The O'Leary Collection—Medals of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Brigadier Vernon "Uncle Bill" Hodson

The Royal Canadian Regiment

By: Capt (ret'd) Michael M. O'Leary, CD, The RCR

Vernon Hodson was born in Hanwell, London, England, on 16 Sep 1884. His parents were John and Mary Ann (nee Stanford) Hodson. Pages for the family on ancestry show that Mary Ann Stanford was John Hodson's second wife and that Vernon had a total of seven siblings.

Hodson attended St. John's School, Leatherhead (Surrey, Eng.), from 1895 until 1901. The school was originally founded in 1851 at St John's Wood, north London, to educate the sons of poor clergymen and was moved to Leatherhead in 1872. Hodson attended St. John's under the headmaster Arthur Rutty, during which the school evolved from a charity school to developing the characteristics of a public school. In 1919, the school publication identified Hodson in its Honour Roll of those who had served during the Great War. Three other Hodson boys are also shown as attending the school and serving during the Great War: Hodson D. (at the school 1910-14), Hodson H. (1890-96), and Hodson St. J. (1910-12).

On 9 Dec 1905, Hodson was appointed a Second Lieutenant in the 5th Battalion, Connaught Rangers (this battalion was formerly the Roscommon Militia). The unit headquarters was located at Boyle, a town in County Roscommon. Hodson was promoted to Lieutenant on 1 Jul 1907 and resigned his Commission on 1 Jun 1908. After Hodson resigned his commission, the Hodson family appears to have moved between England and Canada with some family members traveling back and forth. On 21 Apr 1909, while in England, Hodson married Jeanne (Jean) Marie Ida Neel.

By the spring of 1911, Vernon and Jean Hodson have settled in Canada. Hodson served with the 16th Light Horse, Saskatchewan in 1911 and 1912. The July 1912 Militia List for the Canadian Militia shows Hodson as a Lieutenant in regiment. The unit is headquartered at Regina, Saskatchewan, and Hodson's squadron, "D" Squadron, is at Grenfell. The date of his Lieutenancy is recorded as 27 May 1911.

Hodson attended a course at the Royal School of Instruction at Winnipeg from 7 Mar to 4 May 1912. On successful completion he received a certificate qualifying him for the rank of Captain. He also attended the School of Musketry at Rockcliffe between 10 Sep and 20 Oct 1912. This training qualified him for a Musketry Certificate and to instruct the Maxim Machine Gun.

Beginning his full time military career as an officer on attachment to the Permanent Force, the 28 Jul 1913 edition of The Daily Gleaner, Fredericton, N.B. announced:

"A New Officer

"Lt. V. Hodson, of the 16th Light Horse, of Greenfell (sic), Sask., has been attached to H Company, R.C.R., at No. 3 Military Depot, this city, for duty. He will probably later be appointed to the permanent force."

As expected, on 15 Aug 1913 Vernon Hodson was appointed to a commission in The Royal Canadian Regiment. The 29 Aug 1913 issue of the Gleaner shared the news:

"Commission in R.C.R.

"Lt. Vernon Hodson, formerly of the 16th Horse Regiment of Regina, who has been attached to at No. 3 Military Depot, has been granted a commission in the Royal Canadian Regiment."

Before the end of 1913, Hodson changed regimental stations. The Daily Gleaner, on 5 Nov 1913 noted his posting and confirmed that Jean Hodson would later follow him to Halifax:

"Lieutenant Hodson Away

"Lieutenant Hodson, who has been stationed at Military Station No. 3 here, will leave this evening for Halifax, having been transferred there. Mrs. Hodson will remain here for a short time before joining her husband."

The January 1914 Militia List shows Hodson as an officer of The RCR at No. 4 Station, Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1905, after the departure of the last British garrison battalion, The RCR had expanded in size and a new regimental headquarters and six new companies, numbered 1 through 6, were located at Halifax. The other Companies at that time were numbered 7 (St. Jean, P.Q.), 8 (Quebec, P.Q.), 9 (Toronto, Ont.), and 10 (London, Ont.). Starting with the establishment of the companies in Halifax and continuing afterward, manning demands saw the regular movement of many regimental officers and soldiers to the East Coast station.

In 1914, as Canada was starting to form the First Contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.), a request was made by the British Government for Canada to provide a battalion for garrison duty in Bermuda. This would release the Regular Army battalion from that station for immediate service in Europe. The RCR was the only formed battalion in Canada at the time and the Regiment was asked if they would go. This operational duty, although it kept the Regiment out of the war for the first year, likely also kept it from being broken up by Colonel Sam Hughes to distribute its trained soldiers among the First Contingent's battalions. The RCR served in Bermuda from September 1914 until August 1915.

On 4 Aug 1914, Hodson was mobilized for Active Service with The RCR. The Regiment sailed for Bermuda on 11 Sep 1914 aboard the S.S. Canada, escorted by the H.M.C.S. Niobe. Once they arrived on the island, the Regiment relieved the 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, which sailed immediately for England.

