Woods MC, Norman Hill

Woods, Norman Hill

Military Cross

Private

No. 2540, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)

Lieutenant

3rd Battalion attached 7th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Killed in action on Thursday 16 August 1917 (aged 24)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium (Panel 70 to 72)

Holywood and District War Memorial

First Holywood Presbyterian Church

BIOGRAPHY

Norman Hill Woods was born on 26 May 1893 at 17 Summer Street, Belfast and he was a son of John and Agnes Woods (nee Stewart) who were married on 13 March 1888 in Cliftonville Presbyterian Church in Belfast.  John Woods was a son of Hill Woods, a baker.  Agnes Stewart was a daughter of John Stewart, a coal merchant.

The Woods family lived in Belfast, in Summer Street; Oldpark Road and Chichester Avenue and then in Churchfield, Bangor Road, Holywood.

John Woods worked as an insurance clerk and he and Agnes had at least eight children:

Margaret (born 14 January 1889 at 17 Summer Street, Belfast)

John Stewart (born 5 February 1891 at 17 Summer Street, Belfast)

Norman Hill (born 26 May 1893 at 17 Summer Street, Belfast)

William Ewart Gladstone (born 30 May 1895 at 48 Oldpark Road, Belfast)

Marjorie Stewart (born 30 June 1897 at 5 Willow Grove, Belfast)

Francis Scott (born 15 January 1900 at 8 Chichester Avenue, Belfast)

Duncan Stewart (born 2 September 1903 at 8 Chichester Avenue, Belfast)

Agnes Stewart (born 7 November 1905 at 8 Chichester Avenue, Belfast)

Their mother Agnes died on 21 August 1910 (aged 41) at Churchfield, Holywood.

Norman Hill Woods was educated at Skegoniel School in Belfast and at Upper Sullivan School in Holywood and, prior to the outbreak of the Great War, he worked as an insurance clerk in the London and Lancashire Fire Insurance Company, 14 Donegall Square West, Belfast.

On 21 November 1914 in Perth, Scotland Norman Hill Woods enlisted in the 6th Black Watch Territorials (No. 2540) with whom he served until May 1915 when he was promoted to a commission with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 49th Brigade of the 16th (Irish) Division.  It was noted that he was 5 feet 5½ inches tall and his vision was ‘good with spectacles’.  After a spell of duty in Londonderry he went to the Western Front on 15 July 1916.  In March 1917 he was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry in action – ‘He carried out a successful raid with marked ability and captured two unwounded prisoners.  Although heavily engaged during the retirement from the enemy’s trench he brought his party back with no casualties’.

Lieutenant Norman Hill Woods MC was 24 when he was killed in action on 16 August 1917 near St Julien during the Battle of Langemarck and he has no known grave.  Initially reported as missing in action believed killed, his death was confirmed in December 1917 when his name appeared on an official German ‘List of Dead’.  His identity disc was later returned to his father.

Lieutenant Norman Hill Woods MC is commemorated on Holywood and District War Memorial and in First Holywood Presbyterian Church.