Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page
Information from Clive Wood, 2008
Private (Charles) Bertie Hodson

7463 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment

Kerbstone on grave C.366Son of Mr Charles S & Mrs Charlotte Hodson

Aged 29 years

Died 29th September 1915

Commemorated on the Loos Memorial
Panel 91 to 93.
And in Rushden Cemetery
Grave C.366

Born at Rushden, enlisted at Northampton.
The Rushden Echo Friday 2 April 1915, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Another DCM for Rushden! - Private Ernest Hodson Recommended for a Great Honour - Heroism Under Fire - A Fine Family of Soldiers - A Modest Postcard

.... The military history of the Hodsons is interesting. Bert was the first to enlist, and Ernest enlisted two days afterwards, both being now reservists. Ernest is 25 years of age and celebrated his birthday - on Jan 6th last - in the trenches.

These two are well-known boxers, and both got into the final Northamptonshire competition, Bert proving the winner. Pte Bert Hodson, having enlisted in the Northamptonshires, was sent to Aldershot and after about 12 months' training was moved to India, being stationed there for about two years. On finishing his term of three years service he emigrated to Canada and from there went, as stoker on a vessel, to Sydney, in Australia. On August 1st last year, when it looked as if there might be a war, he reported himself to the authorities in Australia as a reservist, and on the outbreak of hostilities he came back to England, and he has been at the front since January last. When he was in Canada, by the way, he joined the Scotch Territorials.

The Rushden Echo Friday 14 May 1915, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden Soldier Receives Slight Wound

Private Bert Hodson (Rushden), of the 1st Northants Regiment, and brother of Private E Hodson, has sent a field card under date May 10th to say that he was been admitted into hospital, having been slightly wounded. In a postcard sent to his mother under date May 8th he said "I am quite well."

The Rushden Echo Friday 4 June 1915, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Four Soldier Brothers - Skulls Ploughed Up - Churchyard Shelled by Germans Human Bones Disinterred
Rushden Soldier's Vivid Story of the Great Fight - Three Rushden Soldiers Brothers Travel 25,000 Miles to Join the Colours

Pte Bert Hodson, of the 1st Northants, son of Mr and Mrs Hodson, of Rushden, has been paying a brief visit to his parents after having been for about ten days in the workhouse infirmary at Rochdale. Pte Hodson was wounded un the big battle which was fought just outside Richebourge on May 9th, and to a representative of the "Rushden Echo" he kindly recounted some of the thrilling experiences through which he has passed.

"I was in Australia," he said, "when war was declared, and received orders as a reservist to rejoin my regiment. With this object in view I sailed from Australia on Oct. 17th and landed in England on Dec. 17th. I was then allowed ten days' leave, and this brief respite from duty was spent with my father and mother at Rushden. On Jan. 11th I left England for the front, and joined my regiment in France at a small place between Bethune and Cambrim about Jan. 24th. I then got my first experience of being under shell fire, and then about four days later I accompanied my regiment into the trenches for the first time and I must say I did not find things so bad as I anticipated, as, although the Germans attacked our first line of trenches we managed to beat them off with little loss to ourselves.

"After three days in the trenches we were sent to Bethune for a rest. We remained there for a further three days and were then sent further down the country, and for the following five weeks we took no part in actual fighting. I was very lucky to get advantage of this long respite considering that I had only just joined my regiment. We resumed our work in the trenches about March 10th, my regiment on this occasion being in general in reserve at the battle of Neuve Chapelle. We were not, however, called upon to take any active part in the fight, the reason for this being, as it subsequently transpired, that no instruction could be sent to us from the frontline owing to our communications having been cut.

"Somehow or other, the battle of Neuve Chapelle seemed to be a general mix up, as we quite hoped to have a scrap, having been told to expect it, but it never came off. All the time we could hear the terrific sound of the bombardment and feel the percussion of the bursting shells, but we could not see anything from the point where we were situated, and it made us mad to get in, as we had been led to expect something big was coming off.

