Wooton Court


Col. Francis Edward Wootton, M.C., and the railway operating group

Wooton Court runs east off Avonwood Drive, and ends in a cul-de-sac by the east end of Devon Street, which wraps around Wooten. Wooten Court was named for Col. Francis Edward Wootton M. C. (note: spelling of “Wootton"). For some reason, Wootton Court was spelled with only one “t”. Col. Wootton was stationed in Stratford for a short time during the Second World War as commander of the railway operating group at the Perth barracks on Trinity Street.

In 1939, at the beginning of the war, the McLagan Furniture factory (later Imperial Furniture, and then Krug Furniture, at 93 Trinity) was converted to barracks to house the Perth Regiment, and later the Highland Light Infantry of Canada, the Royal Netherlands Army, and others. Princess Juliana (who later became Queen Juliana of the Netherlands) visited the Princess Juliana Barracks, which was namedin her honor in 1941 and 1942.

The railway operating group under Col. Wootton comprised non-military railway personnel who were being trained to build and operate railways overseas. Howard Galloway of Stratford was an infantry lieutenant and training officer when he met Col. Wootton in 1943. Lieut. Galloway ran a non-commissioned officers training course for the railway men, teaching them how to defend themselves under attack.

Wootton. Since this is the only documentary evidence for the spelling of his name, it is probably correct. The name "Wootton" is of old English, with Celtic origin meaning "farmstead in the wood." Wooton Court is a reminder of the important role played by Stratford as a training centre during the Second World War, 1939-1945. Col. Wootton was one of 12 former commanders at the Perth barracks, whose photographs appeared in a special edition of the Beacon-Herald in January, 1946, to mark the return of the Perth Regiment to Stratford. By Stanford Dingman