r Henry Evelyn WOOD — 13th Light Dragoons
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Cornet Henry Evelyn WOOD — 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born at Cressing Rectory, Essex, on the 9th of February 1838,the son of the Revd. Sir John Page Wood, Bart, of Rivenhall and Vicar of St. Peter's, Cornhill, London, and his wife, Emma Caroline, daughter of Mr. Sampson Michell, R.N. Admiral in the Portuguese service, of Croft, West Cornwall.

Educated at Marlborough School, called to the bar of the Middle Temple, and also passed out of the Staff College.


Served as a Midshipman in the Royal Navy: 18th of April 1852 — 6th of September 1855.

Aide-de-Camp (Acting) to Captain Peel, R.N.: 1st — 25th of June 1854.

Cornet in the 13th Light Dragoons: 7th of September 1855.

On the 16th of October 1855 he wrote from the Cavalry Barracks at Dorchester (enclosing memorials from Sir Stephen Lushington and Captain Peel of the Royal Navy) requesting that he

"be informed what allowance or gratuity will be granted to me for a severe grape-shot wound that I received in the left fore-arm whilst carrying the ladders during the assault on the Redan on the 18th of June 1855, from which wound bone has been removed several times."

Any such award depended apparently on whether he was serving as an officer of the Land Forces or the Navy at the time, the Admiralty reply stating merely stating that "the Navy regulations did not permit any allowance or gratuity being paid for such wounds."

Further letters brought the request for Wood to attend a Naval Medical Board in London. This he did — and he was informed by the Board that

"He was wounded in the left arm by a canister-shot, and that after numerous affoliations of the bone of the left-fore-arm, the wound was now closed, leading to the loss of partial flexion of the elbow, which cannot be completely extended free." The report added that "the injury is attended by a certain amount of inconvenience."

The Secretary of State wrote privately:

"I think it is a very great question whether he would have had something had he been examined by a Military Medical Board, for it appears clear that a severe wound has resulted in an injury of a permanent nature to the left arm which may interfere with the management of his horse. He has also had the expense of a journey from Dorchester for nothing."

But regarding Wood, he wrote:

"Please inform this officer that with reference to his communication of the 16th of October 1855, Lord Panmure regrets that the regulations under which he is bound do not admit of his Lordship making any consideration for the injuries he received during the assault on the Redan on the 18th of June last."

Lieutenant, 13th Light Dragoons: 1st of February 1856.

Lieutenant, 17th Lancers: 9th of October 1857.

1861 Census

Rivenhall Place, Rivenhall, Essex.

John Page Wood, 64, Baronet, Magistrate.

Emma Pauline Wood, 59, Baronet's wife.

Charles Wood, 25.

Henry Evelyn Wood, 23, unmarried, Baronet's son — Army officer, born Cressing.

Two sisters and 7 servants are also shown.

Captain, 17th Lancers: 16th of April 1861.

Captain in the 73rd Foot: 21st of October 1862.

Captain in the 17th Foot: 10th of November 1862.

A.D.C. to the Brigadier-General, Dublin Division: 1st of January 1861 — 31st of March 1866.

Brigade-Major at Aldershot: 19th of August 1868.

D.A.A.G. at Aldershot: 31st of July 1868 — 13th of November 1868.

Brevet-Major: 19th of August 1868.

Marriage registered

Henry Evelyn Wood married Mary Pauline Southwell, September Quarter 1867, Isle of Wight.

Birth registered

Anna Pauline (sic) T Wood, September Quarter 1868, Farnham.

Birth registered

Evelyn Fitzgerald M Wood, December Quarter 1869, Farnham.

Unattached and onto half-pay: 22nd of June 1870.

1871 Census

General Staff & Departments, Aldershot, Hants.

Pauline Wood, 29, wife, born Ireland.

Anna Wood, 2, Sussex.

Evelyn Wood, 1, Hants.

Five servants are also shown.

Major in the 90th Foot: 28th of October 1871.

Brevet-Lieutenant Colonel: 19th of January 1873.

Brevet-Colonel: 1st of April 1874.

