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13989 Sergeant Joseph Hodgson 7th BattalionJoseph Hodgson was born in Blackburn in 1890 to George William and Sarah Ann Hodgson (nee Scarisbrick). Joseph`s parents were both originally from Darwen in East Lancashire and they were married in 1881 in St. Peter`s Church (formerly Holy Trinity) in Darwen.

Joseph had ten surviving siblings; John (1883), Ethel (1884), Harry (1886), George William (1888) and Frederick (1892) who were all born in Blackburn. After Frederick arrived the family moved to Greenalgh with Thistleton where Robert Ewart (1894), Richard Thomas (1896), Samuel (1898) and Nellie (1900) were born. Shortly after Nellie`s birth the family moved to Wesham where the youngest child Christabel (1904) was born.

In 1911 the Hodgson family lived in a six roomed house at 51 Garstang Road North in Wesham where Joseph`s father was a cloth looker in a cotton mill. All of the older children were employed in various occupations in the mill and the two youngest both attended school.

Not long after the 1911 Census was taken Joseph`s elder brother Harry emigrated, sailing from London on the 26 May 1911 on board the `Armadale` which was bound for Freemantle in Western Australia.

After the outbreak of war Joseph and his younger brother Robert were amongst the first one hundred and fifty or so men who marched the eight miles from Kirkham to Preston to enlist on the 1st September 1914.7th bn recruits article

Joseph was posted to the 7th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and allocated the number 13989 while his brother Robert attested into the 8th Battalion LNL. Not long after Joseph and Robert had enlisted their brother Harry signed up on the 18 January 1915 in Perth, Australia and then George William enlisted into the R.A.M.C.

The Preston Guardian printed the following photographs and article about the Hodgson brothers in May 1915 with Mr. Hodgson appearing in the photograph alongside his four sons.

13989 Sergeant Joseph Hodgson 7th Battalion 2

After their few months of training the 7th Battalion prepared for embarkation to France. On the 16th July, 1915 3 Officers and 110 non-commissioned officers and men left for Southampton with the transport and from there sailed to Le Havre. The rest of the Battalion left Tidworth by train in the afternoon of the 17th July and went to Folkestone for the crossing to Boulogne. The total strength of the 7th Battalion now being 30 Officers and 900 other ranks.

Unfortunately Joseph`s service record has not survived so information about his service is very limited, however, it would appear that at some point during his service he was promoted to the rank of Corporal.

Joseph remained with the 7th Battalion throughout the war and would have taken part in many of the Battalion`s major actions at Ypres, Loos, Somme, Albert 1916, Bazentin, Ancre Height,  Ancre 1916, Messines 1917, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Poelcappelle and Paschendaele.

The 7th Battalion was disbanded in France in February 1918 and unfortunately there is no information on either his Medal Index Card or the Medal Rolls to say what happened to Joseph after this date.

By August 1918 he was back in England because on the 26th August the local paper reported on him being presented with a gold watch and chain, the occasion taking place in the schoolyard at St. Joseph`s School in Wesham and witnessed by a number of local dignitaries, relatives and friends.

13989 Sergeant Joseph Hodgson 7th Battalion 3

NB – The article refers to Joseph as Sergeant Joseph Hodgson, however, his MIC and Medal Roll entries both state he was a Corporal.

Joseph was finally discharged to Class Z on the 3rd March 1919. As well as his Military Medal Joseph was also awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his service for his country.

A month after his discharge Joseph married local girl Ellen Porter on the 24th April 1919 at St. Michael`s Church in Kirkham, his occupation at the time was a weaver. Joseph and Ellen had one daughter Betty.

Sadly, just over four years after he married Ellen Joseph Hodgson died in Preston Royal Infirmary on the 3rd June 1923 aged 33 years. His home address at the time of his death was 11 Garstang Road in Wesham.

Additional family information

10410 Private Robert Ewart Hodgson 8th Battalion LNL. Robert embarked for France with the 8th Battalion on the 25th September 1915. He later joined the Labour Corps with the number 504399 and was discharged to Class Z on the 3rd March 1919. Robert was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals. No further information.

103420 Private George William Hodgson enlisted into the R.A.M.C. and also survived the war. He married Alice Grundy Cook in 1913 in the United Reform Church in Kirkham. George and Alice had one son Frank born in 1915. Alice died in 1920 and the following year George remarried to Doris Gardner in Christ Church in Wesham. After the war George William Hodgson was awarded the British War and Victory Medals. George died in 1963.

22816 Private Richard Thomas Hodgson enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on the 4th December 1915 and was posted to the Reserve. He was mobilised on the 20th January 1916 and posted to the 11th (Reserve) Battalion. On the 6th March 1916 he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and was issued the new service number 26339. Richard served with the MGC for the duration of the war. His service papers also note that on the 12th June 1919 he along with others was tried by F.G.C.M. for “refusing to proceed on a route march when ordered to do so”. He was found guilty of this offence and sentenced to 5 years penal servitude and was subsequently imprisoned at Siegburg in Germany. His sentence was later commuted to 2 years before finally on the 18th September 1919 he was released on suspension. Richard was discharged to Class Z on the 21st January 1920. He was awarded the British War and Victory Medals for his service. He married domestic servant Ellen Brown on the 1st July 1922 at St. Paul`s Church in Fairhaven (Lytham St. Anne`s). Richard died in 1980 aged 82 years.

1765 Private Harry Hodgson 12th Bn A.I.F. Harry enlisted on the 18th January 1915 in Perth, Western Australia. Embarked at Freemantle on the 19th May 1915 and sailed for Gallipoli. Wounded 6th July 1915 when a trench was destroyed by shell fire and he was buried under debris and was later admitted to Floriana Hospital in Malta with chest contusions and fractured ribs. Transferred to England 20/8/15 and admitted to King George`s Hospital, Stamford, London.

14th August 1916 Harry was transferred from the 12th Battalion to the Machine Gun Corps whilst in France. 1st June 1918 he was invalided back to UK with influenza and admitted to Mile End Military Hospital in London. On the 14th June 1918 he was transferred to the 3rd Australian Hospital.

On the 26th September 1918 Harry married May Wilson at the Primitive Methodist Chapel in Freckleton. His address at the time was No. 11 Camp, Hurdcott, Salisbury, England. May Wilson was living at 58 Preston Road, Freckleton.

Harry was finally discharged from the Army on the 4th October 1919. After the war he received the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals. Harry did not return to Australia, he and May remained in England and in 1939 they were still living on Preston Old Road in Freckleton.

Janet Davis
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