John Augustus Wood VC

b. 10/06/1818 Fort William, Scotland. d. 23/01/1878 Poona, India.

John Augustus Wood (1818-1878) was born on 10th June 1818 in Fort William, Scotland. At the age of 21, he joined the 20th Bombay Native Infantry (later the 120th Rajputana Infantry) and would serve in the Anglo-Persian War of 1856-57, and would be awarded the Victoria Cross on 3rd August 1860 for his actions in the fore-mentioned war.

John A Wood VC

On 9th December 1856, at Bushire, Persia (now Iran), Captain Wood led the Grenadier Company which was at the head of the assault on the town. He was the first man to step onto the parapet of the fort, where he was instantly attacked by a large number of the garrison. They had sprung upon him from a trench hidden in the parapet itself. These men fired a volley at Wood and the head of the storming party, when only a yard or two away. Although Captain Wood was struck by no less than seven musket balls, he attacked the enemy, killing the enemy leader with his sword, and being closely followed by his men, he overcame all opposition.

Captain Wood’s wounds, though not life-threatening, were very painful and debilitating, which forced him out of service for a while. He sailed to Bombay, India to recuperate from his injuries. He returned to Bushire in February 1857, and spent eight uncomfortable months with the regiment. He finally left Bushire on 28th September embarking on the Melbourne and landed at Bombay on 20th October 1857.

He left the Indian Army as a Brevet Colonel on 12th February 1870 and died on 23rd January 1878 at Poona from “concussion of the brain”. He was buried in St Mary’s Churchyard, Poona. His Victoria Cross is believed to be held by the 2 Rajputana Rifles Museum in India, though this is not confirmed. It has last been seen in public in 1910 when it was sold at auction at Sotheby’s.