Birth registered

Marcella Caroline M Wood, September Quarter 1875, Farnham.

Superintending Officer of the Officer's Garrison Institute at Aldershot: 10th of September 1874 — 22nd of March 1876.

A.Q.M.G. at Aldershot. 23rd of April 1876 — 1st of February 1878.

Lieutenant-Colonel in the 90th Foot: 13th of November 1878, but being on "Special Service" at the Cape of Good Hope from the 25th of February 1878 — 21st of April 1879.

Brigadier-General in South Africa: 3rd of April 1879 — 7th of July 1879.

Brigadier General in charge of the Belfast District: 16th of December 1879 — 11th of January 1880.

Brigadier-General, (Local Major-General) in South Africa: 15th of January 1881 — 27th of February 1881.

Major-General at Natal, South Africa: 28th of February 1881 — 16th of February 1882.

1881 Census

Chatham & adjacent barracks.

Paulina Wood, 39, Officer's wife, born Ireland.

Anna P Wood, 12, scholar, Brighton.

Marcella Wood, 5, Sandhurst.

Charles Wood, 8, Aldershot.

Arthur Wood, 3 , Aldershot.

A niece and 5 servants are also shown.

Brigadier-General (Chatham District): 17th of February 1882 — 3rd of August 1882.

Employed with the Egyptian Army: 1st — 31st of March 1882.

Sirdar. 21st of December 1882 — 31st of March 1885.

Major-General, Base of Line and Communication Forces on the Nile. 15th of September 1884 — 14th of June 1885.

Major-General, Eastern District. 18th of April 1886 — 13th of December 1888.

Lieutenant-General (Local), Commanding the Troops at Aldershot: 1st of January 1889 — 8th of October 1893.

Lieutenant-General: 1st of April 1890.

1891 Census

Headquarters & Garrison Staff, North Camp, Farnborough.

Henry Evelyn Wood, 53, Lieut. General, Army, born Cressing.

Paulina Wood, 49, France.

Paulina Anna Wood, 22, Brighton.

Charles Michael Wood, 18, Aldershot.

Marcella Caroline Wood, 15, Camberley.

Arthur Herbert Wood, 13, Aldershot.

Victoria Eugenie Wood, 9, Chatham.

A visitor and 20 servants are also shown.

Death registered

Paulina Mary Wood [wife], 49, June Quarter 1891, Hartley W.

Marriage registered

Anna Paulina M Wood [daughter] married Hew Dalrymple Fanshawe, September Quarter 1894, Marylebone.

Q.M.G. at the Force's H.Q.: 9th of October 1897 — 30th of September 1897.

1901 Census

23, Devonshire Place, St Marylebone.

Gen Sir E Wood, 63, widower, Soldier, born Cressing.

Marcella M.C. Wood [daughter], 25, Camberley.

Victoria EM Wood [daughter], 19, Chatham.

Thirteen servants are also shown.


Cranmore Cottage, Cranmore Lane, Aldershot.

Paulina Fanshawe [daughter], 32, wife of Major Fanshawe, born Brighton.

Evelyn D Fanshawe, 5, India.

Two servants are also shown.

Adjutant-General to the Forces: 9th of October 1897 — 30th of September 1901.

Marriage registered

Marcella Caroline M Wood [daughter] to Edward Augustine Blount, September Quarter 1902, Marylebone.

General commanding the 2nd Army Corps and Southern Command: 10th of October 1902.

Appointed a Field-Marshal: 8th of April 1903.

Colonel of the Royal Horse Guards: 16th of November 1907.

Constable of the Tower of London: 11th of March 1911.

Campaign service

Field Marshal Wood served during the bombardment of Odessa when a midshipman aboard H.M.S. "Queen" and in the Naval Brigade ashore as Aide-de-camp to Captain Peel from the 1st of October 1854 — 18th of June 1855, being severely wounded when carrying scaling ladders at the assault on the Redan. (Medal and Clasps, Mentioned in despatches, Knight of the Legion of Honour, Order of the Medjidie, 5th Class, and the Turkish War Medal.) Served during the Indian Mutiny campaign of 1858-59 as Brigade Major to Somerset's Brigade; present at Rajghur, Sindwaho, Karee and Baroda. (Twice mentioned in despatches, Medal.)

