Topic: Oscar John Wood

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Oscar John Wood (Service no. 3/2196) was a first World War soldier with links to the suburb of Woolston

Portrait of Oscar John Wood from Onward : Portraits of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Auckland, New Zealand : Fair Dinkum Publications, 2013-2015.Oscar John Wood born 11 March 1895, was killed in the Gravenstafel / BellvueRidges offensive above Passchendaele village on 4 October, 1917. He was 21 years old.

Oscar worked as a labourer at the Addington Railway workshops before enlisting at age 20 on 12 January, 1916. He had been living at 112 Wildberry Street, Woolston with his parents and younger sisters and later at The Royal Exchange, Cathedral Square where his father, Frederick was the custodian. His mother, Agnes Muriel Wood had four daughters - his sisters Ivy (b.1896), May (b.1898), Mary (1901) and Irene (b.1903). Blue-eyed Oscar was 5ft 6" (167.6cm) with brown hair and a "fresh" complexion.

Oscar served in the New Zealand Medical Corps (NZMC) and received training at Trentham. He left New Zealand on the troopship Willochra with the 13th Reinforcements on 27 May, 1916, arriving at Devonport, England after 57 days on board. The reinforcements were transferred to Sling Camp, the principal New Zealand training camp during WW1. After training, Oscar was transferred to the No 1 General Hospital at Brockenhurst then back to Sling Camp to join a new field ambulance. A field ambulance was a mobile medical unit that operated behind the front, close to combat and looked after wounded and sick soldiers. The 4th New Zealand Field Ambulance received less than three weeks training at Blackpool and Codford.

The 4th Field Ambulance was a very mobile unit that operated with the minimum of equipment - 1 pack mule with 2 small paniers for surgical instruments and 1 general services cart. Field medical personnel needed to have good physical stamina.

The Field Ambulance left for France at the end of May 1917 and from 1st June were stationed near Nieppe in Northern France and Westhof farm near Ypres 10 kms from Mesen, Belgium. The New Zealand Division was also located at the front near Mesen.The Battle of the Messines  was a successful offensive by the New Zealand Division to remove German soldiers from the Messines ridge on 7 June. By 9 June there were 3000 casualties and 700 dead New Zealand soldiers. After Messines the 4th Field Ambulance returned to Nieppe.

Oscar died from wounds in the field at an advanced dressing station on 4 October, 1917 above Passchendaele. He is buried in Oxford Road Cemetery in West-Vlaanderen 22.5 km north east of Leper (Ypres), Belgium.

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Oscar John Wood


First Names:Oscar John
Last Name:Wood
Place of Birth:Christchurch, New Zealand