A nominal roll of The RCR prepared in November 1914 includes the next of kin information for each member of the Regiment. Mrs. V. Hodson is shown as residing at Boaz, Bermuda, indicating that some wives and families accompanied the Regiment to the island. An examination of the roll shows that nine officers and 26 non-commissioned officers and soldiers moved their wives to Bermuda during the year of garrison duty. This move of families suggests that Bermuda was viewed more like a traditional British Army change of stations rather than an operational wartime deployment.

In February 1915, The RCR was reorganized from an 8-company battalion to the new 4-company establishment. With that change, Hodson was commanding No. 2 Platoon of "A" Company stationed at Boaz Island. This was one of the duty stations that he and his troops would rotate through while in Bermuda.

The RCR was relieved of its Bermuda garrison duties with the arrival of the 38th Overseas Battalion from Canada on 12 Aug 1915. The RCR returned to Halifax for a stay of only a week during which the Regiment was re-attested for overseas service. Although The RCR had just spent a year in Bermuda, there were concerns regarding the applicability of the soldiers' Permanent Force enlistments for wartime deployments. This was, perhaps, prompted by the idea that a man on a P.F. three-year engagement could choose not to re-engage and the Government would be obligated to bring him home. Enlistment in the C.E.F., on the other hand, was for the "Duration of War." Accordingly, all ranks of The RCR were re-attested, signing C.E.F. attestation papers in August 1915 before sailing for Europe.

Apparently lacking the usual Officer's Declaration Form, Hodson attested for service in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.) with a soldier's Attestation Paper. He committed to C.E.F. service with The RCR at Halifax, N.S., on 22 Aug 1915. A 30-year-old officer giving his "trade" as Gentlemen, Hodson was described on his attestation paper as 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a 35 1/2-inch chest, a fair complexion, grey-blue eyes, and dark brown hair. Under distinctive marks was recorded "scar right eyebrow" and "right index finger lacking third phalanx." His religious denomination was Church of England. In advance of Hodson commencing operational service, it appears that his wife had preceded him to the United Kingdom. In identifying his wife as his next of kin, Jean's address was recorded as Chateaubriand, Gorey, Jersey (Channel Islands).

On attesting for overseas service, Hodson confirmed his prior service as "2 years, 5th Battalion, Connaught Rangers" and "2 years, 16th Light Horse." On 22 Aug 1915, he was appointed "Lieutenant, RCR, CEF."

A note in Hodson's C.E.F. service record shows that he received a subsistence allowance from 17 to 24 Aug 1915. As this is the period the Regiment was back in Halifax before sailing to England, it indicates that he was not living in officers' quarters and likely spent his last week in Canada before sailing living in one of the local hotels.

On 26 Aug 1915, The RCR sailed from Halifax aboard the S.S. Caledonian, the same ship that had brought them home from Bermuda. Hodson sailed for England as a Lieutenant in "A" Company, The RCR. The other three platoon commanders in "A" Company were lieutenants A.H.C. Campbell, C.L. Wood, and M.J.H.L. Taschereau. The RCR disembarked at Plymouth, England, on 6 Sep 1915, and proceeded to Shorncliffe for training.

Commencing September 1915, Hodson would make a monthly pay assignment to his wife in the amount of $80. He would maintain this assignment until February 1917. This amount was initially from his annual Lieutenant's pay of $900. In addition to this, he would receive a Permanent Force Allowance of $18.50 per month (increased to $44.16 in Jan 1916) and 60 cents daily field allowance.

One week after the Regiment arrived in England, the Hodsons had a son born at Jersey, Channel Islands, 12 Sep 1915. The expectation of this birth likely explains why Jean Hodson was already overseas, to ensure she would not be caught in transit or away from family at the time of birth as Vernon was deploying to Europe with the Regiment.

The RCR crossed the English Channel on 1 Nov 1915, entering the theatre of war at Boulogne, France, as a unit of the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade in the newly formed 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. During November and December of 1915 the Regiment prepared for service in the trenches with companies rotating in the lines for training and a period of providing working parties before entering the line as a battalion at the end of December. The first months of 1916 saw the Regiment in the steady rotation through front line trenches, support trenches, and reserve positions that was the fundamental experience of the infantry in the Great War.

Hodson was promoted to the rank of Temporary Captain on 28 Dec 1915. On the unit establishment, he replaced Capt H.T. Cock who was appointed Brigade Machine Gun Officer of the 7th Cdn. Inf. Bde.

Effective 21 Mar 1916, Hodson was appointed Acting Adjutant. In June, he was sent on a month-long course at the London District School of Instruction, Chelsea Barracks. The school was described by Capt Basil Williams in Raising and Training the New Armies (1918) as "For many years before the war the London District School of Instruction at the Chelsea Guards' Barracks had been charged with the training of officers and N.C.Os. of the London Territorial Force."

Returned from his training course, on 1 Jul 1916 Hodson was appointed a Temporary Major whilst Commanding a Company. The gazetting of Hodson's promotion to major, along with those of fellow regimental officers M.L. Caron and C.L. Wood, were published on 14 Sep 1916 in The Daily Gleaner and The Brandon Weekly Sun. The list of gazettes likely appeared in papers across the country.

