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Charles Thomas HODSON (1899-1925)

Biographical Details

Charles Thomas Hodson (1899-1925), known as Charlie, was the great-nephew of Eugénie Sladden, being the son of Annie de Salis Hodson (née Mourilyan).

Charlie was born on 1st June 1899 at Brussels, Belgium, the eldest of four children of Ernest and Annie Hodson.

During the First World War, Charlie escaped from his school at Uccle and went to England and joined the Royal Fusiliers at the age of only 15.  Letters written by his great-uncle, Fred Mourilyan, on 17th March 1915 and 27th June 1915, expressed concern about him; especially as he had joined up under the assumed name of J Butcher.  Letters from his great-aunts, Polly Robinson and Eugénie Sladden, also mention him, as also does Juliet Sladden.  Amy’s diary entry for 12th July 1915 indicates that he had at last written to say he was well (possibly prompted by his great-uncle Fred) and that he was staying with Aunt Polly (Mary Anna Robinson).  Strangely, Polly’s letters of that time make no mention of him actually staying, but possibly a letter has gone astray.

A letter from Fred (now in the National Archives) written in June 1917 to the Foreign Office, when trying to send money to his niece, Annie, and her husband, Ernest, in occupied Belgium, says:

I may mention that Mr E R Hodson … has two sons serving in the army:  Lieutenant Lionel Hodson – who came back from Canada to enlist – is in Lovat’s Scouts, and Charles Hodson, who escaped from Brussels, walked to the Dutch frontier in February 1915 when only 15½ years old , reached England, enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers, before the end of 1915 was in the trenches in France.  In 1916 he was sent back as being underage.  On 1st June 1917, having reached the age of 18, he joined up, is now at Rugby Camp in the 3rd Training Reserve Battalion.  I mention this that the Foreign Office may know that the younger members of the family are not shirking their duty.  I am persuaded that the Government will be of my opinion that the father of such sons might be helped as much as possible.

He spent time in the trenches and later in German prisoner-of-war camps. 

Amy kept a diary throughout the war and Charlie is mentioned on a number of occasions in the book, “Miss Cavell was Shot, The Diaries of Amy Hodson 1914-1920”, edited by Monica Kendall (2015).

Her entry for 29th December 1918 reads:

Charlie is in a hospital in Germany; he has poisoned feet.  We haven’t had news form him for a long time because the Germans moved him from one camp to another so that we couldn’t write to him.

By early January, his step-sister, Constance, was able to report that Charlie was now in a hospital in London and she had been to see him.

Amy’s diary reveals that Charlie managed to get to England from German prisoner-of-war camps in 1919.  After the war, Charlie emigrated to Canada in May 1921.  Details of Charlie’s subsequent deportation from Canada, entry into the USA, then return to Canada is detailed in Monica Kendall’s book.

Charlie died of tuberculosis on 10th April 1925 at King Edward Hospital, Winnipeg, aged 25.  According to the announcement of his death in the local paper, he left a widow, but nothing is known about his wife.

Letters mentioning this person: