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Henry Clarence HODSON (1906-1999)

Biographical Details

Henry Clarence Hodson (1906-1999) was the great-nephew of Eugénie Sladden, being the son of her niece, Annie de Salis Hodson (née Mourilyan).

Henry was born in 1906 at Brussels, the youngest son of Ernest and Annie Hodson.

On the outbreak of the First World War, Henry and his older siblings Amy and Arthur found themselves trapped at the Belgian seaside.  Amy kept a diary throughout the war.  Her great-niece, Monica Kendall, has edited the diaries which were published in 2015 by SilverWood Books under the title, “Miss Cavell was Shot, The Diaries of Amy Hodson 1914-1920”.  This includes an account of their experiences of the start of the war, which begins:

On the 1st of August 1914 we all went for our summer holidays to Crocodile, a little seaside place between Westend and Middelkerke.  I had a lovely time for two or three days while Mother was with us, but on the 4th the landlady of the Villa Hortensias, where we were staying, came in all of a flurry, while we were breakfasting, saying that the Germans were in Belgium.  Mother immediately thought of Daddy and Auntie, who were in Brussels.  I helped her to pack, and she left us in charge of Mlle Hannah, the landlady.  But Mother promised us to come back in a few days, so we kissed her and wished her farewell:  she did not come back, for the Germans came into Brussels the 20th of August.

Henry, Amy and Arthur were rescued at the end of October and returned to Brussels.  There are several references to their plight in letters written by concerned relatives back in England.

Henry went with his older brother, Henry, and mother, Annie, to England in 1918, and then to boarding school in Kent.  It appears that he was not happy there as Amy’s diary entry for 24th January 1919 says:  “Connie has written to say that Baby [Henry] won’t go back to school.  He was to have gone back Tuesday the 14th and on Sunday only Uncle Fred discovered he had not gone back at all.  Mother said she could not possibly let him go for he cried so at the station.  Uncle Fred is very angry because the school was paid for a whole year in advance.” 

Henry returned to Belgium and, after working in Brussels, his job took him to London in 1936.  By this time his father was dead and he brought his widowed mother to live with him in Muswell Hill.  Henry married Mildred Mackay in 1938 and they had two children.  In 1939 they were living in Guildford.

On 29th January 1953, Henry, Mildred and their two children set sail for a new life in South Rhodesia.  Henry was described as a provision dealer.

Henry died in 1999.

Letters mentioning this person: