John Leslie Wood was born in Clayton on 6 March 1893 the son of wool merchant Harry Wood and his wife Mary.The first we read of his war is on 12 February 1915 when it is reported that he has been promoted to Lance Corporal.We learn much more from a report published in the Shipley Times & Express on 6 April 1917:“The many friends of Lieut J Leslie Wood will offer hearty congratulations on his having been awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous bravery in action.“Lieut Wood, who is the eldest son
of Mr Harry Wood, of Hillcrest, Clayton and a nephew of Captain Moorhouse, recruiting officer at the Halifax Barracks, is the first Clayton man to win a distinction since the outbreak of war and his work fully entitles him to this proud distinction.“Towards the end of September, 1914, he joined one of the Pal Battalions formed in Bradford and after serving for some time in the ranks as a private he was given a commission in another West Yorkshire Regiment formed in Bradford.“He first saw active service in
Egypt and was then transferred to France where he has taken part in some of the severest fighting but fortunately so far has come out unscathed.“He was in the great July offensive last year. A few months ago he was gazetted a full lieutenant.“Quite recently his regiment had some rather stiff fighting and for twelve consecutive hours Lieut Wood and his company were on duty, during which time they managed to keep open the lines of communication thereby performing valuable service.“For this feat they received the
thanks of the commanding officer and Headquarters staff. By his fellow officers and men Lieut Wood is regarded as a fearless officer, cool, courageous and resourceful under fire and the news of his distinction will be especially welcome by them.“Another brother, Sec Lieut Gordon Wood is also on active service in France with another West Yorkshire Regt.”What this report does not tell us is that John suffered from shell shock and that was to have a profound effect 18 years later when his father died and he had business worries.
A painful sensation was caused in Frizinghall on Sunday by the news that Mr John Leslie Wood, a well-known wool merchant and ex-Serviceman, had been found shot in his Bradford office during the afternoon.Mr Wood, who was 42 years of age and a bachelor, resided with his mother at 5 Ashfield Drive, Redburn Road, Shipley.His firm, William Wood and Son, wool merchants, is an old-established family business, founded considerably over a century ago by his great-grandfather on the outskirts of Halifax.He had many friends in the Scottish and other home wool markets which in pursuance of a family tradition which had been carried on unbrokenly for four generations, he visited periodically to make direct purchases.Military CrossDuring the war Mr Wood served with distinction in one of the Bradford Pals Battalions which he joined in 1914 and was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in 1917.He had during recent years interested himself in the welfare of ex-Servicemen and set aside a
room at his Clarence Street premises for use as a recreational centre by unemployed members of his old battalion.With the assistance of friends he entertained a party of these unemployed men to dinner last Christmas.An old boy of the Bradford Grammar School, Mr Wood lived in Harrogate for some years before taking up residence at Shipley and was connected with Christ Church.Younger brother KIAHis father, Mr Harry Wood, a well-known sportsman and wool merchant, died last December. His younger brother, Lieut Harry Gordon Wood, was killed in action in 1917,The inquest was held in Bradford on Tuesday. A six-chambered revolver of the Webley Army service type, which was found near the body, was exhibited in court.Sybil Ramsden Wood, sister of the deceased, said that her brother had shown periodic fits of depression and he was worried about business matters.Her father died in December last and since then the deceased had carried on the business which
had been a very great strain upon him.Detective T E Hoyland gave evidence of the discovery of the body. He found the premises in Clarence Street securely fastened, he said, and on looking through the window saw the deceased’s hand and broke a window.There was a bullet wound in the centre of the forehead and a Webley revolver on the floor.Dr A W Pritchard, Deputy City Police Surgeon, said the bullet was found in the base of the skull. It compared with the unspent ones.The Coroner, Mr J G Hutchinson, returning a verdict of ‘suicide while temporarily insane.’ Said the case was one of the saddest he had ever had before him.Shell shockedMr Wood had been shell-shocked in the war. That had apparently affected his mind. He had then been troubled by losing his father and the business had got the better of him.The funeral took place at Scholemoor Cemetery, Bradford, on Thursday, the Rev J B Allen of Frizinghall, assisted by the Rev G A Harding, Vicar of Clayton, conducting the service.Shipley Times & Express 13 July 1935