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John Charles Hodgson


John Charles Hodgson was born in Keswick, in 1884 to Isaac and Emily Hodgson. Isaac was a Building Contractor at the time with four other children: Edith; Thomas; Harold and Grace. At the time of the 1911 Census, the family also employed a Domestic Servant, Mary Smith. They all lived in Newlands House on Stanger Street, in Keswick.

Early Life

By the time of the 1901 Census, John (aged 18) was working as a pupil teacher in or around Keswick. He was also a well-known member of Keswick Rugby Club and played for the team with distinction, only missing out on County Honours due to his short-sightedness. Before entering Chester College, he spent 18 months in France teaching English and learning the French language.

Chester College

John attended Chester College and left in 1904. Whilst at College, it is known that John issued a challenge by writing on a blackboard to the effect that the Cumbrians of that year (1904) would take on a similar number from the rest of the College in boxing, running, wrestling and jumping. The challenge was accepted and John won all of his events. Whilst at Chester College he excelled at Rugby, Rowing and Athletics.

John was also chosen as a Prefect by the Principal and his conduct in the discharge of his duties brought him a host of friends. He celebrated his majority in College and it is sad to note that one of his friends present, William Taylforth, was killed in action in May 1915.

His uncle, Reverend T. R. Hodgson, was the representative of the British and Foreign Bible Society at Constantinople, in Turkey. Soon after returning from France, John went to stay with his uncle, stopping off in Berlin for a while en route. He acted as his uncle’s secretary for 12 months and then returned to England taking up a post at Penzance County School teaching English and French. After teaching for two years, he gave up his post and enrolled as an undergraduate at Dublin University in 1914.

Military Service

Shortly after enrolling at Dublin University, war broke out and John became a vigorous and successful recruiter, before enlisting himself as a Private in the 8th Border Regiment. Whilst training at Codford on Salisbury Plain, he and his brother, Harvey, were made Sergeants and shortly afterwards, they were both offered commissions in the 10th Border Regiment.

By Christmas 1914, John had been given a Captaincy. However, he rejected several ‘soft jobs’ offered to him, insisting that he had joined to fight for his country. A short time later he was transferred to the 1st Border Regiment which was then ordered to the Dardanelles, in Turkey.

Lest We Forget

John was only in the Dardanelles for a month before he was killed, leading a brilliant charge on enemy trench positions. He died on June 28, 1915 at the Battle of Gully Ravine, aged 33 years old. He is remembered on the Helles Memorial.

Post Mortem

Captain John Charles Hodgson is remembered on the Helles Memorial, in Turkey. He was awarded the 1915 Star and British War and Victory medals for his services to King and Country.