On 3 Oct 1916, Hodson was recommended for promotion to Temp. Major and to be Acting Major by the General Officer Commanding (G.O.C.) of the 3rd Canadian Division. Hodson was not, however, to advance toward a substantive majority at that time. Soon after, on 8 Oct 1916, he was wounded in action during the fighting for Regina Trench. An Annex in the regimental War Diary for October, 1916, details the actions of 7-8-9 Oct 1916 including Hodson's role and wounding:

"NARRATIVE OF OPERATIONS OF THE ROYAL CANADIAN REGIMENT
7th, 8th, and 9th October 1916.

"At about noon on the 7th October 1916 whilst bivouacked on Tara Hill, and engaged in a general cleaning up after a strenuous tour in the front line, from which we had been relieved only the morning previous, the Royal Canadian Regiment received orders from the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade to relieve part of the 49th Battalion (R.H.C.), the first platoon to arrive at KAYS DUMP, at 3.00 p.m., the remainder following at 800 yards distance. Sharp at 3.00 p.m. our first platoon arrived at KAYS DUMP where they were to receive shovels, picks and sand bags, only to find that it was being heavily shelled, and that there was an enemy barrage on the ridge immediately in front. On hearing this, the Brigade ordered us to remain on the road some distance from KAYS DUMP until dusk. At about 4.30 p.m. after having been completely outfitted with tools etc. and two days rations and water, the Regiment being moving up to the relief. The Hun appeared to be on the alert, for he was still shelling the area through which we had to pass quite heavily. Following the tramway part of the way, then trekking off to the left, and winding through a maze of shell holes and craters, the Companies finally arrived in their respective positions and duly took over, with the loss of only two men. The Regiment was distributed as follows "A" Company right resting on the WEST MIRAUMONT ROAD, "C" Company on the left of "A" Company. "D" Company on the left of "C" Company with its left at about R.23.b.2.1. and garrisoning KENORA TRENCH with its bombing post. "B" Company was in support in SUDBURY TRENCH. During the night we were subjected to considerable hostile artillery fire, and a little machine gun fire. We suffered few casualties. As soon as the relief was complete, patrols from all of the front line Companies were sent out into "NO-MANS-LAND" to reconnoitre the enemy wire, and report on it as a Military obstacle. The result of this patrol was a report to the effect that although there were numerous gaps in the wire, through which groups of men could pass, it still formed a Military obstacle. Both Company Officers and patrols thoroughly reconnoitred the tape which had been placed in front of the "Jumping off Trench" (Vancouver), and reported it well sites. Between 4 a.m. and 4.30 a.m. on the 8th October, the Battalion was aligned along the tape, distributed in three lines, 6 platoons (2 per Co.) in the first wave, and thre platoons (1 per Co.) in the second and third waves. At 4.50 a.m. (zero hour) an intense shrapnel barrage went down near the objective, lifting after several minutes, and, crawling, our men were able to keep very close under it, sustaining no casualties from it. Then the crucial moment came, the time to clinch with the enemy. With a rush, before he had time to man his machine guns and parapet, they leapt into the trench, putting him to flight. Owing to the wire not being sufficiently cut, great difficulty was experienced by some groups of our men in "A" Company and "C" Company in getting at them, but in spite of all, they gained the desired end. Part of "D" Company (Left Co.) however were held up by the wire and intense machine gun fire at the junction of KENORA and REGINA TRENCHES. "A" and "C" Companies, and the part of "D" Company who had got in, immediately set about their allotted tasks, bombing dug-outs, collecting prisoners, and consolidating, following which parties were sent out about 50 yards in front of REGINA TRENCH to make good positions to cover the work being done in the trench. While this was going on in the centre, "A" Company under Lieut. Penniman was performing a most difficult move, i.e. changing front to the left to form a defensive left flank to the troops operating on our right. The enemy machine gun fire and sniping had now become most intense. They were putting up a stubborn resistance. In the face of this "A" Company with the Battalion Bombers, bombed down the WEST MIRAUMONT ROAD for about 150 yards, where seeing that the troops on their right had not advanced with them, they put in a block and commenced consolidating their line. A bombing post with two Lewis Guns was placed at the block where they did most effective work silencing the enemies [sic] machine guns and snipers. By this time, the Battalion on our left not having gained their objective, we were being fired upon from both flanks, and from the front. On the left, Major Wood was going up and down among his men encouraging them, directing the collecting, and division of prisoners, and consolidating. Capt. Sapte and Lieut. Dickson were leading a party of bombers who were bombing to the left, where, according to their orders, they would meet the left battalion bombing our way. It was while doing this hat Lieut. Dickson got wounded. A cylindrical stick from the next bay passing over Capt. Sapte's head hit Mr. Dickson full in the face, knocking him down, and severely wounding him in the head, neck, shoulders and chest. Before he was able to recover himself, another lit on his leg fracturing it just above the knee, and perforating it from hip to toes. Being thus wounded, he with great difficulty pulled himself out of the trench, rolling over the parapet and through the wire into a shell hole, where he lay until night fell. Capt. Sapte was last seen still bombing the enemy on the left flank although, according to reports, was hounded in the head. Supplies of bombs apparently began to run short, for soon the enemy began rolling up our left flank by a strong bombing attack, supported by a withering, flanking machine gun fire from a strongpoint about the junction of KENORA and REGINA TRENCHES. It was about this time that Major Wood was twice hit in the leg and foot collecting another party of bombers to resist this attack. On the right, in the meantime, "A" Company repelled a counter attack from the left of WEST MIRAUMONT ROAD, but were again strongly attacked by bombers down the road. Being entirely surrounded with no hope of support, they in good order executed a retirement - which necessitated again changing front this time back into line to REGINA TRENCH, a very difficult movement. Here the two Companies held on with nothing on either flank, and little artillery support until about 9 o'clock.