Employed in hunting down the rebels in 1859, while commanding Beaton's Horse, and thanked by the Government for an attack on a band in 1859, (Gazetted to the Victoria Cross for gallantry on the 19th of October 1858 and also on another occasion.)

Raised the 2nd Central India Horse. Served on the Gold Coast in 1873, being employed on "special service" by Sir Garnet Wolesley. Served throughout the Ashanti War of 1873-74; organised Wood's Regiment (natives) commanded the attacking troops at Essanain; and the troops at the head of the road, following the enemy from Mensu to the Prah before the arrival of the European troops; present at the reconnaissance in force of the 27th of November; commanded the right column at the battle of Amofaul; slightly wounded; commanded the head-quarters of his regiment at the battle of Ordashu, and the capture of Coomassie. (Several mentions in despatches, Brevet of Colonel, C.B. and medal with Clasp.) Gaika War of 1878, in command of a column (mentioned in despatches).

Served in the Zulu War of 1879 in command of No. 4 Column,; raised "Wood's Irregulars" (a Zulu Regiment); two days after Isandhlwana he defeated a force of several thousand Zulus by surprise, and then maintained the advance position thus obtained. (Commended by the High Commissioner and nominated K.C.B.); defeated the Zulus at Kambula on March 29th; led the advance on Ulundi with a flying column, and was present at the battle. (Mentioned in despatches, Medal with Clasps (sic.).

Served during the Boer War of 1881 as Major General, and on the death of General Colley, as Governor of Natal and the Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces, (G.C.M.G.)

In the Egyptian War of 1882 he commanded the 4th Brigade near Alexandria, including the surrender of Kafred Duaar and Damietta. (Mentioned in despatches, thanked by both Houses of Parliament, Medal with clasp, Order of the Medijie, 2nd Class, and the Khedive's Star,) Served during the Nile Expedition of 1885-85; in command of the Line of Communications. (Mentioned in despatches, Order of the Medijie, 1st Class, and Clasp.)


Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasps for Inkerman and Sebastopol, the Turkish medal, Mutiny medal (without clasp) Ashanti War Medal, Zulu War medal (with clasp for 1879) Egyptian War medal and the Khedive's Star (dated 1882-84.) Awarded the Victoria Cross (Gazetted the 19th of October 1858) Created a C.B. (7th of March 1874) K.C.B. (23rd of June 1879) and the G.C.B. (30th of May 1891). Knight of the Legion of Honour and the Order of the Medjdie, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Class.

Victoria Cross

Both he and his father had made earlier application for his services in the Crimea to be recognised by the award of the Victoria Cross, his father in particular in a letter sent to the War 0ffice complained that Mr. Daniels (also Captain Peel's Aide-de-Camp) had been awarded the Cross in the same act of gallantry whereas his son had been left out of the list.

Captain Stephen Lushington, R.N, Captain William Peel, R.N. and Colonel Doherty of the 13th Light Dragoons all wrote strongly recommending Wood, but on the 1st of May 1857 the Secretary of the Admiralty wrote to his father, Sir John Page Wood, that:

"I am directed by Lord Panmure to acquaint you that his Lordship has received a communication from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty on the subject, from which his Lordship understands that the Lords Commissioners do not feel themselves at liberty to recommend Mr. Wood for the decoration in question."

When that awarded for the Indian Mutiny was gazetted it was originally sent out to India on the 19th of October 1860 via Lt. General Sir Patrick Grant, then at Madras, and, in the manner adopted by all such presentations,

"to be presented, or caused to be presented to him, in such a public and formal manner as you may consider best adapted to evince Her Majesty's sense of the noble daring displayed by him before the enemy."

This was returned to England, however, and was finally sent to him by post when he was living in Sunbury, Middlesex. Dated the 17th of July, 1862, the accompanying letter states, in part:

"The enclosed Cross was originally sent to the General Officer Commanding the Troops at Madras with instructions to present it to you in Her Majesty's name, in consequence of your absence from England at the time, but, as you had left England prior to its arrival, it was subsequently returned to this country and Her Majesty desires me to say how deeply she regrets not being able to decorate you with it herself."

