Cpl Alan Hodgson 8th Border 29th Jan 1916

Cpl Alan Hodgson 8th Border 29th Jan 1916

Postby Steve » Tue May 05, 2009 8:10 pm

Cumberland & Westmorland Herald, Saturday 29th Jan 1916


There is general sympathy in Keswick and district with the relatives of Corpl Alan Hodgson, 8th Border Regiment, youngest, son of Mr. Timothy Hodgson, builder Keswick, who, it is feared has lost his life in France. There is some doubt as to whether this is actually the case, but, as will be seen from the letters reproduced below, those on the spot hold out little hope that the young soldier, who had gallantly risked his life in a dangerous enterprise, is still alive.The information was conveyed to 'Mr. Hodgson in the following letter, written by Cpt  W. G. Cassels, a friend of Corpl. Hodgson : - Your son went out with the scout officer and two other men on a patrol last night at 9.30 pm, and neither your son or the officer have been seen since. I was not in the line at the time, and heard about this sad case only at 1am., but I have done my best to try and find out what happened exactly. I think the following is what happened: The object of the patrol was to capture a German listening post ( these posts  consist of a group of two or three men lying in a position 20 or 30 yards in front of the parapet ). This particular post was at a point where our line is about 130 yards away from the German line. The patrol went out at about 9-30 p.m. on the night of the 20th. As was the custom, two men were left about halfway across to protect the retirement of the two in front.

The night was very clear, but patrols had gone out on nights as clear before. Unfortunately, the Germans were more alert than usual, as we have worried them considerably of late. Well, the two men left halfway saw your son and the officer approach close up to the German wire which was just near to the listening post. Suddenly three or four flare lights went up and a volley  of about eight shots was heard. One of the two was seen to turn over, and a groan was heard which the two other men thought came from your son Immediately some more lights went up, and more shots were fired. Then one man dashed back to our line to report and get a rescue party, while the other stood by to watch. He got back to our trench, and explained excitedly what had happened. Meanwhile the man who had been left out to watch says that he saw four men get across the German parapet, and apparently disappear with your son and the officer. A rescue party went out, led by the N.C.O., and got forward as far as possible, but was unable to see anything.

Next morning we searched the place from all sides with telescopes, but could see nothing, except that a wire entanglement had been moved to one side, as if to allow a party to through, we are hoping that the Germans  will put up a notice, as they have done on previous occasions to say whether these two were killed or what  happened.
May I offer you my most heartfelt sympathies for this sad event. Corpl Hodgson, has been in my platoon all along, and has done some good work. He was a great favourite with the men. You may be sure that if anything more comes to light I will let you know at once. Please let me know if there is anything; I can do.
I will try and arrange for his personal belongings to be taken over by some man going on leave, as there will be less chance of getting lost. Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss.On Thursday Mr. Hodgson received further information in the following letter from Cpt  A. 0. Bishop, 8th Border,
who wrote:

"It is with the keenest regret I have to tell you of your son being missing and probably killed. He was one of my most promising non-commissioned officers and very popular with all ranks. and I personally have a very great regard for him and the work he did. I beg you will not hold out hopes which I am only too certain  will lead to a disappointment.

Your son was too brave a lad to have allowed himself  to be taken while he lived. It is a great comfort to me to feel he met his death facing his country's  enemy, and I feel proud of this circumstance and of his courage. Please accept my deepest sympathy in your loss, and believe that I do in no small measure, share it with you. Corpl Hodgson, who was only 21 years of age, enlisted at the outbreak of war, and went to France last September. He was a keen and Zealous soldier in the carrying out of his duties, and the fact that he was killed while carrying out important and dangerous work showed in what degree he had obtained the confidence of his superior officers.
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