The cemetery is near the town of Polikastro (formerly Karasouli) which lies some 56 kilometres from Thessalonika, between the River Vardas and the south end of Lake Ardzan, in the Department of Pellis. The cemetery was begun in September 1916 for the use of casualty clearing stations on the Doiran front. At the Armistice, it contained about 500 burials but was greatly increased when graves were brought in from the surrounding area. John was originally buried in Kalinovo Cemetery but transferred to Karasouli In December 1920.
Son of Henry Cooke Wood and Sarah Ann Wood, of Hand cottages, Lower Swine’s Eye, Woodford.
Brother of Arthur Wood. He had 1 sister Sarah, and 3 younger brothers Fred, Frank, Ernest,
The 12th battalion was a new army raised at Chester during the first month of the war. In early September they moved to Seaford in Sussex, and then on to Eastbourne. In early March the Battalion moved out of Eastbourne and entrained for Maidstone. Here they worked on a trench system that was being constructed for the defence of London. After a spell again in Seaford the Battalion as part of the 22nd Division sailed from Folkstone to Boulogne, with 25 Officers, and 823 men landing on the 6th. By 9th September 1915 the Division were concentrated near Flesselles on the Somme. But the stay in France was to be very short.
On 27 October 1915, the Division, having been moved by train to Marseilles, began to embark for Salonika. It completed concentration there in November, although the final artillery units were still arriving as late as 13th December 1915.
The Cheshires along with the rest of British troops in Salonika, were there to deter Bulgaria from joining Germany and Austria-Hungary, in attacking Serbia. The war in Salonika was regarded by the British as a ‘side show’ as Britain had no political, commercial or strategic interests in the region apart from seeing the First World War to a favourable conclusion. Conditions in Salonika were appalling. Many men had arrived in light summer khaki, but in the winter of 1915, they faced blizzards and dense fog. There was a lack of roads, so the state of the ground meant terrain was impassable in parts with army vehicles sinking into the mud. When summer arrived in 1916, they were faced with soaring temperatures. Consequently, disease set in and spread like wildfire. In Salonika, for every casualty in battle, three died of malaria, influenza or other diseases
The war diaries state that during April 1917 the 12th Battalion moved to D sector a position completely commanded at every point by the Bulgarians positions on PIP ridge. The enemy artillery was extremely active in this area. It is unknown exactly how John was killed but reports state he was accidentally killed. It is possible that this could have been a training accident as this was not uncommon.
The inscription on John Henry’s Headstone reads “As long as life and memory last we will always think of thee.”
Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank Phil Underwood for compiling this page on John Henry.