|The Rushden Echo, 26th March 1915, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Rushden Victim of Treachery - Germans Use The White Flag - “They Bowled us Over”
“Cowards When You Get Near Them” - German Trenches Piled with Dead
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hodson, of Rushden, who have four soldier sons, two of whom are in France, have received news that one, viz., Pte. E. Hodson, has been the victim of German treachery, and he is now in No. 5 General Hospital at Rouen, where he was taken after being wounded. Prior to the war, Pte. E. Hodson was for four years in Canada and was called up as a reservist at the beginning of the war. He arrived in England in September, and after 48 hours’ leave with his parents, proceeded to the depot of his regiment (2nd Beds). He was in training until about the end of October, when he was sent to the front. Writing to his mother from Rouen, under date March 16th, he says:-
“I am sorry to say that I have been slightly wounded in the head, but it is getting along nicely. This is another bit of German treachery. They raised the white flag and a party of us went to fetch them in, when they bowled us all over. Then our company charged them and when our men got near them they threw down their rifles and surrendered. They are cowards when you get near them. They cannot face the British bayonets. Our company captured 70 in that charge, that is pretty good for one company, isn’t it. This is ‘some’ battle, the German trenches piled with dead. There are thousands killed and wounded on both sides. It is not war, it is proper murder. I’ve never seen such sights in my life and I hope I never shall again. This is the greatest battle the british have had yet. It was great to see our boys charge. They went into it with pipes and fags in their mouths and laughing but there were not many came out of it. I don’t suppose there are many of our battalion left by this time. The 2nd Northants were near our regiment. I saw two of their companies cut up in a charge. Are we down-hearted?” NO!!!!”
Mr. and Mrs. Hodson’s three other soldier sons are Privates B. Hodson (1st Northants) who is at the front, Fredk. W. Hodson, of the Canadian Contingent (now in Canada), and Leonard Hodson (Northants Territorials), stationed at Peterborough.
|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
Pte Ernest Hodson (Rushden), of the Bedfordshire regiment, son of Mr and Mrs Charles Sidney Hodson, Rushden, is, we are proud to state, recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The gratifying news reached Mr and Mrs Hodson on Sunday morning in a very modest postcard received from their heroic soldier son as follows:-
“March 24 1915 – Dear Father and Mother – Just a few lines to you hoping to find you in the best of health, as it leaves me at present. I am being discharged from the hospital tomorrow.
March 25th. You will be surprised when I tell you I have been recommended for the D.C.M. – the Distinguished Conduct Medal – for gallantry under fire. This is all this time, from your loving son, Ern.”
Pte Hodson is the second Rushden man to be recommended for the D.C.M., the first being Seaman J E Buckle.
Pte Ernest Hodson, as stated in last week’s ‘Rushden Echo’ has been in hospital, wounded, and it is gratifying to learn that he has now been discharged from the hospital. [part of last week's report is repeated here]
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. [part of a longer article]
|Rushden Argus, 2nd April 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins
Rushden Man's Heroism Under Fire
Private E Hodson, of the 2nd Bedfords, son of Mr E Hodson, of Crabb-street, Rushden, writes the following modest postcard home telling of his heroism: "I am being discharged from the hospital tomorrow. You will be surprised when I tell you I have been recommended for the D.C.M. for gallantry under fire. This is all this time."
Last week we published a letter briefly stating how he got his wound. In view of the distinction earned we reprint the letter: "I am sorry to say I have been slightly wounded in the head. This is another piece of German treachery. They raised the white flag, and a party of us went to fetch them in, when they bowled us all over. Then our company charged them, and when our men got near them they threw down their rifles and surrendered. They are cowards when you get near them. They cannot face the British bayonets. Our company captured 70 in that charge. That is pretty good for one company, isn't it? That was a battle! The German trenches are filled with dead—there are thousands of killed and wounded on both sides. It is not war; it is proper murder. I've never seen such a sight in my life, and I hope I never shall again. This is the greatest battle the British have had yet. It was great to see our boys charge. They went into the charge with pipes and fags in their mouths, and laughing, but there were not many of them came out of it. The 2nd Northants were near our regiment; I saw two of their companies cut up in a charge."
