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Wood, Kenneth Berridge - MC
Rank : Major
Army Number : 2547
Unit : 4th Bn, 1/4th Bn
Educated at King Henry VIII School (Coventry) and at Wyggeston School (Leicester), ‘Ken’ Wood was a rugby union centre who played for Stoneygate, one game for Nottingham in 1907/08, and 121 times for Leicester FC between 1906 and 1919, scoring 33 tries and 4 drop goals for points total of 115. He made his Leicester debut on 13.10.1906 at Welford Road against Bristol. He played in two Midlands Counties Cup-winning sides and in 1908 represented Midlands and East Midlands Counties in their win against Australia. He was also a member of the 1910 British Lions tour to South Africa and played in the First and Third Tests. He was thus one of a small band of players who played for the British Lions but not for their country.
He worked as a mining engineer in Nourse Mine Ltd in Johannesburg, and at the outbreak of the First World War he enlisted in 4th Bn The Leicestershire Regiment on 1.9.1914, and he entered France in 1/4th Bn on 2.3.1915. From the rank of Private he was commissioned into 1/4th Bn on 17.8.1915. He was seconded for service in The Machine Gun Corps on 22.2.1916, and promoted Lt on 1.7.1917. He was awarded the M.C. as a Temp Lt while attached to 29th Bn MGC (L.G. 1.1.1918), in which Corps he was promoted Acting Major on 4.3.1918 and was awarded a Mention in Despatches (L.G. 8.7.1919). He returned to The Leicestershire Regiment on 18.2.1920, and was disembodied on 28.4.1920, though he was on the books of 4th Bn in April 1921. He relinquished his commission and was granted the rank of Major on 20.9.1921.
He later emigrated to South Africa where he became a manager at St Michael’s Gold Mine in Johannesburg. He died there in 1968, aged 82 years.
There is a paper file on him in The National Archives at Kew (file ref WO 374/76410).
In 2018 the British Lions issued ceremonial caps to all players who had played for the British Lions or to their surviving next of kin. Ken's cap (No 192) was presented to his nephew.
In 2018 (the 130th anniversary of the first Lions match) the British Lions rugby organisation decided to issue ceremonial caps to everyone who had ever played for the British Lions and, where deceased, to their surviving senior next of kin. In excess of 900 very ornate embroidered caps in a presentation boxes were issued, including Cap No. 190 one to the only surviving relative (a nephew) of Kenneth Wood.
This page was last updated by MKG on 25.3.2019.
Date of Birth : 6.8.1885
Place of Birth : St Peter's, Leicester
Date of Death : 1968
Place of Death : Johannesburg, South Africa
Civil Occupation : Manager of a gold mine
Period of Service : 1914-21
Conflicts : WW1
Places Served : France
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