Hodgson G.B.


CH/1419(S) Serjeant G.B. Hodgson, 1st Royal Marine Battalion, Royal Marine Light Infantry was killed in action 20 May 1917 and is buried at Point-du-Jour Military Cemetery, Athies, France.[1]  He was 23 years old and is commemorated on the Butterknowle and Etherley War Memorials and the memorial plaques in St. John the Evangelist Church, Lynesack and Butterknowle Village Hall, formerly in Southside Methodist Chapel.

Family Details

George Bryan was born 10 August 1893 [2] at Etherley, the son of Anthony and Mary Ann (nee Richardson) Hodgson.  There were at least 9 children:

  • William bc.1884 at South Softley
  • Joseph Watson bc.1887 at South Softley
  • Sarah Elizabeth bc.1889 at Wales Field
  • Annie bc.1890 at Wales Field
  • John bc.1893 at Wales Field
  • George Bryan born 1893 at Wales Field
  • Thomas bc.1895 at Wales Field
  • Bertie bc.1898 at Wales Field
  • Alfred bc.1899 at Wales Field [3]

Anthony Hodgson was a farmer, born at Pit Green otherwise known as Windmill in the Parish of Evenwood and Barony.  The family farm was at Wetherhill, Morley in the same Parish.  By 1891, Anthony and Mary Ann were farming at Morley and at that time they had 4 young children.  By 1901, they had 9 children and they lived at Wales Field, Parish of Evenwood and Barony.  By 1911, only 6 children were at home, Joseph worked as a mason, 17 year old George was a waggon boy for the Cooperative Society and Thomas worked on the farm.  In 1916, George was a warehouseman[4] presumably employed by the Butterknowle Co-operative Society.

Service Details

27 January 1916: George Bryan Hodgson when aged 22 years 5 months 17 days enlisted into the Royal Marine Light Infantry, Chatham Division.  He was described as 5’4¼”tall, fresh complexion, brown eyes, brown hair and he was a Wesleyan.  He was given the regimental number 1419.  Other details are:[5]

  • 27 January 1916 – 14 April 1916: depot, Deal
  • 15 April 1916 – 27 June 1916: Chatham Battalion
  • 28 June 1916 – 31 December 1916: Victory R.M. Brigade
  • 1 January 1917: promoted to Acting Serjeant.
  • 19 March 1917: part of a RMLI draft to join the BEF in France.
  • 10 April 1917: posted to 1st Battalion, Royal Marines part of the Royal Naval Division.

The 1st Bn., Royal Marines was formed when the Chatham and Deal Battalions amalgamated and came under the orders of the 3rd (Royal Marine) Brigade, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division which it joined May 1916.  By May 1917, the 3rd (RM) Brigade comprised the following units: [6]

  • 8th (Anson) Battalion
  • 1st Royal Marines
  • 2nd Royal Marines
  • 6th (Howe) Battalion
  • 188th Machine Gun Company
  • 188th Trench Mortar Battery

The 63rd Division was part of the XXIII Corps, First Army involved in the Arras Offensive:[7]

  • The 2nd Battle of the Scarpe: 23-24 April: the RN Division captured Gavrelle [8]
  • The Battle of Arleux: 28-29 April

The next major action was not until 26 October when the Division took part in the Second Battle of Passchendaele.  Between 20 May and 16 June, the Allies were taking action against the Hindenburg Line but the 63rd Division was not involved.  The Hindenburg Line was only 3 or so miles to the north of Gavrelle therefore it must be assumed that there was warfare taking place along the whole Allied front line.  During this 4 week period, the 1st Battalion lost 16 men killed in action or died of wounds – a relatively quiet time.  The first day, Sunday 20 May was their worst day. [9]  The 1st Royal Marine Battalion suffered 5 losses 20 May 1917 as follows: [10]

