Hodgson, William Noel

Hodgson, William Noel
(1893-1916)
   The son of the vicar of the Devonshire village of Thornbury, later the Right Reverend Henry Hodgson, the first Bishop of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich, he graduated in classics from Christ Church College, Oxford, in 1913. The following year he was commissioned as bombing officer of the 9th Battalion the Devonshire Regiment. He was mentioned in dispatches and at Vermelles in 1915 was awarded the Military Cross, when he and a small party held a captured trench for 36 hours without food or reinforcements. In 1916, he began writing stories, poems, and essays about the front under the pseudonym "Edward Melbourne." He was killed on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, while taking a supply of bombs to his men in newly captured trenches near Mametz. His body, with his batman lying at his side, was found among 159 men, and that is where they were buried. He is immortalized in his last poem, "Before Action," written just before he was killed. Some of his poems: "Back to Rest," "England to Her Sons," "Glimpse," "Release," "Reverie," "To a Friend Killed in Action."
   Sources: Devonshire Cemetery, Mametz, Somme (www.silentcities.co.uk/). For pictures of the Devonshire Cemetery see (http://www.webmatters.net/cwgc/devonshire.htm). Oldpoetry (www.oldpoetry.com). Peace and War: A Collection of Poems. Michael Harrison and Christopher Stuart-Clark, eds. Oxford University Press, 1989. Poetry of the First World War. Edward Hudson, ed. Wayland Publishers Ltd., 1988. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org).

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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