Mr and Mrs Hodson have three other soldier sons—Private B Hodson (1st Northants), at the front; Private F W Hodson (of the Canadians), now in Canada; and Private L Hodson (Northants Terriers), at Peterborough.
Pte Ernest Hodson joined the Army at the age of 17 enlisting for three years with the colours and nine in the reserve, in the 2nd Bedfordshire Regiment. Soon after he had finished the three years' service he went out to Canada on the ill-fated Empress of Ireland. While in Canada he was instrumental in saving a man from drowning. At that time he was at Paris Station, Ontario. Pte Hodson had the reputation of being a fine swimmer. He visited England after spending about three years in Canada, and then went back again. At the outbreak of war he had not been to England for four years. He arrived home in September, and spent a short time with his parents, Mr and Mrs C Hodson, of 14 Crabb-street, Rushden. After about a month of training he was sent to the front on October 26th. He came through the winter campaign successfully, until March 12th, when, as already reported, he received a slight wound in the head. He was sent to Roeun Hospital, and on Sunday his parents received the splendid news of his reward. Many people in Rushden know Pte Hodson, who is now 28 years of age, and unmarried.
Mr and Mrs Hodson, his parents, are also well known and respected.
|The Rushden Echo, 16th July, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Soldier Wounded a Second Time
Mr. and Mrs. C. S. Hodson, of Rushden, received an official notice from the Infantry Record Office, by the first post yesterday morning to say that their son, Pte. E. Hodson, of the 2nd Beds Regiment, had received a gun-shot wound in the head, but that no further particulars were to hand. This caused his parents considerable alarm, and gave rise to an unpleasant rumour which was freely circulated throughout the town. By the second post, however, came another official notice to say that Pte. Hodson, who was wounded in action with a gunshot wound in the head was discharged to duty from the 21st Field Ambulance on June 17th.
Pte. E. Hodson Sustains Injury to the Head
Mr. and Mrs. Hodson have also received a field card from their son under date the 9th inst. to the effect that he is quite well, and that a letter follows on the first opportunity. Pte. E. Hodson has now been twice wounded, and each time in the head.
|The Rushden Echo, 1st October, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Soldier Injured — Pte. Ernest Hodson — Wounded a Third Time
Pte. Harry Elstow Also in Hospital
Pte. Ernest Hodson, 8006, of the 2nd Bedfords, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Hodson, of Crabb-street, Rushden, has, we regret to say, been wounded a third time. In a postcard to his mother he writes:-
“Sept. 29th – I have been wounded in the left hand and thigh, and it is now getting on fine. Harry Elstow is also here; he is hit in the forearm. I don’t know which hospital we are going to. I am writing this in the train at Birmingham. I will write again when we are settled. Don’t worry as the wounds are getting on nicely.
With the postcard was a letter from Mrs. Price, of 15, South-street, Bushbury, Wolverhampton, as follows:-
“Dear Madam, - Your son gave me this p.c. to post for him as he was passing on our line at a siding. We often go to see the troops and the wounded go through. You son looked merry and bright. I should like to have a line to know how he is getting on, as I have got one son in the Leicester Regiment.”
Pte. Hodson has twice before been wounded, but this is the first time he has been sent back to England. In our issue of August 12th we stated that he had been brought before the notice of his Commanding Officer for good work at Neuve Chapelle.
|Rushden Argus, 8th October 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins
Rushden Man Wounded Three Times
Pte E Hodson, 2nd Bedfords, son of Mr and Mrs C Hodson, of Crabb-street, Rushden, has been wounded for the third time. He has been sent back to England. In a postcard which he sent to his mother he also mentions that Pte Harry Elstow is wounded.
|The Rushden Echo, 13th August, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis
8006 Pte. E. Hodson - Rushden Soldier Honoured
Good Work in The Field Trying to Recapture a Trench
Gallantry At Neuve Chapelle
Some weeks ago we mentioned the fact that excellent work had been done by Pte. Ernest Hodson, 8006, 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, and we predicted that some honour might be conferred upon him. We are now pleased to state that his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hodson, of 14, Crabb-street, Rushden, received the following official notice on Saturday last:-
The Bedfordshire Regiment
8006 Pte. E. Hodson has been brought to the notice of the Officer Commanding the Battalion for his good work in the field at Neuve Chapelle on March 12th, 1915, when he was wounded trying to recapture a trench.