"After about two days in this vicinity we were transferred to Festubert, and from that time onward until the battle of Richbourg on May 9th we were in and out of the trenches alternately. Richbourg, a large village, is nothing but a mass of ruins. The churchyard has been ploughed by heavy shell fire, and at all points you could see fragments of coffins and human skulls and bones that had been disinterred. The church itself was a mass of ruins.

"About a week before the terrible fight of May 9th, we were in the reserve trenches outside the village, and at just about daybreak the Germans commenced to bombard heavily. We only suffered comparatively light losses, however, and our artillery returned the German fire with interest.

"After this we were given a short rest and were then sent forward to a place about 2½ miles from the village. Here we were put into billets just at the rear of the firing line to await orders for the general advance, which it was originally intended should take place on May 8th. For some reason or other this move was postponed until Sunday May 9th, and at about 4.45 a.m. on that day our artillery started to shell the German positions. We had been told that the bombardment would begin about 5 a.m., and owing to its starting a quarter of an hour earlier, it made things begin to look a bit mixed up, but after the German positions had been heavily shelled for about 25 minutes our boys received the order to get over the parapets in preparation for the charge. They carried out the order, laughing and joking, as brave as lions; in fact, they behaved throughout just as I expected a British soldier would behave. They showed absolutely no fear whatsoever, and it was heartbreaking to see the way in which they were cut down. For some reason our artillery did not cease fire, and the gallant lads who were awaiting the order to charge came under the fire of our own guns. In consequence, I am sorry to say, some of our own shells accounted for some of our own men. At this time my platoon was engaged as a working party with the Royal Engineers, and we were supplied with barbed wire, picks, shovels, and other engineers'equipment, in readiness to adapt our own uses the German trenches after our boys had captured them. We had climbed the parapets and were waiting behind a disused trench for further orders when we given the order to retire, owing to the British attack having failed. In front of us the poor lads were getting cut down like chaff, and when we were climbing back into our own trenches after retirement we also suffered heavy losses.

"When we had got back into the comparative safety of our own trench we found that out of an original strength of about 46, my platoon had only about 25 left. We were next stationed in a reserve trench and here we were stuck until about 2 p.m., awaiting further orders. At this hour, our artillery commenced their bombardment of German positions, and on this occasion they met with a little more success, as at some parts of the line, our chaps succeeded, after a terrific struggle, in occupying temporarily part of the German positions, however, they were unable to hold them, and they were again compelled to retire, suffering heavy loses in the retreat.

"It was during this second struggle that I got wounded. In command of my party, which was composed of Royal Engineers and what was left of my platoon, was a captain of the R.E.'s. We were awaiting instructions, but for some reason or other we did not receive any, and with a view to ascertaining what was required of us, our platoon commander took us forward to our first line of trenches. We then found that our services were not required, and received orders to rejoin what was left of our regiment which had been removed to the rear. We returned across an open field at the double in skirmishing order, and had gone to within about 30 yards of the reserve line when I got hit. I felt a thud in my left armpit and, realising that I had been struck, I, with two other wounded comrades, took cover in a brook near by. Here we were compelled to remain for half-an-hour until the bombardment ceased. I then went to the first aid dressing station, and after I had received attention I was conveyed in a motor ambulance to Bethune hospital, where I was given a change of clothing. After staying for one night in a small place just outside Bethune I was sent to St Oma, and after another night there, we were sent to Boulogne, but owing to the hospital at that place being full up, we were again moved to Rouen. I stayed in Rouen one night then crossed the channel to England, being sent to Rochdale Workhouse Infirmary.

"My wound is now practically healed, and I am quite ready to rejoin what remains of my regiment. I feel strongly that I want to have my revenge against the Germans for the number of my intimate pals that they have slaughtered. I feel determined to get my own back, but when I get back to the front I hope I shall find that things are going rather more successfully for the British forces than they were when I received my wound."

