​ The very fine Second World War Burma operations along the Irrawaddy at Singu night of the 14th to 15th April 1945 Artillery Observation Post Operative’s ‘Immediate’ Military Medal group awarded to Sergeant W.J. Woods, 348th Battery, 136th (1st West Lancashire) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, who when going forward into an attack on Singu North with “B” Coy of the 1st Battalion, 8th Gurkha Rifles, in the face of continual sniping and fire from grenade dischargers, rescued vital signalling equipment from a exposed position in full view of th

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The very fine Second World War Burma operations along the Irrawaddy at Singu night of the 14th to 15th April 1945 Artillery Observation Post Operative’s ‘Immediate’ Military Medal group awarded to Sergeant W.J. Woods, 348th Battery, 136th (1st West Lancashire) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, who when going forward into an attack on Singu North with  “B” Coy of the 1st Battalion, 8th Gurkha Rifles, in the face of continual sniping and fire from grenade dischargers, rescued vital signalling equipment from a exposed position in full view of the enemy, which had been left behind when seeking cover, and thus by his gallantry, allowed fire to be brought down on the enemy.  

Group of 5: Military Medal, GVI 1st type bust; (902849 BMBR. W. WOODS. R.A.); 1939-1945 Star; Burma Star; Defence Medal; War Medal; Efficiency Medal, GVI 1st type bust, Territorial suspension; (902849 GNR. W. WOODS. M.M. R.A.). Mounted swing style for wear.
Condition: Good Very Fine.

Together with the Buckingham Palace forwarding letter for the Military Medal, bearing typed details for: ‘902849 Bomber. W. Woods, M.M., Royal Regiment of Artillery’; four original wartime period photographs of the recipient in uniform, two showing him wearing the ribbon of the Military Medal; also a American Legion Official Membership Card for 1964, this made out to William Woods when at Casper, Wyoming.

William James Woods was born on 17th January 1920, and enlisted into the Territorial Army as a Gunner (No.902833205) with the Royal Artillery on 28th April 1939, being posted to the 87th Field Regiment, and then transferred to the 348th Battery of the 136th (1st West Lancashire) Field Regiment on 2nd June 1939.
Embodied on the outbreak of the Second World War, Woods then saw service in India from 14th January 1943, and was present in Burma fighting the Japanese as part of the 7th Indian Division. His regiment was heavily engaged in the Battle of the Admin Box in 1944, and Woods was appointed to Acting Lance Bombardier on 27th November 1944, and then to Acting Bombardier on 30th March 1945.
It was the during operations along the Irrawaddy at Singu on the night of the 14th to 15th April 1945 that Woods performed the act of bravery which led to his award of the Military Medal, an immediate award which was recommended on 26th April 1945, for his service as one of an Artillery Observation Post party which accompanied “B” Coy of the 1st Battalion, 8th Gurkha Rifles in their infiltration into Singu North.

The recommendation reads as follows: ‘At Singu on the east bank of the Irrawaddy on 15th April 1945 Bombardier Woods of 348th Battery, 136th Field Regiment R.A. was one of an Artillery Observation Post party which accompanied “B” Coy on their infiltration into Singu North on night 14th/15th April 45. The Coy and attached troops had been attacked at dawn in the area of some Pagodas on the North East of the village and had been forced to seek cover within the perimeter provided by a small wall which encircled one of the Pagodas. In seeking immediate cover from the sudden attack the Artillery party were obliged to leave some heavy equipment, including their “22” wireless set, outside the wall. The Japanese were sniping continually and using grenade dischargers from the edge of the village some 50 yards away. The sniping which was exceedingly accurate killed and wounded several of the men who had been replying to the Jap fire. During a lull in the firing Bombardier Woods asked for permission to scale the wall in full view of the Jap position, in order to recover the equipment which was lying on the other side. Bombardier Woods leaped over the wall and in full view of the enemy position in the village succeeded in bringing in all the signal equipment belonging to the Observation Post party, thus enabling fire to be brought down on the enemy. By volunteering for and carrying out this act of gallantry Bombardier Woods displayed the very highest courage and devotion to duty.’

Woods’ ‘immediate’ award of the Military Medal was published in the London Gazette for 20th September 1945, he having been promoted to Bombardier back on 28th June 1945, and appointed to Acting Lance Sergeant on 15th July 1945. Woods was subsequently appointed to Acting Sergeant on 19th December 1945, and posted home from India on 1st March 1946. Release to the Army Reserve on 5th June 1946, Woods then subsequently re-enlisted into the Territorial Army with the Royal Artillery on 29th April 1953, and was posted to the 359th Medium Regiment, before being discharged at his own request on 11th October 1961. Woods ultimately moved to America, where he settled in Casper, Wyoming, and became a member of the local American Legion circa 1964.


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