Woods, William Charles (No. D/JX 181588)

Woods, William Charles (Willie)

Able Seaman

No. D/JX 181588, HMS President III, Royal Navy

Died of disease on Monday 9 February 1942 (aged 32)    

Buried:

Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard, Co. Down

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Donaghadee and District War Memorial

Family grave headstone in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard

BIOGRAPHY

William Charles Woods was born on 4 September 1909 in Castle Street, Donaghadee and he was the youngest son of Thomas and Matilda Woods (nee Miskimmins, sometimes Miskimmin, sometimes McSkimmins) who were married on 22 December 1887 in Newtownards Registrar’s Office.  Thomas Woods from Drumhirk was a son of John Woods, a labourer.  Matilda Miskimmins from Ballyhay was a daughter of Hugh Miskimmins, a labourer.

Thomas Woods worked as a railway labourer and he and Matilda had twelve children:

John (born 6 November 1888 in Ballyvester; baptised 6 January 1889)

Eliza Jane (born 5 October 1890)

James (born 15 May 1892 in Herdstown; baptised 28 August 1892)

Isabella (born 21 March 1894 in Mount Street, Donaghadee)

Martha Smith (born 14 April 1896 in Mount Street, Donaghadee)

William Charles (born 6 August 1897 in Mount Street, Donaghadee; died of broncho pneumonia in Castle Street, Donaghadee 16 November 1908 aged 11)

Francis (born 3 April 1899 in Mount Street, Donaghadee)

Hugh (born 25 March 1901 in Mount Street, Donaghadee)

Thomas (born 29 October 1902 in East Street, Donaghadee; died of gastro enteritis 31 July 1903)

Mary (born 17 September 1904 in East Street, Donaghadee; married Francis Kirk on 25 June 1930 and they had a son named Ronald)

Thomas (born 31 January 1907 in Castle Street, Donaghadee; died of capillary bronchitis 25 October 1907 in Castle Street, Donaghadee)

William Charles (Willie, born 4 September 1909 in Castle Street, Donaghadee and named after his brother who died in 1908)

The first four children were baptised in Millisle & Ballycopeland Presbyterian Church and the next two in Shore Street Presbyterian Church Donaghadee.  Matilda Woods died on 26 April 1939 (aged 70).  There is a different date of death and age inscribed on her headstone:  26 April 1938 (aged 72).

During the Second World War Willie Woods served with the Royal Navy.  HMS President III was the shore-based accounting base for the naval gunners on Defensively Armed Merchant Ships (DAMS) and Able Seaman William Charles Woods died of illness on 9 February 1942.  His father placed a Death Notice in the 13 February 1943 edition of the County Down Spectator and it contained the verse:

Deep in our hearts lies a picture

More precious than silver or gold

It’s a picture of our dear Willie

Whose memory will never grow old

His father placed an In Memoriam notice in the 12 February 1944 issue of the County Down Spectator and it contained the verse:

Our world may change from year to year,

Our friends from day to day,

But the memory of the ones we love

Will never fade away.

Able Seaman William Charles Woods (D/JX 181588) was 32 when he died and he is commemorated on Donaghadee and District War Memorial and on the Woods family grave headstone in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard.