Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet


The death of Dr Thomas Wood

Thomas died of coronary thrombosis on Sun 19th November 1950, aged 58 at his home.

A funeral service was held at St Mary`s Church, Bures and then he was taken to Ipswich for cremation. The service and burial date was possibly Thurs 30th November.
His ashes were later spread at Parsonage Hall.

This page displays a selection of Press Cuttings etc associated with his death


Front cover of the Service Sheet for a Thanksgiving Service held at the
Grosvenor Chapel

Press Cutting from East Anglian Daily Times

Belfast News November 20th 1950

Newspaper cutting possibly Essex County Standard or another local Colchester paper.
This was found glued to the inside of the Service Sheet.


Famous Choir`s last tribute to Dr Wood

Members of the famous Fleet Street Choir paid a last tribute to the late Dr. Thomas, Wood at the memorial service at Bures on Thursday when they joined the local choir
in the choral service.
Among the special music sung by the Fleet Street Choir was "Comfort,',' one of Dr. Wood's , compositions.
Members of the numerous village societies with which Dr.Wood was associated mingled with representatives of national associations and music colleges at the service. Lining the path to the church were members of the Bures and District British Legion and the Women's Legion, headed by their standard bearers.
The standards were lowered as the coffin, covered with the Union Jack, passed into the church through the flower lined porch.
Among the organisations representatives were the Ipswich Male Choir, Trinity College of Music, Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of 'Music, "National Brass Band Club, Royal Philharmonic Society, Colchester Rotary Club, Clare Musical Festival. Sudbury and District Musical Society,' Bures Hamlet Parish Council and Bures Football Club











Cutting from unknown newspaper found glued on the back page of the Service Sheet

He popularised "Waltzing Matida

Dr Thomas Wood, of Bures, the man who, when his early ambition to enter the Navy was thwarted through bad eye-sight, developed his great talent for music, died suddenly at his home, Parsonage Hall, on Sunday.
As a composer and author, he was known the world over.
But in the area of the Essex-Suffolk border, where he made his home, he was equally well-known for his numerous acts of kindness and for his good works. He loved the countrysideb and did everything he could to develop village life.
Dr. Wood's most recent composition was "The Rainbow" a work for male voice choir and brass bands specially commissioned for the Festival of Britain.
A week before his death he superintended a trial run at Covent Garden. But perhaps his best-known work was the song which is now described as the unofficial national anthem of Australia-"Waltzing Matilda" a re-arrangement of a tune which he heard while on a visit to Australia many years ago.

Born at Chorley, Lancashire, Dr, Wood intended to follow his father in a career on the sea, but when this was denied him he went to Oxford, where he developed a musical talent.
In August 1914, whilst at Exeter College, he volunteered for active service. Although rejected on account of his eyesight, he was given a job at the Admiralty. After the war having taken his M.A. and Mus.D. degrees, he was appointed Director of Music at Tonbridge School and later was lecturer and precentor at Exeter College, Oxford.

In 1924 he became associated with the Eastern Counties by his marriage to Miss St. Osyth Mahala Eustace Smith, "Wormingford, well known for her public and, charitable work in Essex and Suffolk. In later years Dr. Wood travelled twice to Australia and the East and these journeys resulted in delightful volumes of personal narrative under the titles of "Cobbers," and "True Thomas."

His chief musical works all had something to do with the sea, one being 'Merchantmen" for baritone solo, chorus and orchestra, performed in 1937. Other important compositions, of which Dr. Wood produced at least one almost every year, include "Forty- Singing Seamen," " Master Mariners " and " A Seaman's Overture." He also 'composed numerous works for voices and various instruments and comparatively recent works were-" Over the Hills and Far Away," and "Chanti leer"
Dr. Wood was connected with, numerous societies. He was chairman of the Arts Council music panel and a member of its executive committee, president of the Sudbury and District Musical Society, the Clare District Competitive Festival Association, and the Ipswich Male Voice Choir. For many years he had been, connected with the Fleet Street Choir, for whom he composed two of his latest works, and he was a member' of the Royal Philharmonic Society. He originated the Australian "Cobbers' Club " and was No. 1 Cobber.
Keenly interested in ex-Service men, Dr Wood was president of Bures British Legion. He was always assisting the village in every way possible. Recently he presented, in conjunction with Col. G. O. C. Probert, a sports ground of about five acres in the centre of the village, to the combined parishes of Bures Hamlet and Bures St. Mary. This has been named St. Osyths Playing Field.
Besides being a composer lie was a brilliant pianist and organist, and each year just before Christmas, he conducted community singing of carols at Bures, the proceeds being for some charitable or national object.

He was of a particularly friendly and humorous disposition, and had a way of brightening up any ordinary business such as those of the Parish Council, of which he was a member for many years.
Dr. Wood took a great- interest in the appearance of the village, and was always endeavouring to have it made neat and attractive. A very generous subscriber to any useful local scheme, he presented a new flag of St. George to the parish church and had just promised a subscription of £100 towards the proposed addition of two bells to complete the octave in the church tower. He had also undertaken to guarantee the full, cost of the work (about £400) so that a start could be made immediately, as it was hoped to have 10 full eight bells ringing for the Festival of Britain celebrations.
Dr. Wood was interested in the past history of Bures, and in the people--especially those who might be termed "characters" His interest in these was practical in the event of help being needed.
He was instrumental in the formation of the local Home Guard, and was its first leader. He was a keen and expert photographer and kept a pictorial record of important village events. During the war he and Mrs Wood presented an up-to-date fire engine and appliances to the village.
Among his hobbies, Dr. Wood gave "the making and keeping of friends." In this he was supremely successful.


Research Alan Beales 2011