|Obituary: Donald Wood
10 January 2018
by Sheila Hawking
Commander Donald Wood OBE RAF
It is with deep sadness that I have to tell you that Donald Wood passed away on 6th January 2018, at Kingland House nursing home in Poole.
He was fit and well on his 98th birthday in October, enjoying a family lunch at his favourite restaurant in Salisbury. In November his strength started to decline, he was admitted to Hospital, where he spent 5 weeks before moving to Kingland House.
He was born 5th October 1919 in a steel district of Sheffield. He joined the RAF at the outbreak of the War, he trained as a pilot in the USA and became a Maritime and then Transport pilot.
He flew Wellington bombers before converting to the new DC3 Dakota, in which he flew the first mission across the Channel at midnight on D-Day to capture “the bridges”, as well as some of the dangerous and historic missions resupplying Arnhem.
After the War, he participated in the testing of the UK atomic bomb in the Pacific; his crew flew around the Pacific islands measuring the fallout!
He spent 3 years as an instructor with the Australian air force and fought in the Malaysian jungle during the confrontation with Indonesia. He was awarded an MBE for creating a parachuting group within the RAF and an OBE for setting up an RAF base at Decimomannu in Sardinia.
After the RAF, he became a qualified secondary school teacher and was an accomplished artist.
A lover of horses and the outdoors, he spent much of his retirement supporting the British Horse Driving Trials Association (as it was then) and was appointed Honorary Life member of the Association.
Don first became involved in carriage driving through the East Anglian Club, the area where he then lived. After the death of his wife he moved North, to Grassington, N.Yorks, joining the NEDTL Club, where he became the “King“ of building cone courses and dressage arenas. At the same time he became involved with the National Events all over the country. After many years, Don moved to Devon to be nearer his family.
Don was a true gentleman and friend and a great family man. It was indeed, a privilege and honour to have known and worked with him.
A private, family only Cremation service will be held; this is Don’s request.