Nellie Whiting 1897-1963

Parents: William Whiting and Elizabeth Davy.(1)
Born: 17th May 1897 in Haverhill.(1,10)
Baptised: ?
Married: Ronald Henry Wood, 21, bachelor, soldier, of 57 Burton End, son of Henry Wood (deceased), stable man, on 26th February 1920 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill. Witnessed by H F Thake and Alice Dyson.(2,3)
Children: Ivy Olive Wood b.1921, Ronald Henry W Wood b.1922, Douglas Brian Gerald Wood b.1924
Died: 1963 in the Newmarket District(5)

Bio: Nellie was born in 1897(1) in Haverhill, although a baptism record cannot be found for her. On the 1901 census, she is aged 3 living at 57 Burton End, Haverhill, with her parents and younger sister Nelly. Her father is working as a horseman on a farm.

The 1911 census sees the family at the same address, but there are now five children. Alice, 17, is working as a machinist at a cloth factory (almost certainly Gurteens) along with her mother. Nellie, 13, is present along with other siblings Ivy, 9, and Elsie May, 3, and a brother, John William, 6.

On 26th February 1920, Nellie married Ronald Henry Wood, a soldier. They were both living with Nellie's parents at the time. On the marriage entry(3), Ronald's father is given as Henry Wood, a deceased stable man. A family page on Ancestry suggests he was actually born Ronald Henry Moss on 7th October 1897 in Shirley, near Croydon, the son of Henry William Moss and Florence Elizabeth Winter (8).

Nellie's father is referred to as John Whiting, Farmer, however we can be sure from the address given that this is a clerical error and she was in fact the daughter of William Whiting. Also, we have Nellie's sister Alice (who had married Ernest Dyson in 1918) as a witness.

We can see from birth registers that Nellie and Ronald had a daughter Ivy Olive in the Risbridge district in 1921 and then at some point thereafter Ronald was posted abroad on service. The couple had a son, Ronald, on 2nd October 1922(10). It looks like Nellie and her daughter went abroad too, because we see an entry for them on an incoming passenger list in 1931. They were returning from Bombay, now with a young family.

The birth certificate of son Douglas Brian Gerald Wood, kindly made available to view on Ancestry, shows that he was born on 9th June 1924 at Ahmednagar, India. It also reveals that his father Ronald Henry Wood was Sergeant no.6190939 in the 2nd Battalion Middlesex Regiment, based at 2nd Battalion command in Ahmednagar.

Incoming passenger lists to the UK reveal that Nellie, Ronald, and their children arrived back in England from Bombay on the 5th June 1931. They had travelled aboard the Macedonia, and their home address is given as 57 Burton End, Haverhill.(4) Ronald's occupation is given as soldier.

Looking at Medal lists for the First World War(9) shows a Ronald H Wood who was a Private and Acting Corporal in both 13th & 18th Battalions Middlesex Infantry, No. G/87526, as well as being attached to the 938th Area Empoyment Company Labour Corps. It is likely that this was him, considering in 1920 army service numbers were reissued. His attachment to the Labour Corps suggests he may have been wounded and considered unfit for front-line service at some point.

We know Nellie and Ronald's first child was born in the Risbridge district in 1921, and that there were two children who returned to England from India with them in 1931 who appear to have been born abroad, one of whom was Douglas Wood.

It seems the family returned to India. It was noted in the South West Suffolk Echo of 19th May 1934 in a funeral notice for Nellie's mother Elizabeth that one of her daughters was unable to attend because they were in India.

Ronald is still shown as a Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant in the Hyderabad Rifles on the Indian Army Unattached list in 1938
(8) before returning to England just before the Second World War. The 1939 Register(10) reveals Ronald is living with Nellie at 18 Helions Park Avenue, Haverhill, where he is working as an accounts clerk.The register notes that he has volunteered to assist in Air Raid Precautions if necessary. His birth-date is also confirmed. Sons Ronald and Douglas are also present in the household. Ronald junior is a textile worker, and Douglas is an errand boy for a butcher.

Nellie Wood died in 1963 in the Newmarket district (of which Haverhill was a part). Ronald Henry Wood died in the same district in 1980.(7)


(1) Birth Register. 2nd Quarter 1897, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 741
(2) Marriage Register. 1st Quarter 1920, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 1453
(3) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Ref: 578/4/19
(4) UK, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960. Source Citation: Class: BT26; Piece: 964; Item: 8.
(5) Death Register. 1st Quarter 1963, Newmarket District, Volume 4b Page 1505
(6) British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
(7) Death Register. 4th Quarter 1980, Newmarket District, Volume 10 Page 2840
(8) Amey's of Essex Family Tree.
(9) WW1 Service Medal and Award Rolls, Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own), Piece 1515.
(10) 1939 Register, Ref: RG101/6661D/010/7 Letter Code: TYDD ,