Able Seaman Joseph Wood

Able Seaman Joseph Wood, Royal Navy. He died aboard H.M.S. “Surprise” on 23rd December 1917 , aged 19 and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. He had been born in Coldingham and was the son of George and the stepson of Elizabeth of Horndean and Whitsome.  He was working as a farm servant when he enlisted in April 1916. “Surprise” was an “M” Class destroyer and was lost in a German minefield near the Maas Light Vessel off Rotterdam, Holland. The destroyer of 910 tons had been launched at the Scotstoun yard on the Clyde in 1916. She and a sister ship H.M.S. “Torrent” had been escorting a convoy when they strayed into a new minefield. “Torrent” hit a mine and sank with only 7 survivors.  ” Surprise” remained in the area searching for men in the water when she also struck a mine and sank in three minutes. 54 men died with 49 survivors.

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