Robert Oswald Gillespie Wood – Bob, as he was generally known died on 26 January 1997 after a lengthy illness borne with great stoicism and a determination not to be a burden.
Born on 9 January 1931 in Penang, Malay, he was an only son: his father had been wounded twice serving with the Cheshire Regiment in the Great War, became a rubber planter and gave Bob his love of the outdoor life. Following his father to Wellington College he intended originally to become a vet; gained a place at the Royal Veterinary College but had to forego this for National Service.
He obtained a Short Service Commission in 1950 and joined the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars who were stationed at Leicester. The following year he volunteered for his first active service in Korea and after the Regiment came home was granted a Regular Commission. A few years of peaceful soldiering followed until his adventurous spirit took charge with a secondment to the more active life of the Trucial Oman Scouts.
While on leave in 1956 Bob married Joan and two years later, back with the Regiment in Germany, their daughter, Sarah, was born. This was the amalgamation year when he became a Queen’s, Royal Irish Hussar.
In 1960 his first posting was to the Army Apprentices School in Carlisle where their son, Simon, was born and Bob and Joan decided then to make Cumberland their home for life when he retired. Bob saw his next active service in Aden, Sarawak and Borneo from 1962 to 1964. Promoted to Major in 1965 he had the distinction of escorting the Spencer-Churchill banner that year.
With the Regiment at Bovington in 1968, he became 2IC and also played a busy role running the garrison shoot and fishing to his heart’s content.
Bob finally retired from the Army in 1977 and from then on he enjoyed all the pursuits and interests of the countryside. He became involved with the Game Conservancy Trust, served on the committee of the Lowther Driving Trials and ran the trade stands for the three-day event. Although a man of the outdoors, he was a knowledgeable military historian and had a fine collection of early fishing books on which he became an accepted authority.
Bob kept in close contact with his many friends. He was a real country-lover, a man of the hills and rivers and a dog handler better than many a professional. A great host and a splendid raconteur with a wry sense of humour, with the love and devotion of his family and friends he showed great dignity and forbearance to the last.