The citation for the Victoria Cross stated:

"On October 19th 1858, at Sindwaho, during the Indian Mutiny, Lieutenant Wood was in command of a troop of the 3rd Light Cavalry. He attacked, almost-single-handed, a body of mutineers who were making a stand, and routed them completely.

A short time afterwards, near Sindhora, a Patel, named Chemmun Singh, had been seized by the enemy. Hearing that they were about to hang him for his loyalty to us, Lieutenant Wood took about twelve men, and started off in pursuit. After a ride of some miles they came across the mutineers, about seventy in number, encamped, and fast asleep. Taking only two men, he crept up to them, fired a volley, dashed amongst them and rescued the man."

The second occasion which is sometimes referred to as being an action in which he was involved and helped to bring about the award of the Victoria Cross took place after he had first attacked the mutineers' square at Sindwaho:

"A small party of the 8th Hussars under their Adjutant, Lieutenant Harding, arrived to assist him. The rebels having started to disperse, Harding called out to Wood to fight one of them and himself selected another.

The sepoy waited until Harding was so close that the fire of his musket singed his stable jacket and he was shot dead. Lieutenant Wood's opponent also waited for him with the bayonet, till finding that the chest of his horse was almost upon him, clubbed his musket, and was at once run through the body by Wood's sword."

His group of awards, decorations and medals is in the National Army Museum.


Further information

In the Museum of the Q.A.R.A.N.C. there is a document of recommendation from him for the award of the R.R.C. to a Miss Susan Cator and written on the 18th of November 1897. (This was Gazetted on the 14th January 1898, the award coming some 40 years after the Crimea.)

The Decoration and its Warrant were handed over to Sir Evelyn Wood on the 14th of January 1898 and duly presented by him to her on the 21st of January. The document reads:

"The Assistant Under Secretary of State,

I was lying ill in Scutari Hospital and had, until my mother came out — she being advised I could not recover — two nurses. One used to beat me, and was eventually detected doing so, but the other, Susan Cator, in whose favour I am now writing, always put in 26 hours instead of 24, in order that I might be saved from the presence of the woman whom I feared.

Susan Cator, who is now I believe 83 years of age, lives in some alms-houses in Hereford, and is in receipt from me of a small annual sum for pocket money.

My attention was drawn to her, after having lost sight of her for many years, by the clergyman of the Parish, who visits the alms-houses, and she has since been visited, at my request, by the widow of the clergyman, and a short time ago she wrote to me to the effect that it was understood the Queen had in some cases conferred the Red Cross Badge on nurses who served in the Crimean War, and suggested that I should endeavour to obtain it for Susan Cator.

If Her Majesty has done this, perhaps you will put forward Susan Cator's name. She has an unblemished record for about 65 years, having begun in Guy's Hospital as a nurse, and at the conclusion of the war she was taken back there as a matron, and continued to serve there until she was superannuated.

I think the case is a good one.

[Signed] Evelyn Wood, in 1856-57, 13th Light Dragoons."

Marriage registered

Anna Paulina M Wood [daughter] married Hew Dalrymple Fanshawe, September Quarter 1894, Marylebone.

1901 Census

23 Devonshire Place, St Marylebone.

Gen Sir E Wood, 63, widower, Soldier, born Cressing.

Marcella M.C. Wood [daughter], 25, Camberley.

Victoria EM Wood [daughter], 19, Chatham.

Thirteen servants are also shown.

1901 Census

Cranmore Cottage, Cranmore Lane, Aldershot.

Paulina Fanshawe [daughter], 32, wife of Major Fanshawe, born Brighton.

Evelyn D Fanshawe, 5, India.

Two servants are also shown.

Marriage registered

Marcella Caroline M Wood [daughter] to Edward Augustine Blount, September Quarter 1902, Marylebone.

1911 Census

Evelyn Wood, 73, widower, Army Field Marshal, born Cressing, Essex.

