John (Jack) Woodbridge

Village memories: Derehams Lane, Loudwater, in 1915 (picture from SWOP website)

John (Jack) Woodbridge

Private 16344 5th Battalion, Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry
Killed in action on 25th September 1915 aged 25
Remembered with Honour at Ypres Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium Grave reference panel 37&39

John (also known as Jack) was born in June 1889 to James and Sarah in Horsemoor Lane, Penn Sreet. The 1901 census shows the family still living in Penn street with four daughters and two sons. Jame's occupation was listed as farmer although he had previously been a platelayer. No family details or the address had changed by 1911. By the time of the outbreak of war the family had moved to Derehams Lane in Loudwater. John enlisted in the 5th Battalion of the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry at Oxford and the Battalion was sent to France where Private Woodbridge joined them in October 1914. The Battalion was attached to the 14th Light Division in the 42nd Brigade.
Private Woodbridge was killed in action aged 25 on 25th September 1915 during the Second Attack on Bellewaarde.
The attack on the 25th September on the trenches held by the Germans in the vicinity of Hooge and Bellewaarde Lake was made with the object of distracting attention from a "full-dress" attempt to break through at Loos, away to the southward, and to contain the enemy's reserves. Like so many similar attacks, it entailed heavy losses to the attacking infantry. Despite the gallantry of the men, the attack failed to get home and there seems little doubt that the Germans were prepared for it. In a few short hours the Battalion had lost 2 officers and 26 other ranks killed, and 6 officers and 222 other ranks wounded or missing presumed dead.
A report on the death of Private Woodbridge in the South Bucks Free Press dated 22nd October 1915 stated: Private Woodbridge was killed in action in the memorable encounter on September 25th when the Oxfordshires lost a considerable number of men killed and wounded. The deceased who was 25 years old had been in France for about 11 months. His letters home were always of a cheerful and hopeful character, and he was looking forward to the time when he would be able to join the family circle. Communications received by the sorrowing parents testify to the noble part the late Private Woodbridge played in the European struggle, and that his death is mourned by his officer and all the men of his company. Private Woodbridge is remembered with honour at the Ypres Menin gate memorial.

Additional information taken from the Buckinghamshire Remembers website.

Name John H (Jack) WOODBRIDGE
Rank/Number Private 16344
Regiment Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry 5th Battalion
Enlisted Oxford
Age/Date of death 25 25 Sep 1915
How died/Theatre of war Killed in action France & Flanders
Last known address Loudwater
Cemetery Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ieper, Belgium
Grave or Memorial Reference Panel 37 & 39
Location of memorial Loudwater
Date/Place of birth c1890 Amersham or Maidenhead, Berks
Date/Place of baptism
Pre-war occupation of Casualty
Parents James A & Ellen Woodbridge
Parent's occupation platelayer on railway
Parentsí Address (last known) Dereham Lane, Loudwater
Wifeís Address (last known)
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