"With the few that remained after repelling at least three counter attacks, and from report, possibly four, we retired into shell holes and down the WEST MIRAUMONT ROAD having held for approximately four hours the enemy's trench and an area in advance of it to a depth varying from 50 to 150 yards unsupported and unprotected.

"We come now to work done by our Support (B) Co. As soon as the three attacking Companies commenced their advance, controlled by Major Hodson from the "Jumping off Trench" "B" Company advanced to Vancouver trench (Jumping off Trench) and manned it, holding themselves in readiness to go forward to the support of the other three Companies. Under a gruelling enemy barrage Lewis and Colt Gunners were placed in position. Supplies of ammunition, bombs etc. were brought up and in every way preparation was made to assist their comrades in front.

"At about 6.30 a.m. a message from Lieut. Dwyer ("A" Co.) was received by Major Hodson asking for reinforcements together with a sketch showing the position of "A" Co. at that hour. This, with other valuable information which had been collected by Major Hodson, he forwarded to battalion Headquarters stating that owing to the intense artillery and machine gun fire, and accurate sniping, it was impracticable to send any part of his men forward. At short intervals he sent into Battalion headquarters clear and concise reports as to the situation, at the same time continually moving about the trench encouraging the men, supervising the work and making suggestions to snipers and machine gunners on tactical points. At about 9 a.m. just after he was sending in the report to headquarters that the small remnants were retiring from REGINA TRENCH he received a nasty wound in the head, the fragment of shell passing right through his helmet. Before allowing himself to be taken back however, he handed over to Lieut. Thompson, telling him all that he knew regarding the situation. Lieut. Thompson immediately began reorganizing the handful of men left in the trench, placing Colt and Lewis Gus at the most advantageous points for defence, and distributing his garrison as he thought best. By actual count he had 81 O.R. under his command, holding the trench from the WEST MIRAUMONT ROAD to a point about R.23.b.2.1. including the garrison of KENORA TRENCH. His efforts were ceaseless to make the most possible use of the men he had. Beginning at about 10 a.m. the Germans threw rifle grenades into our bombing post in KENORA TRENCH, from the junction of KENORA and REGINA TRENCHES, until finally silenced by retaliation by two sections of bombers from the P.P.C.L.I. sent up from Support.

"During all this time beginning at about 7 a.m. there was a stream of wounded always on the way to the Regimental Aid Post. Most excellent work was done throughout by the Stretcher bearers in collecting, dressing, and evacuating wounded from the front line.

"Regimental Runners made innumerable trips to the front line, both during the preparations for the attack, and during and after the attack. On their return trip they were very frequently carried back wounded, the whole thing being done under most adverse conditions, as walking was difficult, and the enemy's fire—artillery machine guns and snipers—was effective.

"At dusk three parties were sent out in "NO-MAN'S-LAND" to collect wounded and bury dead. On their return they reported that all our wounded had been carried in, and all our dead buried.

"We were relieved at about 10 p.m. by the 42ND Battalion (R.H.C.), and we proceeded to the SUGAR TRENCH.

"On the 9th October, at 4 p.m. the Regiment approximately 140 strong, moved back to bivouacs on TARA HILL."

The Regiment's War Diary entry for 9 Oct 1916 succinctly summarizes the cost to the Regiment of the fighting at Regina Trench:

"9-10-16. – TRENCHES.

"Cloudy, not quite so cool. See Appendix No. 4. Total casualties reported to date are Captain SAPTE, Lieuts. SIMPSON, WALSH, SUTTON and PENNIMAN, Missing 8-10-16. Major HODSON, Major WOOD, Lieuts. DICKSON, DWYER, BELL and MURRAY, WOUNDED 8-10-16. Killed 7 other ranks. Missing 207 other ranks. Wounded 68 other ranks. It is expected that most of those reported missing will be located through slips from Casualty Clearing Stations as having passed through dressing stations of other regiments on our flanks."

Despite the War Diary's optimism, 69 of the missing men would not turn up on C.C.S. reports or be found on the field of battle. During the Great War, The RCR lost 86 men to enemy Prisoner of War camps. 69 of those were captured on 8 Oct 1916 at Regina Trench.

Hodson was admitted to No. 7 Stationary Hospital, Boulogne, on 10 Oct 1916. Suffering from a gun shot wound (abbreviated G.S.W., this could mean any wound caused by bullet, shrapnel, or splinter) to the head, Hodson was placed on the seriously ill list. Eight days later, on 18 Oct 1916, he was removed from the seriously ill list. His placement on and removal from the list were each occasions that prompted cablegrams to his next of kin.

