Ira was born on 11th September 1898, his birth registered at Keighley and his parents were Julian and Anna Bella Greenwood née Driver. Julian was a quarryman and they were living at Stanbury
when Ira was baptised on 4th December that same year, at St Michael and All Angels Church at the top of Haworth Main Street. Julian and Anna Bella were married on 13th April 1898, just six months before his birth so it's likely they got married because of the pregnancy.
By 1901 Julian was a farmer and they were living at Upper Ponden. Two year old Ira had a younger sister Sarah Alice who was just one year old. In the 1911 census they family was living at 46, Stanbury, Julian was still a farmer but on his own account and they had three children. Ira was twelve and working as a doffer for a worsted manufacturer (probably Robert Sunderland),
Sarah Alice was eleven and their younger brother James Ellis was aged three. Their Aunt, Alison Driver was also living with them and working as a worsted twister.
Ira enlisted in the Army in February 1917, being posted out to Italy with the Durham Light Infantry in October that year. They hadn't been there long and their front lines were regularly bombarded by the Austrian Army opposing them. The first casualties suffered by the 13th battalion in Italy were on a working party and they were Privates' Daniel Cooper, Norman Johnson, John Whetton and Ira Greenwood, who were all killed in a shell explosion, several other men were wounded at the same time, two of these dying of their wounds some time later. The four men who died first were buried in graves quite close to one another at Giavera British Cemetery.
Keighley News 12th January 1918 page 3:
Private Ira Greenwood, Durham Light Infantry, son of Mr and Mrs Julian Greenwood of Stanbury, has been killed in Italy. Prior to joining up in February, 1917, soon after attaining the age of 18, he was employed with Messrs. R. Sunderland and Son, Ponden. He went to France in October 1917, to Italy early in November, and was killed in action on December 23. The Chaplain (the Rev. E. G. Wells), writing to the mother on December 26, says: "I want to assure you on behalf of his officers and myself of our deep grief at the death in action of your son Private Ira Greenwood. He was on a working party in the trenches and there seemed to be little danger, when a shell burst right amongst them and he was killed instantaneously. Let us be thankful that he has been spared the horrors of war, for I believe he had only lately joined us, and he had seen none of the terrible sufferings of the battlefield. He was buried at Old Farm cemetery among the vineyards at the foot of the
beautiful mountains and the funeral was attended by a large number of his comrades. May God give you the courage to bear your sad loss, and hope to look forward to meeting him in a happier world in the days to come." Private Greenwood is the sixth villager who has died on active service.
Ira is buried in grave 9, on row c of plot 2, at Giavera British Cemetery, Arcade which is about 35 miles North of Venice in Italy.
He was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal for his war service. These would have gone to his parents, along with a memorial plaque and certificate.
He is also remembered locally on the Stanbury and Oldfield war memorial at Stanbury Cemetery.
His mother and next-of-kin Anna Bella Greenwood received a war pension for life of 12 shillings per week beginning on 9th July 1918.
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Keighley News archives in Keighley Library
Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923