Woodd A B P

Alec Bethune Peter Woodd, Lt 13th/10th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment

Died of wounds 25th August, 1918


Alec Bethune Peter Woodd was born in Hampstead, London, on 2nd March 1888. He was the son of Arthur Bethune Woodd, a wine merchant, and Alice Augusta Peache. Alice was herself the daughter of a Church of England minister, the Reverend Arthur Peache, who baptised his grandson at St Mary’s church in Kilburn on April 25th when he was some seven weeks old.

Alec passed his early years in some comfort, living at a large residence known as ‘The Hill’ in Hampstead, with his mother and two siblings, his sister Ursula and his brother Peter, both younger than himself. At the time of the census in 1901, his father was away from home in pursuit of his business, but his mother Alice had the company and support of her brother as well as that of the four household servants.

Alec was educated at Heddon Court, Hampstead and at Repton School. He gained a BA degree at Oxford University in 1911 and was awarded his MA in 1914. Having spent some time at West Hartlepool, he attended the Leeds Clergy School and was ordained Deacon in York Minster, becoming Curate of Stokesley on 4th October 1914, two months after the outbreak of war. Amongst other duties, Woodd seems to have run the choir, as a photograph from about 1916 shows him in their company. (See below) .

He remained in post until November, 1916, which must have been a very dark time for Britain; the truly catastrophic scale of the losses in the Somme Offensive had by this time become apparent, and homes all over the country were mourning their fallen fathers and sons - no fewer than 14 in Stokesley alone.

The young curate joined the Officer Cadet Corps, and the London Gazette recorded his elevation to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the 13th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment in March, 1917. (The Book of Remembrance says 16th Battalion). Lieutenant Woodd was later attached to the 10th Battalion and drafted to France, arriving on 21st May, 1918, while the outcome of the war still hung in the balance. The Stokesley Book of Remembrance contains several fulsome tributes to his character and to his courage, including one from the Archbishop of York. Memories of him include the story of an incident when, having ordered his men to shelter from heavy shelling, he went out alone to finish the task of repairing the wire of their defences.

There is some confusion over the exact date of Lieutenant Woodd’s death, as his awards record contains altered information, 26th August having been substituted for 24th, (this latter being the date given by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission). However, probate records for his effects (£1139 16s 6d) state that he died on 25th August, administration being granted to his father, then of Milford on Sea, Hampshire who was at that time a Lieutenant - Commander in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve.

A photograph of Alec Bethune Peter Woodd still hangs in the vestry of St Peter and St Paul parish church, Stokesley.

Lieutenant Woodd was 30 years old when he fell. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal and his body lies in Plot B3 of Fienvillers British Cemetery, department of Somme, France.

APB Woodd with Stokesley Church Choir (c.1916)


There is a photograph of Lt Woodd's final resting place on the website of the War Graves Photographic Project at

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