18 Oct 1916 was also the date of Hodson's evacuation from France to England aboard the hospital ship H.S. St. Andrew. His change of strength as he was struck of The RCR noted his transfer to the Canadian Training Division at Shorncliffe. On arriving in England, Hodson was admitted to No. 7 Stationary Hospital.

Being evacuated to England would have a series of effects on Hodson. He relinquished the Acting Rank of Major on ceasing to command a Company, effective 10 Oct 1916. Unfortunately, Hodson would continue to receive the pay and allowances of a major for thee months after relinquishing his rank. In February, 1917, the total overpayment of $164.16 would be noted in his pay records, and deductions in March and April made to balance his accounts.

On 20 Oct 1916, Hodson was transferred to Endsleigh Palace Hospital, Endsleigh Gardens, W.C. Examined by a Medical Board conducted by the DDMS Canadians on 7 Dec 1916, Hodson's injury was described as "GSW Head. Trephine. Frac. Skull." He was assessed as "Unfit for any service, 6 weeks" and discharged from hospital on 8 Dec 1916.

Hodson was next before a Medical Board assembled 7 Dec 1916 at 86 Strand, W.C., by order of D.D.M.S. Canadians. The Board's findings were "This officer suffered the disability noted in Army Form A 45a. Wounds much healed. Gets headaches on much exertion. Was much debilitated as result of wound but has improved, now in hospital." The examination notes on Army Form A 45a read: "That this Officer suffered from G.S.W. of head in France, 8.10.16. Admitted to No. 7 Stationary Hospital 20.10.16. Hit by piece of shell causing depression of skull. Trephined in No. 7 Stat. Hosp. 9.10.16. Large semulous flap on occipital region. Trephine hole in centre of flap 1.11.16. X-Ray shows trephine hole in rt. Occipital region. No. F.B. seen. Wound quite healed. No symptoms of any cranial lesion. Gets headaches on too much exertion. Was much debilitated but has improved some." The form noted that Hodson's condition was "Severe not permanent" and estimated another 14 weeks incapacitation from military duty. The Board determined that Hodson was unfit General Service for a further six weeks. At the time of the Board, his address was recorded as Chillington, Kingsbridge, South Devon.

On 18 Jan 1917, the next Medical Board for Hodson was conducted in the London Area. The board reported stated: "He has improved considerably but has still headache on exertion," but found him "Unfit for any service. 3 weeks." Hodson was sent on leave on recommendation of the Board from 18 Jan to 8 Feb 1917.

Returning to the Medical Board, London Area, on 8 Feb 1917, Hodson's condition was noted as "as yet headache but has improved during his leave. The Board now consider him fit for Home Service." He was approved for "Home service. General service. 1 month." At the time of this Board, Hodson's address was recorded as 2 Dartmouth Place, Blackheath, S.E.

Hodson appeared before another Medical Board at Hastings on 17 Mar 1917. The findings were: "He has headache and is dizzy after exertion" and "Home service. General service. 2 months." His address at the time was the Canadian Officer Training School (C.O.T.S.), Bexhill-on-Sea. Effective 19 Mar 1917, Hodson was taken on the strength of the Nova Scotia Regimental Depot (N.S.R.D.), and seconded for duty and attached to C.O.T.S. Bexhill. He was also appointed Acting Major while commanding a Cadet Company.

Hodson's slow recovery from his wound in October, 1916, meant that the Medical Boards would continue. On 19 May 1917 he appeared before a Board sitting at Seaforth which determined he was still "Fit Garrison Duty abroad. Unfit General service. 6 months." The Board report noted: "This officer states that he has occasional headaches. Patellar reflexes slightly exaggerated." Hodson was determined to be unfit for General Service or Garrison Duty Abroad, but could be employed on Duty on Lines of Communication. He was expected to be unfit General Service for another six months.

Hodson was awarded a Mention in Despatches and notice of this honour was published in the London Gazette, issue 30107, dated 1 Jun 1917. The post-war scroll provided to Hodson reads: "The War of 1914-1918. Canadian Forces, Capt. V. Hodson, R. Can. R., was mentioned in a Despatch from Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., K.C.I.E., dated 9th April 1917 for gallant and distinguished services in the Field. I have it in command from the King to record His Majesty's high appreciation of the serviced rendered." The printed signature on the document is that of Winston S. Churchill, Secretary of State for War (Churchill held that appointment 10 Jan 1919 to 13 Feb 1921).

In October, 1917, the Canadian Training School's magazine, Chevrons to Stars, contained a brief item on Hodson. It read:

"Major V. Hodson, in command of No. 4 Company, came over with the R.C.R., to which regiment he had been attached in Halifax and Fredericton. He went to France as a Subaltern in November, 1915, and was promoted to Captain in January, 1916, and to Acting Major in July of the same year. He was wounded on the 8th of October, and joined the staff of the C.T.S. when it moved to Bexhill in March, 1917. It was No. 13 Platoon of his Company that won the contest held in April."