Charles Wood, 38, single, Army Major, Aldershot.

Arthur Wood, 33, single, Army Captain, Aldershot.

Five servants are also shown.

Death & burial

Death registered

Henry E Wood, 81, December Quarter 1919, Epping.

Died at "Millhurst", near Harlow, Essex, on the 2nd of December 1919, at the age of 82 years.

On the 15th of November 1919 it was announced that:

"Sir Evelyn Wood was confined to his bed, suffering under complications arising out of his recent heart trouble.

An improvement which took place in his condition a few days later was not maintained and he remained in a very weak state, although he was conscious practically up to the hour of his death, which was due to heart failure.

Almost the last words he uttered only a few hours before his death were, "My God, my King, and my country." later he murmured, "I see my Saviour," and shortly afterwards he passed away."

The King sent the following telegram to his eldest son:

"The King is grieved to hear of the death of your father. His Majesty will join with you and the whole of the Army in mourning the loss of this very gallant and distinguished soldier who gave his services to the country during three successive reigns. The King desires me to express his true sympathy with you and your family."

Extract from The Times, 8th of December 1919:

"Burial of Sir Evelyn Wood, VC. The Army's tribute at Aldershot.

The funeral of the late Field-Marshal Sir Evelyn Wood took place at Aldershot on Saturday, when the Army, in the presence of some of its greatest leaders and more than 7,000 troops, paid the last tribute of respect for a distinguished soldier.

The first part of the burial service was held in All Saint's Church and afterwards the coffin was borne to the Military Cemetery for interment.

Before the altar at St. George's and beneath the tattered colours depending from the roof, the body had been lying all night under the guardianship of the three regiments with whom he was most intimately associated, the Royal Horse Guards, the 13th Hussars and the 17th Lancers.

When the congregation had entered the church at noon, the coffin, covered with the Union Jack and surmounted by wreaths and flowers, troopers of the 17th Lancers stood rigid at the corners, their lances reversed.

The King was represented by Field-Marshal Earl Haig, Queen Alexandra by Colonel Sir H.R. Streetfield, the Duke of Connaught by Major-General Sir Roger Lane and the Secretary of State for War by Lieutenant-General Sir Philip Chetwode.

[A list of the various representatives of the Services and public bodies follows.]

Lord Stanfordham, who was Aide-de-Camp to Sir Evelyn Wood, carried the Field-Marshal's baton and regalia. The principal mourners were, Colonel and Mrs, Evelyn Wood, Lieutenant-Colonel and Mrs. Charles Wood, and Major and Mrs. Arthur Wood — sons and daughter's-in-law — Sir Evelyn's three daughters, Mrs. Telford, Mrs. Keynes, and Miss Lesley Wood.

The seats in the choir stalls were allocated to the various religious denominations in the command.

The service, which was preluded by the playing of "O Rest in the Lord," by the band of the 13th Hussars, was conducted by the Reverends F.L. Anderson, A.C.E. Jervis and C.S. Alford, Chaplains to the Forces at Aldershot. The hymns were, 'Now the labourer's task is o'er' and 'O God, our help in ages past.'

At the conclusion of the first part of the service the band played Chopin's 'Funeral March' and as the non-commissioned officers of the Royal Horse Guards bore the coffin down the aisle the "Nunc Dimittis" was sung...

The Procession at the Cemetery — A guard of honour from the Black Watch with the regimental colour was mounted outside of the church, and the route to the cemetery was lined with troops who stood immobile, with arms reversed.

The flowers being left in the chancel in accordance with Sir Evelyn's wish that none should be placed on his grave, the coffin was placed on a gun-carriage and the long procession made its way between the lines of people, many standing bare-headed in the heavy rain, to the cemetery.

It was headed by a detachment of Military Mounted Police, who were followed by squadrons of the 3rd and 13th Hussars, and the 17th Lancers. After these came the 1st Bn. Royal Fusiliers, the 1st Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers, the 2nd Bn. East Surrey Regiment, the 1st Bn. Manchester Regiment, the 1st Bn. Highland Light Infantry and the 2nd Bn. of the Cameron Highlanders, with bands and pipes. Preceding the gun-carriage was a battery of the Royal Field Artillery.

