AS the president of bus to Bradford - a group of City fans commemorating former players who served in the First World War - David Whithorn has come across many moving accounts of those who lost their lives in the conflict.

But this story, behind a lonely grave at Nab Wood Cemetery, is particularly sad.

Writes David: “Some days, unexpected events of 100 years ago can suddenly smash you apart...this happened to me recently with this photograph on our ‘Bus to Bradford’ page.

The name Wood is a common one. When a friend posted that there were Woods in his family and he would like to discover more I set to and found that 4467 Pte John Benjamin Wood served with the 3/6th WYR (Bradford Territorials). He had no medals and few records. He died at Clipstone Camp, having joined up in June 1915, aged 44, he would never likely serve abroad.

He had been born in 1872 and was a ‘boot repairer’, I suspect, given his age, he would have been of use to the reserve battalion in mending the boots of younger soldiers in training. John B had married in 1893, he and his wife had 13 children, but only six remained by the 1911 Census. The family lived in the Bolton Woods area of Bradford.

I made details of all the children, noting that their eldest surviving son, John William, had been born in 1895. This raised the possibility that John W might have served in the war too - a rare ‘father and son’.

Indeed there are four John William Woods listed in the Bradford Roll of Honour, but one had an address of Bolton Woods, Bradford, the same as John B. He was 16/274 of the 18th WYR - 2nd Bradford Pals. He enlisted in February 1915. There was every indication from the record that John W survived the war.

After more digging I went on the Medal Roll to discover where he might have gone after the Pals were disbanded. John W only ever served with the 18th WYR. Then came the ‘sledgehammer’...the final column said he died on April 28, 1916. My world fell apart. He was one of the first casualties of the Bradford Pals.

I kept going. From their war diary, it said two 2nd Pals were killed on April 28, 1916, they were newly in the line and being subjected to shellfire and trench mortars. Neither were named, but (it turned out) one was 18/68 Pte James Fry, the other 18/174 Pte John William Wood. James had died on the spot and is buried at Sucrerie Military Cemetery. John W. had been badly wounded and was taken back to 94 Field Ambulance where he died and is buried in Bertrancourt Military Cemetery.

And the news came back to just a month after his son’s death on May 30, his father John Benjamin Wood also died at Clipstone Camp. The newspaper covering his funeral at Nab Wood Cemetery stated John B died of ‘pneumonia’. Forty members of the battalion band, his CSM and two sergeants attended his funeral.

I think today we would not read ‘pneumonia’ but a ‘broken heart’. Heaven knows what became of his widow, Mary Ellen, and their other children.

RIP Ptes John Benjamin and John William Wood of the West Yorkshire Regt - today you are remembered by many.”

It would be lovely indeed if someone local to Nab Wood could make sure this grave was tidy, maybe with some flowers...