Lionel Yexley, born James Woods (9 July, 1862 – 19 March, 1933) was a former Royal Navy Petty Officer, Second Class and Boatman in the Coast Guard Service who became a journalist and publisher in a second career as a champion of the Navy's Lower Deck.
James Woods was born in Stratford on 9 July, 1862. He joined the training ship Impregnable as a Boy, Second Class, on 21 June, 1878. On 2 July, 1879, he became a Boy, First Class, and on 11 April, 1880, he was appointed to the Woodlark. On his 18th birthday he was rated Ordinary Seaman, Second Class. On 19 March, 1881, he was appointed to the Euryalus on the East Indies Station until 31 March. On 1 April he again joined Woodlark as Ordinary Seamen, before returning to Euryalus on 3 April until 31 August. On 1 July he became a "Trained Man". On 1 September he joined the London, depôt ship on the East Coast of Africa. He would remain on her books until 22 January, 1883, being rated Able on 1 December, 1882.
He was granted a free discharge from the Navy on 21 October, 1897.
There have been some errors in print about Woods. Ruddock Mackay claimed he was "an ex-Able Seaman" which whilst strictly true misses his brief stint as a Petty Officer. Anthony Carew and John Wells claim he "purchased his discharge in 1898" which is patently incorrect. Barry Gough calls him "James Wood" and also claims he purchased his discharge. Some errors are forgivable as Woods himself wasn't strictly accurate in his Who's Who entry, claiming he entered the Navy in 1877 and "resigned in 1898".
- Mackay. Fisher of Kilverstone. p. 380.
Carew. The Lower Deck of the Royal Navy. p. 6.
Wells. The Royal Navy: An Illustrated Social History. p. 54.
Gough. Churchill and Fisher. p. 83.
- "Yexley, Lionel, (9 July 1861–18 March 1933), Editor of Fleet, Fleet Annual, and Log Series." WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. 1 Dec. 2007; Accessed 2 Oct. 2020. https://www.ukwhoswho.com/view/10.1093/ww/9780199540891.001.0001/ww-9780199540884-e-219607.
- The National Archives. ADM 188/126/105896.
- Mackay, Ruddock F. (1973). Fisher of Kilverstone. London: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0198224095.
- Yexley, Lionel (1911). Our Fighting Sea Men. London: Stanley Paul & Co.