major Wood’s citation for the Disinguished Service Order reads:
For distinguished service in the field.
On October 30, 1915, Captain John Gillam, Army Service Corps, noted in his diary:
Algy Wood, of the Essex, has gone West. He had been through everything since the landing, and at noon to-day was shot in the throat while in the support trench near his “orderly room.” He became a friend of mine, as he became a friend of all he met, and I have oten referred to him in my Diary. He just had time to say to his sergeant-major, who went to him, “I’m finished, sergeant-major,” and then died. A name that will never be forgotten by the survivors of the 29th Division. Nearly all the best have gone now.
He continued on November 3, 1915:
We continue on, an on arrival at the Essex Regiment I inquire where Algy Wood had been hit. I am taken up a short trench which turns sharply to the left, coming to an abrubt end at a dugout – his dugout. I inquire how it happened, and am told that he was leaning up against the back of the trench immediately outside his dugout, his pipe in his mouth, looking at an aeroplane which was oving over our line. Suddenly a bullet strikes him in the throat; he takes his pipe out of his mouth, makes a gesture of extremem annoyance with his arm, and mutters the words “Damn it!” Then he sinks back in the arms of his sergeant-major, who is standing near him, and saying, “I am finished, sergeant-major,” quietly goes West.
Struck by a chance bullet in a comparatively safe place! Cruel, cruel luck! At least Algy Wood, one of the most gallant officers of that pick of Divisions – the 29th – should have been spared. However, he had the satisfaction of putting up his hard-earned D.S.O. ribbon a week or so ago.
Photo in Creagh’s The Distinguished Service Order, Volume 1, page 419
Data from Patrick Gariepy Eugene, Oregon, USA
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