Victoria_Cross_of_canada

THE

 

TO THE VICTORIA & GEORGE CROSS

COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE

victoria_cross george cross scan0004

b. 16/07/1918 Toronto, Canada. d. 22/08/2017 Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

 

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 13/10/1943 Orillia, Ontario, Canada

 

Ernest Alfred Wooding (1918-2017) was born on 16th July 1918 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the son of Joseph Henry and Ellen Clarke Wooding (nee Page). His parents were originally from Clacton on Sea in Essex, before emigrating to Canada. After attending Northern Vocational School, Ernie, as he preferred to be known, he graduated as an Electrical Technician. He then joined the Minneapolis Honeywell Regulator Company in Toronto, as a stock boy.

 

With the outbreak of war in 1939, and while waiting to qualify as an electrician, Ernie joined the Army Reserve, as a member of the Queen’s York Rangers, which was a machine gun regiment based in Toronto.

 

In September 1940, he transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve where he felt his electrical skills would be of value. He performed electrical maintenance on HCMS York and in mid December he was transferred to Halifax, Nova Scotia where he finished his trade test. Early in 1941 he was promoted to Petty Officer and then in 1942, to Chief Petty Officer. In late 1943, he passed the exam for Warrant Electrician and was promoted again in May 1944.

 

On 13th October 1943, at Orillia, Ontario, there was an explosion onboard the Fairmile ML-1116 while it was under construction. This was followed by a fire. Wooding rushed on deck immediately and pulled two of the three men in the engine room to safety. He was aware that several hundred gallons of high octane gasoline were in the tanks of the boat. For saving life at sea, he was awarded the Albert Medal on 17th April 1945. He was discharged from the RCNVR in September 1945.

 

At the end of the war, he returned to Honeywell in Toronto, retiring in 1982 as Manager of Technical Services for the Canadian Commercial Construction Division. In July 1947 he married Jean Davison. They had a son John and daughter Susan. Jean died in 1986 after a long illness. After her death, he worked as a volunteer at the hospital that treated her, and was active in the Anglican Church. In 1995, he married Velma Miller, a retired nurse. They then moved to Kingston, Ontario, where Ernie lived out his later years.

 

Ernie passed away on 22nd August 2017, aged 99 in Kingston, Ontario. His final resting place is not known. When Albert Medallists were given the opportunity to exchange their medals for George Cross following the change in the Royal Warrant in 1971, Ernie was not aware of it. He didn’t discover this until 1993, when he chose not to exchange. His medals (which he never wore himself) are in private ownership.

 

LOCATION OF MEDAL: NOT PUBLICLY HELD.

BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.

 

Ernest Alfred Wooding AM

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“The KING has been graciously pleased, on the advice of His Majesty's Canadian Ministers, to give orders for the following award: —

 

For -bravery in saving life:

 

The Albert Medal.

 

Mr. Ernest Alfred Wooding, Warrant Electrician, R.C.N.V.R.

 

for outstanding courage and presence of mind at the time of an explosion in a Motor Launch in harbour. Though not on board at the time he rushed on deck when the explosion occurred and pulled two of the three men in the engine-room compartment to safety. Knowing that a large quantity of high octane gasoline was in the tanks of the boat his action showed complete disregard of himself. He did gallant rescue work of the men who were in the boat at the time of the explosion, and was certainly responsible for saving the lives of the two men from the engine-room at great personal risk.”

13th April 1945