[Skip to content]

  • John William Hodson's name commemorated on the Le Touret memorial. Photograph courtesy of Alan Laurie.
Person Details
Morton Lincolnshire
John William was the son of William Withers Hodson and his wife Ellen (née Collins). His father William was born in about 1868, the son of Edwin Hodson. In 1889 the family was living at 36 Alexandra Terrace Lincoln. William was a fitter and on 4 March 1889 enlisted in the Royal Engineers at Lincoln (23606 Sapper). He was posted to Chatham on 6 March 1889 but then spent two consecutive periods in hospital at Chatham suffering from rheumatism: 21 March-8 April and 9 April-14 May. He was discharged from the Royal Engineers on 25 May 1889 'in consequence of being unlikely to be an efficient soldier' having served for 83 days. His mother Ellen Collins was born in Retford in 1872. William and Ellen were married in 1889 (O/N/D Retford) and had at least five children: Edward Linton b. Retford 1891; John William b. 1892 Morton Lincolnshire; Elizabeth b. Lincoln January 1894 bap. Lincoln St Swithun 28 January 1894; Charles Wright b. Lincoln 13 January 1895 and George b. Lincoln 10 October 1896 bap. (George Healey) Lincoln 20 December 1896. William and Ellen have not yet been traced on the 1891 Census but they were living in Lincolnshire by the time of their second son's birth in 1892. They were still living in Lincolnshire when William died in 1896 (O/N/D Lincoln) aged about 29. Ellen married secondly James Ryves in 1897 (O/N/D Retford). According to the 1911 Census, Ellen and James had nine children but only six have been traced on the registrations of birth and the census of 1901 and 1911. It is probable that in 1911 they included Ellen's four children, Edward, Elizabeth, Charles and George, who were living with them at the time. James and Ellen's six children were: Fanny b. 1898, Ellen (Nellie) b. 1899, Jane Collins (Jenny) b. 1902, James Richard b. 1909, Kathleen b. 1910 and Ada Gwen b. 1915. In 1901 James (33), a malster, and Ellen (29) were living at 25 West Street, Retford, with Elizabeth (7), Charles (6), George (4), Fanny (2) and Ellen (Nellie) (1). All the children had the surname 'Ryves'. Ellen's eldest son, Edward, was living with his paternal grandparents at Alexandra Terrace, Lincoln, but John has not yet been traced on the 1901 Census. By 1911 the family had moved to 33 West Street, Retford. James was now working as an engine man (stationary). In the home on the night of the census were Ellen's four children, Edward a grocer's drayman, Elizabeth a laundress, Charles a blacksmith's striker, and George, and their five children Fanny, Nellie (Ellen), Jenny (Jane), James and Kathleen (6m). All the children had the surname 'Ryves'. Ellen's eldest son John had joined the Lincolnshire Regiment, as his brother Edward was to do later that year, and was serving overseas. Ada Gwen was born four years later in 1915. William and Ellen were still living at 33 West Street in March 1919 when Ellen completed Army Form 5080 listing her son Edward's surviving blood relatives. She named Edward's stepfather, James Ryves and also: Mother: Ellen Ryves, 33 West Street Retford Brothers full blood: Charles Hodson (24) and George Hodson (21); 33 West Street Retford Brother half-blood: James (9), 33 West Street Sister full blood: Elizabeth Noble, 33 West Street Retford Sisters half-blood: (Ryves) Fanny (20), Nellie (18), Jenny (17), Kathleen (8) and Ada Gwen (4); West Street Retford His mother Ellen died in 1939. Two of his three brothers also served in the war. Edward Linton served in the Army Cyclists Corps (formerly Sherwood Foresters) and was killed in France on 9 March 1915, the day before John's death. Edward has no known grave and, like John, is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial. (See record on this Roll of Honour) Charles joined the Royal Navy on a 12 year engagement as a Stoker 2nd Class on 2 March 1914. He gave his occupation as railway stoker. He was discharged shore (free discharge) on 20 September 1920 and transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve the following day. He was demobilsed in June 1921. Charles married Ethel Batty (b. 24 July 1895) in 1919 and in 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled they were living in Leeds where he was a police constable. Charles died in 1967. There is a record of a George H Hodson serving in the Royal Field Artillery (196944 Driver) and this might be their brother, George Healey (b. 1896). George married Emily E Pratt (b. 19 March 1898) in 1918 and in 1939 they were living in Retford; George was working in the textile trade. He died on 6 March 1968. Their sister Elizabeth married George W Noble (b. 17 June 1887) in 1913. In 1939 Elizabeth and George, a general labourer, were living in Retford with their children George Edwin (b. 15 December 1914) and Ethel (b. 12 December 1920). Elizabeth died in 1971.