A Medical Board at Bexhill examined Hodson on 12 Nov 1917. His disability was described as: "G.S.W. Head, Fracture of Skull." The Board's report noted: "This officer reports for board after six months home service. Still complains of headache, at times loss of memory, and with great difficulty at times to concentrate. Seems slightly slow in responding to questions, and falters somewhat in speech. Reflexes are exaggerated." The Board found Hodson fit for Home Service, but not General Service, 6 months.

Another month later, on 11 Dec 1917, a Medical Board at Seaforth noted: "This officer reports for board after six months Home Service. Still complains of headache, at times loss of memory and with great difficulty at times to concentrate. Seems slightly slow in responding to questions, and falters somewhat in speech. Reflexes are exaggerated. Pulse rate 100 increased to 120 on slight exertion. Heart sounds lack muscle tone, no organic disease." Hodson was again considered "Fit Home Service. Unfit General service. 6 months."

On 19 Apr 1918, Hodson ceased to be a Cadet Company Commander at the Canadian Training School, Bexhill. Soon after, on 5 May 1918, he relinquished the Acting rank of Major and ceased to be Seconded with and detached to C.T.S. Bexhill. This was followed by an attachment from the N.S.R.D. to the 17th Reserve Battalion on 8 May 1918.

By the end of the month, Hodson's status would change from being attached to the 17th Res. Bn. to being formally posted to the unit. Before that happened, he was again before a Medical Board held at Bramshott on 17 May 1918. The Board found Hodson to be: "Fit Home Service. Unfit Garrison Duty, General Service. 1 month." The Board's report noted: "This officer reports after six months Active Home Service. During that time he has felt rather better. He finds extra exertion and marked heat or muggy weather cause some pain in head. No fainting, or vomiting or paralysis."

But Hodson was not to remain long with the 17th Res. Bn. Before he was moving to another training appointment. On 6 Jun 1918, he was struck off the strength of the 17th Res. Bn. and posted to the N.S.R.D. on proceeding on attachment to the Air Ministry.

The Medical Board at Bramshott examined Hodson again on 17 Jun 1918. he was pronounced: "Fit Home Service. Unfit Garrison Duty, General Service. 4 months." The Board's report stated: "This officer reports, after one month active home service. He states he feels much the same as last board. Feels headache on humid days, has no fainting, dizziness, or vomiting." The remaining physical evidence of Hodson's wound were described as: "There is a depression of scalp over right occipital region at sight of operation, bulging very slightly on coughing and paining with cold weather." He was assessed as "under 20%" disabled at that time.

On 6 Jul 1918, Temp. Capt. V. Hodson was seconded for duty with the Royal Air Force. His R.A.F. record sheet notes his joining as "Seconded for duty with War Office, (RAF Instructional)." Hodson was transferred from attachment R.A.F. Cadet Brigade to No. 2 Officer Cadet Wing, Hastings, on 8 Jul 1918. He was again transferred on 19 Jul 1918, from No. 2 to No. 5 Officer Cadet Wing, Sandling Camp, Shorncliffe, and again on 27 Jul 1918 to the Central School of Instruction

With the war already entering its final months, Hodson's service with the R.A.F. would not last long. On 20 Aug 1918, he was posted from the R.A.F. Cadet Brigade back to the War Office for embarkation to Canada. It would, however, be some months before he made the trip back across the Atlantic.

On 30 Nov 1918, Vernon Hodson returned to Canada. His formal attachment to the R.A.F. lasted until 2 Apr 1919, the London Gazette recording "Temp. Capt. V. Hodson ceases to be seconded for duty with the R.A.F. 2 Apr. 1919." With that change of status, Hodson reverted to the Canadian Permanent Force and was taken on the strength of the C.E.F. in Canada, and of The RCR Base Depot at Halifax, N.S, on 5 Apr 1919. Two months later, on 28 Jul 1919, he was officially struck off the strength of the C.E.F. on demobilization.

Hodson's service with the R.A.F. had one further item of note. He was "Brought to the notice of Secretary of War by the Air Ministry, London, for valuable work during the War." (Air Ministry Comm. dated 29 Aug 1919.) This notice was similar to a Mention in Despatches, but did not have an accompanying insignia to be worn.

The July 1919 edition of the Militia Lists for Canada shows Hodson once again serving at his substantive rank of Lieutenant. He does, however, hold a Brevet Captaincy dated 15 Aug 1918 and his having held the wartime rank of Captain from 2 Nov 1915 is also recorded.

The Hodsons can be found in the 1921 Canadian Census residing at Rosedale Heights Officers' Quarters in Toronto. Vernon (35) and Jean's (33) three sons are listed: Vernon Neel (11), Louis B. (5), and Ian Albert (2). Birthplaces for the family are listed as England, France, Saskatoon, Ontario [this is the son born in Jersey, Channel Islands], and Ontario, respectively.

For his service in the First World War, Hodson was entitled to receive the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal. Issue of his British War Medal was initiated by the Air Ministry, and his Star and Victory Medal by the Canadians. Hodson's original medals were despatched to him at "B" Company, The RCR, Toronto, Ont., on 19 Jun 1922. (Replacement medals were issued to his son, Mr. Ian Hodson, at Breckenridge, Que., on 23 Jun 1966.)

