Tommy Wood - An Appreciation

Irish Democrat, 31st July 1937

I decided to print this obituary article as it was carried in 1937 but in early 2006 I was contacted by Tommyís brother and informed that the family name is actually Wood and not Woods, so Iíve amended this article to reflect the family desire for accuracy. As far as I can see Tommy was the youngest Irish volunteer killed in Spain. [Ciaran Crossey 23rd April 2006]

We regret to announce that Fascism has claimed another victim in the Irish Section of the International Brigade in the person of Tommy Wood, Buckingham Place, Dublin. Woods was a young Republican worker who volunteered in December last year. From the age of seven he was a member of Fianna Eireann and afterwards of B Coy, 2nd Battalion, Dublin Brigade IRA.

Young Wood carried in his person the traditions of a fighting family who had made heavy sacrifices in the cause of Irish freedom. His uncle, Patrick Doyle, was executed by the British authorities at Mountjoy in 1921, and another uncle, Sean Doyle, was killed at the Custom House, Dublin, in the same year. Tommy followed in the footsteps of his martyred uncles.

Writing to his father and mother from Albacete, Frank Ryan states;

'He was wounded on the Cordoba Front on December 29 last. I was talking to two comrades who brought him to the dressing station. He was hit above the left knee and then as they were bringing him in, he and one of his comrades was hit again. This time the bullet hit Tommy in the head, but the two lads with him thought it was only a graze as he was conscious all the time. He was brought to Andujar Hospital and the first report from there was very favourable, then we could get no more news of him. It is only now that we have found out why.' Frank goes on to say that the name of Wood was confused with that of Wools, a Dutch comrade who was there. It now transpires that Tommy Wood died in this hospital.

Frank Ryan states: 'His comrades here wish to be associated in rendering you their sympathy. Tommy was universally liked during the time he was with us here. I want to emphasise that his life was given in a great cause. He did not come looking for adventures nor for reward. He believed in the cause for which the people of Spain, helped by men such as himself, are fighting. He has given his life not only for the freedom of the people of Spain, but of the whole human race and he will be remembered and honoured equally with those who gave their lives for freedom in Ireland.'

In a letter to his mother, when leaving for Spain, Tommy Wood said: 'I am going to Spain to fight with the International Column. I left a message to be delivered to you on Sunday. We are going to fight for the working class. It is not a religious war, that is all propaganda. God bless you.'

To his parents and relatives the sympathy of all readers of the Democrat will go out, together with the resolve that each and all will redouble their efforts for the triumph of the ideals for which Tommy Wood and his comrades have given their lives, the triumph of democracy and the defeat of fascism.