Research for the following post has been completed by Sophie Weston, a work experience pupil from Ounsdale High School.
William was born in Wolverhampton in 1895, the son of James and Sarah Woodward. In 1901, he was living with his parents at 4 Herbert Street, Wolverhampton, along with siblings Ellen and Albert E. His mother, Sarah, died in 1911. The family were at the same address in 1911, and William had an additional two siblings Tomas and Ada.
An article appeared in the Express & Star on 20 April 1915, stating that two soldiers had called at the offices of the newspaper, both having been injured abroad and were at home recuperating. One of them (unnamed) apparently said:
I would like a shell to drop in Dudley street on a Sunday night, or at Molineux grounds during the interval in a football match, not to hurt anybody, of course, but only to frighten them. It would waken some of them up, and they would begin to realise perhaps what is going on out there.”
The other soldier was Private William Woodward of the Worcestershire Regiment, whose address was 4 Herbert Street. I have not been able to confirm his service number, as there are a few men in that regiment by that name. William carried with him a bullet-torn and blood-stained book, which had saved his life. He had been involved in the Battle of the Aisne and was on his way to Bethune on 13 October, when a piece of shrapnel struck him, tearing away the muscles of his right arm. As he fell, a sniper bullet hit him on the right side of the chest, passing all the way through his pay book and the “soldier’s small book” (which consisted of about 30 pages) before hitting his body.
Without a service number I have been unable to confirm further details of William’s military service or his life.