No.456 – Private John Albert Woods – 16th Infantry Battalion AIF
At 21 years of age, John Albert Woods enlisted for war, registering himself as single; a labourer; and, belonging to the Church of England. He recorded his father, Samuel Woods of Midland Junction, as his next of kin. The family are known to have lived at 112 South Street, South Fremantle.
John Albert Woods enlisted for war just three weeks after war was declared on 1 September 1914. His date of enlistment was recorded as 23 September 1914. Three months after enlisting, and just days before Christmas, John Albert Woods embarked on HMAT Ceramic in Melbourne.
His wartime experience was not a long one. He died 25 April 1915 in Dardenelles, aged 22.
Affectionately known as ‘Bertie’, Woods was beloved by his family. He was the eldest son of Sam and Mary Ann Woods and had 5 brothers and 4 sisters. In fact, Bertie was just one of three sons that served in World War One and the three youngest boys that weren't able to serve in that first world war served in the Second World War!
John’s cousin, Fred Wells—Fred always spoke with much admiration of his cousin and regarded his as a hero. Fred always told the family that Bertie was killed at the Landing of Gabba Teppi, Gallipoli although records only indicate Dardanelles as the place of death.
John’s sister, Lilly May—During the war, Lilly had been fostered to her Aunt and Uncle in Midland. It was unusual then to see her mother approaching the farm house on a horse and buggy. Lilly ran to the buggy and jumped up to embrace her Mary Ann. Her mother, however, did not lift her arms, they remained by her side. All she could say was ‘your brother Bertie is dead’. Lilly was only 8 years old when her brother was killed in 1915 – on what would become, ANZAC Day.
John’s mother, Mary Ann—Mary Ann received the ‘Women of Australia’ badge with one star to represent the loss of her beloved son John.
The family also received John's dog tags, pictured below.
Many thanks to Brad Colley, the Great Nephew of John Albert Woods, for sharing this story and ephemera with us.