Harold Henry Woodward (1878-1949)

WW1 Primitive Methodist Chaplain

Born in York, as a boy he served four years before the mast, and was shipwrecked in the North Sea. At the age of 20, under the influence of Joseph Odell, he became a local preacher. He served four years as an evangelist, after which he was accepted as a ‘special case’ by Conference to train for the ministry. He spent two years at Hartley College before becoming a Primitive Methodist minister in 1908.

In 1915 he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a private (no. 82136), but as the need for chaplains grew he was appointed a chaplain on 9 December 1916.  Along with a group of new Primitive Methodist chaplains, including Arthur Gray, he crossed into France where he served with great distinction.

He was wounded three times, and on the recommendation of his comrades, was awarded the Military Cross, because of his insistence on going ‘over the top’ with his men.

However the war took its toll, and in 1920 he was invalided out of the army. He never recovered from the effects of gas and his wounds, and his ‘physical fabric disintegrated’. For the last seven years of his life he was a ‘frail but radiant invalid, undergoing several operations and suffering great pain.’

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