In the infantry, it was required that officers holding field rank (Major and above) or appointments (such as Adjutant) be proficient riders of horses as these were mounted positions even in a dismounted unit. Accordingly, officers needed to be tested in the equestrian skills or take courses to acquire those skills before promotions and appointments. On 19 Jan 1923, Hodson attended a a course of Equitation at the Royal School of Cavalry. Conducted at Stanley Barracks, Toronto, the one-day duration suggests he was examined and successfully met the requirements of equitation.

The London Evening Free Press of London, Ont., in its edition of 2 Oct 1923, announced:

"Captain Hodson Named Adjutant
"Popular Officer Succeeds Captain Fenton in R.C.R.

"Capt. V. Hodson, R.C.R., has been appointed adjutant of the regiment vice Capt. M. Fenton, whose tour of duty in the offices has expired. Until his appointment, Capt. Hodson was attached to "B" Company, stationed in Toronto.

"The new adjutant is another of the Royal Canadian Regiment's popular officers. His transfer to London is particularly welcomed by the oldtimers of the rank and file, who recall that he was seriously wounded In the early days of the Somme offensive during the late war. His wounds were so severe, in fact, that be was unable to rejoin his regiment until near the end of the war.

"Capt. Fenton. who returns to his company, is attending a school of musketry in Ottawa."

On 15 Oct 1923, a demonstration platoon of soldiers from "C" Company, The RCR, at Wolseley Barracks performed a guard-mounting drill for local militia units and members of the public. Conducted at the Dundas Street armouries in London, Hodson filled the roll of inspecting officer for the demonstration. The next day's edition of The London Free Press described the event [the Western Ontario Regiment was, between 1920 and 1924, the name of the 7th Fusiliers (later the Canadian Fusiliers)]:

"Many Attracted By Guard Mount

"R.C.R. Platoon Praised For Disciplined Exhibition
Scores Turned Away
Given In Connection With Western Ontario Regiment

"Scores were turned away from the armories last evening, where the galleries were filled with spectators to see the exhibition platoon of "C" Company, Royal Canadian Regiment, give an exhibition guard mount in connection with the First Battalion of the Western Ontario Regiment's weekly drill night.

"Those who witnessed the ceremony, whether non-permanent militia officers or civilians, were unanimous in praising the smartness and precision of all those taking part in the drill, from regimental staff non-commissioned officers to file officers. From the moment the platoon marched on to the armory floor until they left at "Eyes right," towards a group of field officers assembled near the door, the men of "C" Company were models of disciplined efficiency.

"Warrant Officer Roberts, regimental sergeant-major, formed up the two guards, into which the platoon was divided. C.S.M. Davis commanded No. 1 guard, and Sergt. Holloway commanded the relieving guard.

"Capt. V. Hodson, adjutant of the Royal Canadian Regiment, was the inspecting officer. Lieut.-Col. Hill, D.S.O., was present as a guest of Lieut.-Col. Leonard, O.C. of the Western Ontario Regiment and his company commanders.

"Subalterns, N.C.O's and men of the 1st Battalion, W.O.R., occupied a reserved section of the gallery during the exhibition drill.

"Test of Efficiency.

"Guard mount is considered amongst military experts to be the supreme test of a corps' drill efficiency. Many of its movements are so different from ordinary drill evolutions and require such instantaneous response to orders as well as intelligent anticipation that the precision shown by the R.C.R. guards was said to indicate a high degree of skill on the part of all ranks engaged in the exercise, coupled with what in wartime is called morale and in peace esprit de corps.

"The two guards were completely uniformed in what is known as "heavy marching order." This included rifles, haversacks, mess tins and bayonets. Every man looked precisely as if he had just stepped out of a bandbox. Every bit of metal shown glittered like fire under the armory arc lights. Webb equipment on relief members would have stood inspection on the Horse Guards' parade.

"No movement—many of which the non-informed civilian could see the reason for—was omitted. Warrant officers commanding the entire guard platoon or the individual guards were as rigidly obedient to their orders, as to time, as the men they commanded.

"Inspection after inspection by non-coms and the regimental adjutant showed that peace time guard mount is not alone the strictest of military ceremonies, but that it is a visible expression of the true fighting man's ideal of duty.

"Why do they salute the sentry?" a child was heard asking a father in the visitors' gallery.

"The answer, as explained by officers, is that the sentry on his post becomes for awhile the guardian of King's honor and the lives of his comrade. If he fails should an enemy appear, then through his individual dereliction the empire might suffer disaster that centuries could not repair. That is why a sentry on post receives the same honor from his relief that would be given to a passing field marshal.

"It is believed that co-operation between the regulars at Wolseley Barracks and London's non-permanent militia corps, as shown in the exhibition guard mount last evening, will result in good for all concerned. Recruits are coming into the Western Ontario regiment as a result of that organization's own campaign, and also as a result of interest awakened by the guard mount exhibition."

The London Free Press issue of 24 Oct 1923 included the results of the annual regimental shoot at the Cove Ranges in London the previous day. Detailing the scores of all the shooters, Hodson appears in the list as an average rifle shot, neither placing high enough to be a challenger for the top shots, nor at the bottom of the matches he appears under.