Mr Bert Hodson, father of Pte Bert Hodson, has four sons serving in His Majesty's forces, and three of the four abroad when war was declared and in the aggregate have travelled 25,000 miles to fight for their King and country. As we have already stated, Bert, whose experiences are related above, was in Australia. Ernest, of the 2nd Bedfords, was called up as a reservist from Saskatchewan, Western Canada. Frederick, of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, enlisted at Gait, Ontario, at the commencement of the war, and Leonard, who has also volunteered for foreign service, was called up with the Territorials in August last. Two of the above four sons have already been in the firing line and both have received wounds. We are curious to know if there is another family in the county that can beat this splendid record.

The Rushden Echo Friday 8 October 1915, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden Soldier Killed In the Recent Great Advance On Rushden Feast Monday
Pte Bert Hodson From Australia to Death

Pte Bert Hodson, son of Mr and Mrs C Hodson, of Crabb-street, Rushden, 1st Northants, has been killed in France. The news was received by Mrs Glidle, Bedford-road, Rushden, from her husband, Pte Bert Glidle, also of the 1st Northants, and also by Mrs Letts in a letter from her son, Pte E Letts, 1st Northants, as follows: "We have had another hot time here. Hodson came to join us on Sept. 27th. He was hit by a shell and there were six more. Arthur (Pte E Letts' brother) is here in the place where we stopped for the night, so I will have a look round for him. I saw his letter in the "Rushden Echo" which I received, and I see they made a fuss of him."

The deceased soldier went to Australia over three years ago, and, joining the Australian Force when war broke out, returned to England last Christmas, the Australians stopping at Alexandria. Being a reservist in the 1st Northants Regiment, he went to that regiment last January, and was wounded in the big battle on May 9th. On his recovery he returned to France, and was killed on Rushden Feast Monday, after he had been in the fighting one day. Deceased was 29 years of age. He is a brother of Pte E Hodson, 8656, 2nd Bedfords, whom we reported wounded in our last issue.

Evening Telegraph, Saturday 9th October 1915, transcribed by John Collins.

Rushden Soldier Killed on Feast Monday

Pte. Bert Hodson, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Hodson, of Crabb-street, Rushden, has been killed in the heavy fighting which took place recently. His death is unofficially reported by two of his comrades in the 1st Northants Regt. Pte. Hodson came over with an Australian force last Christmas, and being a Northants reservist, rejoined his old regiment. He was wounded on May 9th, and on his recovery returned to France, where he was killed on Rushden Feast Monday, after one day’s fighting.

Bert HodsonRushden Echo, Wellingborough News & Kettering Leader, 15th October 1915, transcribed by Clive Wood

A Northants Reservist - Rushdenite Falls on Rushden Feast Monday

Pte. Bert Hodson, son of Mr and Mrs Hodson, of Crabb-street Rushden, has been killed in the heavy fighting which took place recently. His death is unofficially reported by two of his comrades in the 1st Northants Regt. Private Hodson came over with an Australian force last Christmas, and being a Northants reservist, rejoined his old regiment. He was wounded on May 9th and on his recovery returned to France, where was killed on Rushden Feast Monday, after one days fighting.

The Rushden Echo Friday 21 January 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Local Fighting Family - Rushden Soldier Expecting to Return to the Front

Private Ernest Hodson, 24297, 3/4th Essex Regt., (formerly 2nd Bedfords), son of Mr and Mrs C Hodson, of Crabb-street, Rushden, has been home on a short leave. He returned to Halton Park West Camp, Wendover, Bucks, last week.

On Saturday morning they received a letter from him in which he said he was expecting to go to Egypt or Salonika any day. He is 29 years old.

Pte Ernest Hosdon's brother Pte Bert Hodson was killed in September as reported in the "Rushden Echo" at the time.

Fred, another brother, is a private with the Canadians, now in action in France, and the youngest, Leonard, has been promoted Lance-Corpl in the 2/4th Northants (Territorials) and is in training at Exning, near Newmarket.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the War index
Click here to e-mail us