Frederick George Woods was born on 17th November, 1899 at the Shorncliffe Army Base near Folkestone, Kent. His parents were William Henry and Annie Elizabeth (nee Martin) Woods, who had married on 10th December 1891 on Portsea Island, Portsmouth.
Frederick and his siblings were born and brought up in different parts of the world as their father served in the army for many years as a musician. Fortunately, the army records of Frederick’s father are available and give much information on the family.
In 1881, William Henry Woods enlisted in the army in Roorkee, a town in the far north of India, at the age of “14 years and 2 months”! As he was already in India, it can be assumed that his father was also in the army. He served in the Dorset Regiment, then the Hampshire Regiment, in India, Aden, Malta and Britain. He became a Bandsman at the age of 16, rising to becoming a Bandmaster.
William’s army records give detailed information on his children:
Beatrice Annie born August 1893 in Belfast
William Charles born April 1895 in Belfast
John Thomas Martin born October 1897 in Malta
Frederick George born November 1899 at Shorncliffe
Godfrey James born July 1906 in Dorchester
By the time William left the army in 1908 he had served for almost 27 years. He then enlisted in the Territorial Force of the Hampshire Regiment in 1909 for a further 4 years as a musician, serving ‘at home’ in Britain. When WW1 began, William was sent to India in October 1914, not being demobilized until February 1919. He left the army with long service and good conduct medals.
However, William returned to the army in 1920 and was accepted as a Bandmaster in the Territorials at the age of 53. He finally left the army in 1923.
1914 Wife Annie living at 6 Wilson Rd, Portsmouth
Home address 26 Nuns Rd 21.3.19
Died 11 June 1944 at 26 Nuns Rd aged 77
Informant: B G Marcham, 26 Nuns Rd
His parents were living in 26, Nuns Road when the war broke out. He was enlisted in the Bedfordshire Regiment. By this stage in the war, there was not much link between where a man enlisted and the territory linked to the name of his new regiment. Serving soldiers were frequently attached to different regiments as the war progressed. He was allocated to the 2nd Garrison Battalion of the Bedfordshires. They were based in India, and that is where Frederick spent the war, with no record of his unit being in combat. He died of Malaria on 6th December 1918.