Celebrating Our Residents: I

Norman Woodcock

At Netherclay House, we have had the honour of providing a home to many wonderful people. With that in mind, we wanted to start a series of posts celebrating some of them.

Norman Woodcock was born in 1897 in Cudworth and grew up in Leeds where he attended Leeds Boys Modern School. He went to war in 1914, aged 17. On his return, he worked in local government and at the Electricity Board. he joined the National Association of Local Government Officers (NALGO) soon after starting work and became the full-time district officer for Yorkshire and the northern region in 1937. From 1939-1944 he worked in the Taunton office of the NALGO before moving back to Yorkshire.

He studies at Leeds University, gaining a diploma in public administration and becoming a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Public Administration; a Fellow of the Institute of Personnel Management; and a Fellow of the Royal Economic Society. He retired with his wife, Clara, to Buckland St Mary in 1960 and spent his later years in Netherclay House.

Mr Woodcock wrote a portion of his memoirs during his time at Netherclay. In 2014 his granddaughter, Susan Burnett published these recollections and in the book and she herself provides the reader with historical and military context, as well as a personal commentary.

On That Day I Left My Boyhood Behind, documents a journey from the warmth and comfort of the family bakery in Leeds, to the unspeakable horrors of the First World War. Mr Woodcock survived stormy seas, blistering deserts and days of shell fire. The book chronicles the landings on Gallipoli, his time with Lawrence of Arabia, the battles leading to the capture of Jerusalem and being on the Western Front when the Armistice was declared. His words are raw, powerful and brutally honest.

The book provides a link to a past that seems quite different from the current geopolitical situation – the end of the age of empires – but up until fairly recently, it was within living memory. The personal account that is On That Day I Left My Boyhood Behind gives us all a deep insite into that time and place.

On That Day I Left My Boyhood Behind is available for purchase on Amazon, in all the usual formats.

Norman Woodcock

Susan Burnett