75thBrigade, 25thDivision, IV Corps, 3rdArmy.
Son of Mr & Mrs Henry Cooke Wood of Lower Swine’s Eye, Woodford.
Arthur had 1 sister Sarah, and 4 brothers Fred, Frank, Ernest, and John Henry.
Commemorated Arras memorial, Pas de Calais ,France, bay 5&6. The ARRAS MEMORIAL commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave.
Arthur’s occupation prior to the war was a farm labourer. He enlisted in Macclesfield early in September 1914, joining the 10thBattalion Cheshire Regiment.
The Battalion was formed in Chester on the 10thSeptember 1914. By November they had moved to billets in Bournemouth, and on to Aldershot by 1915. They embarked from Folkstone landing in France on the 26thSeptember 1915, where they were concentrated around the area of Nieppe, a village 4 kilometers north-west of Armentieres on the road to Bailleul.
Arthur was only in France for a short while. He suffered a shrapnel wound to the foot on the 18thOctober and was subsequently sent back home to England on the 27th. Arthur was promoted in April 1916 to acting Corporal whilst serving in the 4thBattalion. He returned to France in December 1916. He was wounded again in March 1917 and was sent to the 4thGeneral hospital in Lincoln to recover. By August the same year he was posted back to France with the 10thBattalion.
German spring offensive the offence at Picardy
On 21stMarch the 25thDivision were in reserve but were soon rushed up to the front.
The 10thBattalion were at Achiet-le-Grand, 12 miles north west of the French town of Bapaume. At 6am they were ordered forward to occupy 1000 yards of trench at Fremicourt about 10km to the east. The trench was immediately deepened, and a series of holes 100 yards apart were dug as a support line.
The 22ndwas a quiet day and all the men could do was wait for the inevitable attack.
At 9.30 on the morning of 23rd the enemy attempted a surprise attack on the Battalion’s left flank. This attack broke down under rifle and Lewis gun fire.
At 2pm the enemy’s artillery opened up with a terrific barrage on the wire, front, and support lines. This was kept up until 3.15, when they attacked vigorously in large numbers in four waves. The attack completely broke down under intense small arms fire. The enemy repeated the attack at 3.20 but again failed to reach the wire. Having failed in these two attacks, the Germans withdrew into dead ground about 150 yards east of the Cheshire’s wire and dug themselves in. The 7th Trench Mortar Battery kept up harassing fire on the enemy positions.
On the morning of the 24th, there were signs that the enemy was about to attack again, and artillery support was requested. Unfortunately, the bombardment was inaccurate and many of the early shells fell short on the Cheshires positions, causing many casualties. By mid-afternoon, a further withdrawal of the British line was ordered, and the Cheshires were supposed to take up a position at Beugnatre. However, before they could occupy the position, the enemy came on in force and the Battalion was forced to fall back to Favreuil. They did this, firing all the time and retiring slowly in an organised manner even though, by now, all the company commanders and many other officers had become casualties. The Battalion would take no further real part in the fighting and by 28 March had been fully withdrawn from the combat area, to Canaples (20 kilometres north of Amiens). .
During the 23rd March 18 men lost their lives; Arthur Wood was one of them.
Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank Phil Underwood for compiling this page on Arthur