Captain Robert WOODWARD
South Wales Borderers
Date of birth: 1878
Date of death: 9 May 1915
Killed in action aged 37
Robert was the eldest son of Robert Woodward JP and Mary J (nee Turner) at Arley Castle.
Commenced Service 5 October 1914 and served in France. He was killed in action at Richebourg l’Avou, Flanders 9 May 1915.
On 13 May Probate was granted to Alfred Chad Turner Woodword (surgeon), effects £11439.
Robert is remembered as an ardent arboriculturist. Paeonia Anomala Subsp veitchii grew wild in Sichuan Province and was introduced to the West from seeds collected at Choni (now Jone) Lamasery in Gansu Province in 1912. Named Woodward’s Peony for the man who first grew it from those seeds, Robert Woodward of Arley Castle who died in action in 1915.
“Also known as the whitty pear or the sorb tree, the true service tree looks very similar to a rowan tree, with the same arrangement of leaves. In the autumn however, the rowan produces clusters of red berries, whilst the true service tree produces pear or apple - like fruits. The orange- brown bark is rough and scaly. The first record of a true service tree in the UK was from the Wyre Forest, Worcestershire, in 1677. The local magistrate was very fond of the tree, and used to hold his magisterial court near it. In April 1862 someone who had been convicted of poaching at one of these courts vented his fury by burning down the tree. Luckily cuttings had previously been taken and were being grown on at nearby Arley Castle. In March 1916, to commemorate the death of Robert Woodward who had lived at Arley Castle and was killed in the First World War, one of the Arley Castle saplings was re-planted where the original Wyre Forest tree had been located“.
Memorial at Worcestershire, Upper Arley - Simple Life, Noble death
“In happy thanksgiving for the simple life and noble death of Captain Robert Woodward, born Dec 1877 MA of Christchurch,Oxford, Barrister at Law, Inner Temple, eldest son of Robert & Mary Woodward of Arley Castle. At the outbreak of the Great War he was gazetted to the S Wales Borderers & joined the 1st Batt. in France March 5. 1915. He gave his life May 9th 1916. Wounded earlier in the day & unable to carry arms he led his men into battle & fell in front of the enemy trenches at Richebourg L'Avou.
He set his face steadfastly. Be thou faithful unto death & I will give thee a crown of life"