John Wood was born in Annfield Plain, Co. Durham in 1866.
John served as a Fireman/Trimmer aboard SS Hazelwood. The SS Hazelwood was built by Roper & Son in Stockton and completed in February 1904. The ship was a steel screw steamer with one deck having a gross tonnage of 3120. The 325ft (c.99m) long ship had a beam of 48ft (c.14.5m) and was powered by a three cylinder triple expansion engine with two single ended boilers. Nominal horsepower was 273.
On 19 October 1917, SS Hazelwood was lost without sending a distress call. There was speculation as to where and how it was lost. Initially it was believed that Hazelwood had struck a German mine laid by German submarine UC-62, the basis for this being a passing vessel, the SS Estonian heard shouts from the water. Estonian’s master, Captain T Jones, reported they were in a position 22 ½ miles west of St. Catherine’s Light when they heard the shouts in the darkness off the starboard bow, which he believed to be shipwrecked crew. He issued a distress call but could not stop to rescue the crew owing to the danger of being attacked.
Responding patrol boats found the Hazelwood’s papers in a bag not far from the position reported by the Estonian and the body of the Hazelwood’s steward was found. Some sources suggest that the shouts from the water could also have been after a torpedo strike, and this possibility is plausible when German submarine UC-75’s log was subsequently scrutinised indicating that the ship thought originally to have been torpedoed by it, SS Britannia, could have been the Hazelwood.
The Hazelwood sank rapidly without any survivors.
John was husband of Mary Wood(formerly Dent, nee Keith) residing 14 Edward Street, South Shields and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial.
The shipwreck of the SS Hazelwood was the subject of a Maritime Archaeology Trust survey and a copy of the site report is below.