Beside the coffin — as pall-bearers — walked Admiral Sir H.E. King Hall and seven generals — Lord Rawlinson, Sir Bruce Hamilton, Sir P. R. Wingate, Sir John Cowans and Sir Robert Scanlon, Indian Army. Immediately behind these came Field Marshal Lord Grenville and Field-Marshal Lord Methuen, carrying cushions on which lay Sir Evelyn's baton, insignia and decorations.

His charger, draped in purple cloth, the dead soldier's boots reversed in the stirrups, was led next. Colonel Evelyn Wood, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Wood and Major Arthur Wood came next with Sir Evelyn Wood's grand-son, Midshipman Leslie Wood, R.N. Lord Haig headed the large company of representatives of the Army Council, War Office and General Staff, and of officers of Sir Evelyn's old regiments in which he was especially interested.

As the procession moved along a salute of 19 guns was fired from Redan Hill by the Royal Artillery and during the funeral the people of Aldershot showed their respect by closing the shops and flying flags at half-mast. At the cemetery gates was a detachment of the Scottish Rifles.

The committal service was conducted amidst a large and reverent gathering of people. Volleys were fired over the grave by the Hussars and Lancers and another salute of 19 guns heightened the impressiveness. The "Last Post" was sounded by Trumpeters of the Horse Guards, then the pipes of the Cameronians wailed forth the lament "The Flowers of the Forest" as the great soldier was left to his rest in a grave adjoining that of his wife, who died nearly 30 years ago, when he was General Officer Commanding, at Aldershot."

Simultaneously with the funeral a memorial service was held in Chelmsford Cathedral, the Mayor and Corporation attended in state, and the Essex regiment was represented by Lieutenant-Colonel Pratt, D.S.O."

His grave in the Military Cemetery at Aldershot is of a simple nature, consisting of a plain cross about four feet high in pink granite, the area being enclosed by a kerb of the same stone. The inscriptions are on the arm of the cross and on the plinth itself.

That for him reads:

"Evelyn Wood, V.C. Field Marshal. Born 9th Feb. 1838 — Died 2nd Dec. 1919." That on the plinth reads, "In memory of the Honourable Pauline Southwell, wife of Lieutenant-General Sir Evelyn Wood. — Died 11th of May 1891." R.I.P.

His grave is situated in what appears to be a predominantly Catholic portion of the Cemetery and is thought to be reserved for that religion.

The reason why he and his wife are buried in the Roman Catholic portion of the Cemetery probably lies in the fact that his wife was Catholic and had married despite her family objections. Whether or not he changed his religion is not known.

An aunt (known to all her nephews and nieces as "Aunt Bee"), an eccentric childless woman but enormously wealthy, who had married his father's brother, bestowed on each of Henry Wood's siblings the sum of £5000 on marriage, but refused to give him a shilling because he had married a Catholic. She subsequently relented to the extent of providing him with an allowance, but soon revoked it, after a dispute between Wood and his brother-in-law, Charles Steel.

On the 6th of May 1865, at the Sheriff's Court, Red Lion Square, London, Wood was charged with assaulting Major Charles Steel [PB: his brother-in-law].

The condensed facts of the case were that Major Steel had married Henry Wood's sister in 1858, but she soon left him. In December of 1863 the plaintiff met his wife at Aldershot when attending a court-martial there and a young gentleman was with her. He asked the man's name and he said it was Major Wood.

Steel approached his wife and asked to speak to her, holding out his hand. She refused, and the defendant also prevented her. He than followed them towards a cab-stand and was endeavouring to obtain the address of the residence of his wife when, without provocation, the defendant struck him two or three blows which caused his nose to bleed and then jumped into the cab in which he had placed his sister.

Major Wood had later refused to apologise after committing such a public outrage on a brother officer and he had been forced to come to court. Witnesses bore out his story and the jury awarded Major Steel damages of £400 instead of the £600 asked for.

Further information

Death registered

Anna P.M. [daughter], 61, December Quarter 1929, Thame.

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