Oliver Woodward

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Oliver Holmes Woodward

Captain Oliver Woodward c. 1917
Born(1885-10-08)8 October 1885
Tenterfield, New South Wales
Died24 August 1966(1966-08-24) (aged 80)
Hobart, Tasmania
Allegiance Australia
Service/branchAustralian Army
Years of service1915 – 1919
RankCaptain
Unit1st Australian Tunneling Company
Battles/wars

World War I

AwardsCompanion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Military Cross & Two Bars
Mentioned in Despatches
Other workPresident of the Australian Mining and Metals Association (1952 – 1954)
 
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Oliver Holmes Woodward

Captain Oliver Woodward c. 1917
Born(1885-10-08)8 October 1885
Tenterfield, New South Wales
Died24 August 1966(1966-08-24) (aged 80)
Hobart, Tasmania
Allegiance Australia
Service/branchAustralian Army
Years of service1915 – 1919
RankCaptain
Unit1st Australian Tunneling Company
Battles/wars

World War I

AwardsCompanion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Military Cross & Two Bars
Mentioned in Despatches
Other workPresident of the Australian Mining and Metals Association (1952 – 1954)

Oliver Holmes Woodward CMG, MC & Two Bars (8 October 1885 – 24 August 1966) was an Australian metallurgist, mine manager and soldier noted for his tunneling activities at the Ypres Salient during the First World War.[1]

Contents

Early life

Woodward was born in Tenterfield, New South Wales to a pioneering family of Scottish ancestry who had been among the first settlers in the district. He was educated at public schools and for two years at Newington College (1903–1904).[2]

World War One

Woodward was made an acting Captain on 23 October 1916.[3] On 9 November 1916[4] the company took over tunneling operations under German lines and safeguarded two mines, one (Hill 60) charged with 53,000 pounds (24,000 kg) of explosives and the other (The Caterpillar) with 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg). The mines had been earlier laid by the 3rd Canadian Tunnelling Company. At the start of the Battle of Messines, on the 7th June, 1917, Captain Woodward had the duty of detonating the two mines.

Post-war life

After the war he held many senior positions in the mining industry.

Awards and decorations

Woodward was awarded a Military Cross and Two Bars, for the following three actions:[5]

Le Touquet: 10–11 June 1916. Military Cross; "For conspicuous gallantry and determination when, after repeated attempts under very difficult circumstances, he succeeded in blowing up a ruined house 120 yards from our trenches. This house had been frequently used as an enemy sniper post." [6] The ruined house was known as "The Red House".

Bony: 29 September 1918. Bar to Military Cross; "On September 29th, 1918, at Bony, he was in charge of three sections working on a forward road, under heavy enemy shell and machine-gun fire. Owing to the infantry advance being checked, the position on the forward road became very involved. By his courage and resourcefulness in patrolling the road and organising the work he succeeded in carrying the work forward, thus enabling the subsequent attacks to be carried through. He set a fine example to his men at a time when casualties were heavy and rendered throughout the day very valuable and accurate reports".[7]

Rejet de Beaulieu: 4 November 1918. 2nd Bar to Military Cross; "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on the night of the 3rd/4th November 1918, at Rejet de Beaulieu, when his section was entrusted with the construction of a heavy bridge to carry tanks. The successful completion of this work within five hours after zero was mainly due to his detailed preparations made at very short notice under intense artillery and machine-gun fire".[8]

Depictions in fiction

The 2010 film Beneath Hill 60 is based on his exploits during the First World War with the 1st Australian Tunneling Company. Woodward is played by Brendan Cowell.[9]

References

  1. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
  2. ^ Newington College Register of Past Students 1863-1998 (Syd, 1999) pp 220
  3. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29874. p. 12460. 19 December 1916. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  4. ^ Department of Veterans' Affairs and Board of Studies NSW (December 2010). "Zwarte-Leen, Hill 60". http://www.ww1westernfront.gov.au/zwarte-leen/hill-60.html. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Crumps And Camouflets: Australian Tunnelling Companies on the Western Front"; Damien Finlayson. ISBN 978-0-9806582-5-5
  6. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29684. p. 7443. 25 July 1916. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  7. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31480. p. 9709. 29 July 1919. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  8. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31680. p. 15295. 9 December 1919. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  9. ^ "Beneath hill 60 - Home". The Silence Productions Pty Ltd. http://www.beneathhill60.com.au/index.htm. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 

External links