10 Mar 1915
857986 - CWGC Website
Residence Retford. Enlisted Lincoln.
2nd Bn Lincolnshire Regiment
2nd Bn Lincolnshire Regiment John was a regular soldier, having joined the Lincolnshire Regiment before the war. In 1911 he was serving overseas with the 1st Bn - the military census record gives 'Arabia, Cyprus, and Gibraltar' but a newspaper report of John's death recorded that he had served in India. John was shot and killed on 10 March 1915 while going to the aid of a comrade who had been shot while repairing a trench parapet. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, France (Panel 8). John qualified for the 1914/1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. CWGC - History of Le Touret Memorial, France (extract): 'The Le Touret Memorial commemorates over 13,400 British soldiers who were killed in this sector of the Western Front from the beginning of October 1914 to the eve of the Battle of Loos in late September 1915 and who have no known grave ... Almost all of the men commemorated on the Memorial served with regular or territorial regiments from across the United Kingdom and were killed in actions that took place along a section of the front line that stretched from Estaires in the north to Grenay in the south. This part of the Western Front was the scene of some of the heaviest fighting of the first year of the war, including the battles of La Bassée (10 October – 2 November 1914), Neuve Chapelle (10 – 12 March 1915) [and subsequent dates].' (www.cwgc.org)
The following appeared in the Retford Times in 1915 under the headline 'A HERO’s DEATH How a Retford Lad Died': “Mr & Mrs Ryves of West Street, Retford received the following by way of the description of the death of their son Private John William (Jack) Hodson of the Lincolns who died fighting for his country on 10th March 1915. “One morning his regiment was being relieved. I got into conversation with a sergeant and as luck would have it he was Jack’s sergeant and he gave him a good character. He said he died a hero’s death. It happened one morning when one of Jack’s mates was repairing a parapet and was shot by the Germans. Jack saw him fall and went to help him and got shot himself. The sergeant did praise him and said what a good lad he was and how he died a hero’s death.” Retford Times 25 March 1915, 'Pte Edward Linton Hodson' (extract) 'Information reached Retford on Wednesday that another Retford man had been killed in action. This was Pte Edward Linton Hodson, 8th Divisional Cyclist Co., attached to the Sherwood Foresters. His death took place whilst on active service on March 9th ... had been in the army four years ago last October. He and his brother, Pte John Wm Hodson, 2nd Lincolns, returned from India last September for France, and the deceased spent four days in Retford on leave of absence. Pte J W Hodson is now in his seventh year in the army. Another brother Charles Hodson is a Stoker on HMS Cherwell ... John and Charles Hodson used to attend the Wesleyan day schools. Mrs Ryves last heard from her son Edward on March 5th, he was then well and said, he often saw his brother John William.' Retford & Worksop Herald and North Notts Advertiser, 29 January 1918: ‘Memorial Service at Retford Wesleyan Chapel. On Sunday evening a well-attended memorial service for soldiers and sailors who have given their lives in the great war was held in the Wesleyan Chapel, Grove-street. A special form of service was used … The preacher, Rev TE Young, referred in eloquent terms to the noble Retford sons connected with the Wesleyan body, who had given their lives in the righteous cause for which the Allies were fighting, and read out the following list of names ... Pte EL Hodson Sherwood Foresters (sic), Pte JW Hodson 2nd Lincolns [and 22 other names].' (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Roy Beadley, a current member of Grove Street Methodist Church, has provided the information that John William Hodson was born in West Street, Retford and was a half-brother to the late Mrs Gwen Bredley, Roy’s mother. Further information provided courtesy of Alan Laurie
Remembered on


  • John William Hodson's name commemorated on the Le Touret memorial. Photograph courtesy of Alan Laurie.
    John William Hodson - John William Hodson's name commemorated on the Le Touret memorial. Photograph courtesy of Alan Laurie.
  • Commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, France. (www.cwgc.org)
    John William Hodson - Commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, France. (www.cwgc.org)