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LLOYD COLIN WOODGATE

Lloyd Colin Woodgate

 

Lloyd Colin Woodgate (Woody) was born at Yorkshire Family Birthing Center in 1894.   "Woody" as he was known to friends and family was a rare individual.   From childhood and through out the rest of his life he was an "observer", a "watcher".  Woody could stare at any item for hours.  Though he could not speak until he was seven years old, he could point and with great difficulty shout "Lookee!".  This skill would stand him good stead in his later years as the fledgling science of air reconnaissance was born.

As a youth, Woody was often seen following the local farmers as they harvested their crops.  Notebook in hand, Woody would list each and every item as it was unearthed.   His interest and detailed accounts of "Yam Spotting" were considered the best in the county.  Lloyd recorded literally hundred of yams that he had personally witnessed being harvested.

Hoping to broadening his scope of life, Woody's parents packed him off to Eaton in 1903.  There he organized the first of his many clubs.  The "Yam Society" as it was called, faltered early on and failed in 1904 due to a profound lack of interest and a fatal plow accident.  Although held blameless, Lloyd never fully recovered from the shock, and developed a strong dislike to any tuber, in any form.   Fish and Chips became forbidden words.  Woody could never utter the words;   mashed, fried, baked or scalloped.  While this may seem devastating to us, Woody persevered.
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Young Woody and the Eaton Yammers

 

Always a "goer" he left the potato fields forever and began "Ram Spotting", "Cloud Spotting" and finally his most successful endeavor "Spot Spotting".  Unfortunately for us, Woody's records were lost in a Zeppelin raid in the early days of the war and we will never know the full extent of his work.

Spotting a military motorbike parade in 1912 near the palace, Woody began a study of things mechanical.  Astutely deducing that the Royal Navy was "the bee's knees".  He enlisted in 1912 and was immediately recognized by his training officers as  "peculiar but probably excellent cannon fodder".

Posted to the aging battle ship, "Cornwallis" as powder monkey, Woody first saw action during the evacuation of the Dardanelles.  Staring at the open seas for hours, his skill at observation was put to the test one night in 1915 at Kum Kale.   Staring across the harbor form the ship he spied men going into several of the local establishments of pleasure.  Noting the Captain among the men, he inadvertently mentioned this fact to the visiting military intelligence officer.  During the ensuing closed door inquiry, Woody reaffirmed his observation and the Captain was severely reprimanded.

Later that year, Woody was serving watch as observer to the bridge.   A small storm hit the Cornwallis.  It was during a spate of "rolling seas" and while the Captain was on duty, that the Captain reported Woodgate as "jostled about by the heaving deck and despite my efforts, fell over board."   Some how Woody managed to make it to shore in Port Said.  Weary and emaciated, he stumbled in to nearest bordello and reported to the first officer he saw.  Amazed at such devotion to duty, Clive Heydor-Whetwissel, radioed the Cornwallis and reported Woody's safety.  Told to "Keep, the bleeding fool",  Whetwissel immediately enlisted Woodgate to his aero-squadron.  There Woody served as a reconnaissance officer and tent sweep.

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