Dennis Wood was born in 1924, and until his 15th birthday was educated as a scholarship pupil at the Walsall Grammar School.
When the War began, he left school to work in the factories, first in an aeroplane parts factory in Birmingham, and then making transmissions for the company Hardy Spicer. He later worked as a junior clerk for the depot where his father was an engine driver, until he reached the age of 18.
His decision to join the Navy was partly influenced by a love of the sea and partly from a desire to remain distanced from the close combat of the trenches. After joining up at the HMS Royal Arthur Skegness and training for six weeks, he was moved to Glasgow where he trained as a telegraphist. Posted to the HMS Moorsom, he sailed to Argentina and then back to Belfast before, in 1944, being posted to the D-
Whilst in the Channel, the HMS Moorsom was hit by an acoustic torpedo that fortunately did not explode, and was removed to Glasgow for repairs.