Wood, William Herbert (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 9959
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 90, Number Of Items 3
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British officer served with Machine Gun Corps in GB, Palestine and on Western Front, 1916-1918

Content description

REEL 1: Background in Huddersfield, 1897-1915: education; family; question of enlisting before 18th birthday; commissioned through Inns of Court OTC, London. Aspects of training as machine gun officer in GB, 1915-1916: description of basic training in London and Berkhamstead; accommodation; problem of catching pneumonia; commissioned as machine gun officer and attached to Essex Regt; story of formation of Machine Gun Corps; question of authority over more experienced men; draft leave, 1/1916; attitude to overseas service; story of having to buy uniform and clothes. Recollections of operations with Machine Gun Corps in Palestine, 1916-1918: description of journey to Egypt via Gibraltar and Malta aboard the Arcadian; threat of submarines and lifeboat drill; recreational activities aboard the Arcadian; accommodation and food; description of arrival in Alexandria and entrainment to base camp at Qantara; question of role in Palestine campaign; description of base camp at Qantara; role in reserve during 2nd Battle of Gaza, 1917; opinion of General Murray; opinion of Turkish troops; comments on role of Allenby and T E Lawrence in 3rd Battle of Gaza. REEL 2 Continues: further comments of role of T E Lawrence in 3rd Battle of Gaza; reputation of Lawrence; opinion of Allenby and question of morale; description of role of machine gun team during 3rd Battle of Gaza; memory of Turkish POWs; comparison of British and Turkish artillery; moved to Jaffa and methods of transportation; description of terrain; opinion of wire netting for roads and railway extensions; question of water supplies and rationing; story of return to Alexandria and problem of septic foot; reason for not eating Jaffa oranges; opinion of rations; communications with home; problem of centipedes and scorpions; problem of mosquitoes and use of nets; state of health and problem of sores; posted to France, 3/1918, and description of trenches; comparison of Palestine and Western Front; moved to Somme area and role in pursuit of retreating Germans, summer 1918; story of going over top and attacking objectives in Peronne area; question of confusion of trench lines; story of losing eye and damage to optic nerve; medical treatment and reaction to losing eye. REEL 3 Continues: further comments on medical treatment and problem of losing sight in other eye; discharged and question of pension; attitude to loss of sight; memory of Armistice, 11/11/1918; memory of death of friend on Somme; attitude to arrival of American troops; comparison of British and German machine guns; attitude to war and military life; attitude to conscientious objectors and reflections on necessity of war

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