Rifleman Donald William Collins Woods

Regiment:  1/28th Rifle Brigade (formerly Royal Sussex)
Service No:   48460 (formerly 5770)
Date and place of birth: 1st qtr 1884 in Midhurst, Sussex
Date and place of death:   27 September 1918 in France and Flanders

Family background

On 26 December 1884, and together with his brothers Percy and Harold, Donald William Collins Woods was baptised at Midhurst Parish Church. He was the fourth son of William and Angelina Woods of Knockhundred Row, Midhurst. William, born in Midhurst in 1842, was a pork butcher who had taken over the family business in Knockhundred Row from his mother by 1871. William had married Angelina Collins, born in Elsted, Sussex in 1846 at Lambeth, London in 1872. She was the sister of the inn keeper at The Three Horseshoes in Elsted.

At the 1901 census, Donald Woods (17) a draper’s assistant was living at Knockhundred Row. Angelina Woods (54) had been widowed since 1897 and was running the pork butcher’s shop with assistance from Percy (26) and Harold (24): Herbert (28) was no longer living there.

In 1911, the business was still operating as before, but Donald Woods, now aged 27, single, working as a draper’s assistant, was boarding at 2 The Folley, South Street, Epsom, Surrey.

Angelina Woods died in 1913, aged 67, in Midhurst.

Military service

Donald Woods enlisted in Epsom. He served as a Private with the Royal Sussex Regiment (5770), the Royal West Kent Regiment (17495) and the Rifle Brigade (48460). During WW1, the Regiment was able to form a total of twenty eight battalions, in addition to their pre-war establishment of two regular, two militia and two territorial battalions. The Regiment was awarded 52 Battle Honours and 10 VCs during the course of the war, with a total loss of 11,575 lives.

Donald Woods was awarded Victory and British medals.

Death and commemoration

He was killed in action 27 September 1918 in France and Flanders. He is buried in Quarry Wood Cemetery, Sains-les-Marquoin, grave II.B.7. He is commemorated on Midhurst War Memorial, Memorial Panels in Midhurst Parish Church and on the board in Midhurst Rother College.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project