Henry Woodiss was the simple English gamekeeper whose affair with his boss’s wife thrust him into one a sensational scandal. He was vilified in the Press, a common man who had seduced a lady. She was Edith, the wife of a severely disabled war veteran, Sir Coninsby-Clarke.
Many years later, Woodiss wrote his account of these events. He tells how Lady Edith, who had artistic pretensions, ordered him to pose naked in the woods, sketched him, then shamelessly exploited her social position to seduce him.
At the outbreak of war in 1914, Woodiss, enlisted in a local infantry regiment. Before he was twenty-one he had been grievously wounded twice, decorated for distinguished conduct and ordered to take a commission. Late in the war, Sir Con was posted to Woodiss’s battalion. Within two days of going into the line, Sir Con was on his way home. He would be wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life.
On leaving the army Woodiss became Con’s gamekeeper. After their affair came to light, Woodiss suffered his first painful encounters with Edith’s relatives, notably her grandmother, and he endured a humiliating interview with her father, whose insults Woodiss never forgave.
Despite this traumatic start, the couple developed a loving relationship. After her divorce, Edith married Woodiss. They settled in a house, provided by her family, in an obscure northern town. This was Birstall, in the former Heavy Woollen District of the West Riding. Edith’s passion for Woodiss did not diminish, and the couple enjoyed a loving and contented life until her untimely death. Shortly after Edith died, war broke out and Woodiss, a Territorial Army officer, was called up. The war seemed a welcome distraction, but it was not long before he was again seriously injured and, to his dismay, discharged from the army."
Henry Woodiss website: http://www.
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