  • 16335 (Ply) Corporal B. Gardner RMLI died of wounds
  • S1464 (Ply) Private A. Green RMLI killed in action
  • S1419 (Ch) Serjeant G.B. Hodgson RMLI killed in action
  • S384 (Ch) Private J. McHardy RMLI killed in action
  • 15633 (Po) Serjeant H.A. Witts RMLI died of wounds

The 1st Battalion R.M.L.I. War Diary records as follows:[11]

“May 17

18: C.O. went up to Gavrelle sector to view line: 2 junior officers & 1 man per platoon went up to take in line & sleep there on the night 18/19 to conduct Bn. in

19: Battn back nr. Gavrelle.  No————-sector close Support Trenches.  Trenches in very bad state. N. of Arras Gavrelle Road severe———-

20:  .of shell holes.  Few dugouts.  Men mostly live in shell holes undercut in parapet.  2 ORs wounded, 3 ORs killed & 12 wounded.

21:  1 killed, 4 wounded.  Rev. Whitehead to UK. Leave.  Wet day

22: No casualties.  Quiet day.  Maroeil”

Serjeant G.B. Hodgson was killed in action 20 May 1917.  This is recorded in the War Diary, 3 Other Ranks being killed.  It is assumed that the usual violence of warfare, sniping or artillery fire was responsible.  It is evident that the trenches were in poor repair hence little protection seems to have been afforded.  Serjeant G.B. Hodgson would have been awarded the British War and Victory medals. [12]


Serjeant G.B. Hodgson is buried at I.E.1 grave reference, Point-du-Jour Military Cemetery, Athies.  Private J. McHardy is also buried here.  There are 794 burials, 401 unidentified.[13]

Memorial Service

The Auckland & County Chronicle dated 28 June 1917:

“Butterknowle: Camp Meeting and Memorial Service

The annual Camp Meeting of the South Side Primitive Methodists was held on Sunday.  The village was missioned in the morning, addresses being given by Messrs. Wm Wilson, R.C. Yole, J.H. Yole, Robt. Wallace and the Rev. J.M. Craddock.  In the afternoon sermons were preached on the camp ground by Mr.r. Wallace (Cockfield), Mr.Jos. Allinson (Lands) and the Rev.J.M. Craddock.  Mr. R.C. Yole was presenter.  In the evening a memorial service was conducted in the church by the Rev.J.M. Craddock to the memory of Mr. Geo. Hodgson (son of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Hodgson) Wales Field Farm, who was killed in action in France.  A large company assembled.”


Serjeant G.B. Hodgson is commemorated on Butterknowle and Etherley War Memorials and the memorial plaques in St. John the Baptist Church, Lynesack and Butterknowle Village Hall, formerly in Southside Methodist Chapel.

A monument to the 63rd (RN) Division is located near Gavrelle takes the form of a low ruined wall which symbolises the ruins of the village and a huge anchor weighing 3 tons and the emblem of the division.[14]


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] UK Royal Marines Register of Service Index 1842-1925

[3] 1901 & 1911 census

[4] Attestation Form

[5] Attestation Form

[6] http://www.1914-1918.net/63div.htm

[7] www.1914-1918.net/63div.htm & http://www.warpath.orbat.com/battles_ff/1917.htm

[8] See “Neath a Foreign Sky” Paul Allen for an account of the Royal Marines at Gavrelle & http://www.scarboroughsmaritmeheritage.org.uk/greatwar/s9-gavrelle-marines.php

[9] www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1917-May.htm & http://www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1917-June.htm

[10] www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1917-05May.htm

[11] Vol.XII War Diary 1st Battalion R.M.L.I. 1 to 31 May 1917: Note: difficult to decipher

[12] Confirmation required

[13] CWGC

[14] http://www.wereldoolog1418.nl/RND-Royal-Naval-Division/index.html


HODGSON G.B. Headstone

HODGSON G.B. Headstone

Southside Primitive Methodist Chapel Memorial Plaque

Southside Primitive Methodist Chapel
Memorial Plaque

2 thoughts on “Hodgson G.B.

  1. Pingback: BUTTERKNOWLE | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

  2. Pingback: ETHERLEY | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

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