C. C. ONSLOW,
Commanding 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment
The postmark was “Field Post Office, August 5, 1915.
In a letter to his parents dated three days earlier Pte. Ernest Hodson says:-
“Just a few lines to you, hoping to find you in the best of health, as it leaves me at present. You must excuse me not writing you lately as we had a long stay in the trenches. Of course, we cannot send letters from the trenches; we have to wait until we get back to the billets.
“I am sorry you got a letter from the Record Office about me being wounded again. I never dreamed of them letting you know about it, as it was such a slight wound – just enough to get a few days’ rest. That was a warm corner we were in that trip. I have never been in such a bombardment since I have been out here. You wouldn’t think the Huns were short of ammunition if you had been there. I got buried four times inside half-an-hour. The fourth time I got a bit of shrapnel in the head. It looked impossible for an insect to live under it. How we got out of it alive heaven only knows – I don’t!
“It is good job I have got a hard head. They have had two smacks at it now, and it is still intact. Cheer up, I am worth a thousand dead ones yet. I am a hard nut to crack. If ever I get hit again I will be sure to let you know.
“I had a letter the other day from Bert (his brother, Pte. Herbert Hodson [error]), and he is getting on all right.”
|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.
Rushden Echo, 27th October 1916, transcribed by Gill Hollis
"Hell for 48 Hours"
We are pleased to report that Pte. Frederick William Hodson, of the Canadian Contingent, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. S. Hodson of 14, Crabb-street, Rushden, has been recommended for the Military Medal for exceptionally brave work on the battlefield as stretcher bearer. Five of his comrades were also recommended at the same time, and it appears, according to his letter, that whilst they were carrying out their good work under heavy shell fire the Colonel was watching them the whole of the time, and subsequently Pte. Hodson and his comrades were paraded before the battalion and personally commended by the C.O. in front of the men. To use Pte. Hodson's own words "It was hell for 48 hours."
A week after he gained the distinction, Pte. Hodson was wounded in the head, the shell which caused his injury also wounding one of his comrades. This was on October 1st and he entered hospital at Boulogne three days later. We are pleased to report that he is now convalescent, and at the Canadian Base in France.
Pte Hodson enlisted in Canada on the outbreak of war, having left Rushden for Canada four years ago last Rushden Feast. He went to France twelve months last September, and was home on leave last February. His wife, whom he met and married in Canada, is at the present time residing in Rushden with his parents.
Mr. and Mrs. Hodson have three sons serving — Pte. Fred Hodson, as mentioned above, Pte. L. Hodson, of the Durham Light Infantry, at present in France, and Sapper E. Hodson of the Royal Engineers, who is in Egypt. The latter, who was formerly in the Beds Regt., was recommended for the D.C.M. for distinguished service at Neuve Chappelle on March 12th, 1915. He was given a parchment which reads:- "The Bedfordshire Regt., 2nd Battalion. 8006 Pte. E. Hodson has been brought to the notice of the Officer Commanding the Battalion for his good work in the field at Neuve Chappelle on March 12th, 1915 when he was wounded trying to recapture a trench. C.C. Onslow, Lieut Colonel Commanding 2nd Battalion, the Bedfordshire Regt."
One other son, the late Pte. Ben Hodson, was killed at Loos on Sept. 27th, 1915.
Pte. F. W. Hodson, prior to leaving for Canada, was a member of the Rushden Temperance Band, and has been playing with the regimental band since he has been at the front. The news that he was to be recommended came as a complete surprise to Pte. F. W. Hodson, and in his letter he says that it left him speechless when his name was called out.