Private Albert Wood had plenty of military experience before volunteering to fight for Australia in 1916, stating that he had previously served 12 years in the British Army.
Albert gave his occupation as lengthsman when he enlisted in November 1916 and, as he gave his address as the Boyland Station, Canungra Line, was most likely a railway track maintenance worker.
Having previously served with the Scottish Borderers in England, Manchester-born Albert attended the AIF’s training school for NCOs before embarking for overseas service as an Australian soldier.
He had stated his age as 38, but could well have been much older given his prior military service. Albert left behind a wife, Annie, but no children when he embarked from Sydney on the Wiltshire on February 7, 1917, as part of the 7th reinforcements of the 42nd Battalion.
Arriving at Devonport on April 11, Albert proceeded to Durrington Camp for further training. A month later, he went absent without leave for two days, for which he forfeited nine days’ pay.
In August, Albert was classified PB (permanent base) and the following month was put on a ship for home. After arriving in Australia on the Borda, Albert was discharged as medically unfit, with chronic lumbago and senility.
However, the term ‘senility’ was used in a different sense by the military a century ago than it is generally used today, and was then more a catch-all denoting someone ‘too old’ to be a soldier.