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Maurice Christopher WOOD

Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Lieut 3006 24/1/1892 23y 25 Jan 1916 Dec 1919 1

Lieutenant Maurice Christopher Wood (1892-1980)


Family Background

Maurice Christopher and Cyril Norman Wood were the third and fourth sons of Charles Frederick and Ellen Elizabeth (née Dodwell) Wood. Both served in the 1st AIF – Maurice in the 41st Infantry Battalion and Cyril in the 5th Light Horse Regiment.

Their parents were English-born, and married in St Mary’s Church, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane in January 1886. At that point Charles was a farmer at Tingalpa. Later he owned and operated a steam laundry. The family lived in Gregory Terrace, Spring Hill and then Free Street, Kelvin Grove, and attended Saint Andrew’s Church on the corner of Ann and Creek Streets in Brisbane. 

Early Life

Maurice was born in Bradley Street, Spring Hill, Brisbane on 24 January 1892. Late January was often an eventful time in his life – in that part of the month he was born (24th), commenced in the public service (23rd), enlisted in the 1st AIF (25th) and died (21st).

Maurice attended a State School, passed the Queensland public service examination and commenced his public service career on 23 January 1907 as a messenger in the Home Secretary’s Department. In August 1909 he was a clerk in the court of petty sessions office in Brisbane, and for two years (1910-11) a clerk with the police court. He then returned to petty sessions in Brisbane for three and a half years before being posted to the petty sessions office in Kingaroy in April 1915.

Enlistment During World War I

When Maurice enlisted on 25 January 1916 he was aged 24, 5’5.75” tall (167 cms), with brown eyes and hair, a medium complexion, and weighed 133 lbs (60.3 kg). He had been a 2nd Lieutenant in the 8th Infantry of the militia for two years and in the 1st AIF was initially made a Sergeant. He applied for a commission on 24 April 1916 and after four weeks of officer training at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Maurice was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 16 June 1916.

On 15 July 1916 Maurice married Townsville-born Ellen Sydney Burrill at the home of her parents – customs officer William Robert Burrill and Edith Jane née Armstrong – in Bowen Bridge Road, Brisbane, with Presbyterian rites. Maurice and Ellen lived in Melton Road, Nundah and had two daughters – Doris Marion and Edith Hazel. 

Maurice embarked on the Wiltshire in Sydney 7 February 1917 as part of the 7th reinforcements for the 41st Infantry Battalion. In England he underwent further training and was taken on strength with the 41st in Belgium on 21 August 1917.

The 41st was engaged in the Battle of Broodseinde in early October 1917, slogging forward in rain and mud to secure its objective, and repulsing determined counter-attacks. The Battalion then rotated between rear areas and the front line for the rest of 1917 and the early part of 1918. On 22 November 1917 Maurice was promoted to Lieutenant. 

When the German army launched a major offensive in March 1918, Maurice’s unit was one of those rushed to the south to halt the advance before the key railway junction of Amiens.

The Allies commenced their own major offensive in August 1918 but Maurice was on leave in England at the time of the successful initial attack. He did return from leave on 25 August and take part in the subsequent rolling back of the German Army to the Hindenberg Line, and then the breaching of those defences along the St Quentin Canal in late September and the start of October 1918.

Maurice returned to Australia on the Kanowna – on which he was the sports officer -  embarking on 28 August 1919. In December his appointment was formally terminated.

Later Years

On 1 October 1922 Maurice was appointed as prosecutions officer in the Land and Income Tax area of the Queensland Treasury Department and was in that role until at least 1930. Records showing the full length of his public service career and what positions he may have held subsequently, do not seem to be available.

Maurice was in the War Veterans Home in Caboolture in 1977.


Maurice died at the age of 87 on 21 January 1980 in the Kenmore Repatriation Hospital. His ashes were interred, with Presbyterian rites, at the Albany Creek crematorium.


Select Bibliography
• Australian War Memorial
• Electoral rolls
• Queensland births, marriages and deaths registers
• Queensland Blue Books (State Library of Queensland) 
• Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 26704, ID 26705.
• National Archives of Australia – service records
• Bou, Jean, Light Horse: A history of Australia’s mounted arm, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, 2009.
• Gullett, HS, ‘The Australian Imperial force in Sinai and Palestine’ volume vii of Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1923.
• MacGibbon, FW, The Forty First, Australian Commonwealth Military Forces 1919.
• Scott, Ernest, ‘Australia During the War’ volume xi of Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1936, pp94-97.
• Wilson, LC, and Wetherall, H, History of the 5th Light Horse Regiment (Australian Imperial Force), A. Green, Brisbane, 2008.
• Telegraph (Brisbane) 15 April 1915, p10.

Compiled by Ian Carnell, Brisbane, February 2016.



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