On 7 Nov 1923, The Free Press reported on the annual organization of the Garrison Amateur Athletic Association. Lieut.-Col. C.H. Hill (R.C.R.) presided over the meeting which established garrison leagues in boxing, hockey, indoor baseball, and track. Hodson was named to the committees for both hockey and indoor baseball. Also playing as a member of garrison teams, Hodson appears as a team member of the R.C.R. softball team in The Free Press on 19 Dec 1923. In a photo titled "Undefeated R.C.R. Team," the caption notes that they have just won the league's opening game over the 1st Hussars.

Hodson's sporting interests were not only with garrison teams. In The Free Press on 20 Dec 1923, both Vernon and Jean Hodson appear in the lists of Badminton enthusiasts participating in an tournament conducted at the London Armouries until 12 Jan 1924. The Vernons competed in mens' and ladies' doubles and also in mixed doubles. They would both appear periodically in lists of badminton competitors appearing in the paper.

On 30 Jan 1924, The London Free Press reported on "one of the smartest luncheons of the season," hosted by Mrs. E.B. Smith who entertained guests Lady Elizabeth and Lady Mary Byng, the nieces of the Governor-General, The Viscount Byng of Vimy. The ladies who attended was a veritable Who's Who of London society with the wives of many of the garrison's officers listed, including Mrs. Hodson.

Vernon Hodson's name appeared in The London Free Press on 13 Feb 1924. Found in the classified ads under Lost and Found, the item read: "Alsatian Police Dog, female, lost, gray with white breast, collar, answers name "Cherie"; reward. Please phone 4932-M. Capt. Hodson. Wolseley Barracks." The lost dog classified ran again on the 15th of Feb.

While Hodson was seeking his missing dog, Jean Hodson was following her own interests. On 15 Feb 1924, she performed in a one-act play executed at the home of Colonel and Mrs. Ibbotson-Leonard. The play, by Biche, entertained Mrs' Ibbotson's reading circle of l'Alliance Francaise for the rest of the groups members.

Sports for the military garrison including not just competition between military teams but also the engagement of garrison teams in local and regional leagues. On 11 Feb 1924, The Free Press reported on the annual meeting of the London and District Football Association. Hodson was present, and once the business of organizing for the coming season was completed, he was one of the representatives elected to the League's Council for the year. Also on the council was Maj. W.C. Butler of the Western Ontario Regiment.

Hodson was still seeking his missing dog on 20 Feb 1924. The tone of his postings in The Free Press, however, had changed: "Alsatian Police Dog, female, gray, white breast, name "Cherie"; collar. Liberal reward for return. Anyone found detaining same will be prosecuted. Owner, 4932-M. Capt. Hodson. Wolseley Barracks."

On 25 Feb 1924, The Free Press advised its readers of the plan to commemorate the battle of Paardeberg in London on 27 February, the anniversary of the closing day of the battle. Commencing with a trooping of the Edward VII banner at the Dundas Street Armoury, the Regiment's troops in London would then march to the South Africa Soldiers' Monument located in Victoria Park. Capt Hodson, adjutant, would be in command of the headquarters staff, band, and drums. In the evening a dance in the men's mess rooms was planned, which would see the officers of the regiment joining "without any emphasis as to difference in rank."

The front page of The London Evening Free Press on 27 Feb 1924 featured a photo of the wreath-laying ceremony at the Soldiers' Monument, including the banner carried by Hodson. The accompanying article detailed the trooping of the Banner, noting:

"Capt. Hodson, adjutant of the Royal Canadian Regiment, bearing the standard presented to the regiment by H.M. King Edward VII, and supported by two warrant officers of the first rank, marched to a position facing the platoon.

"In perfect time to the long roll of a battery of drums, the encased banner was lowered. The leathern sheath was removed by Capt. Balders, and then, with the drums rising to a crescendo of triumph, the silken standard was raised aloft, while capt. Balders commanded, "Royal Canadians, to the banner, present arms."

"With motions as if by one man the bayonet-tipped rifles came to position, while the bugles sounded "To the Standard."

"Back to the shoulder, at the proper command, and with the banner party leading, followed by the band, the pride of the regiment was paraded, at the slow march, between its widely spaced ranks."

Jean Hodson's photo appeared in the paper on 15 Mar 1924. On the page titled "The Realm of Women," her portrait photo was accompanied by the following caption: "Mrs. Vernon Hodson, wife of Capt. Hodson, of Wolseley Barracks, who is to read a French play at next week's meeting of l'Alliance Francais." Jean appears in The Free Press again on 25 Mar 1924. In a brief item about an upcoming annual concert at Cronyn Memorial Church, which was the Permanent Force's garrison chapel for many years, she is named as one of the patronesses for the concert.

In The Free Press on 9 May 1924, we find evidence that Hodson has been successful in recovering his missing dog. On 7 and 8 May, the London Canine Association hosted its annual spring show. Hodson, with Cherie, entered the Open Bitches class for Shepherd Dogs and Alsatians. Cherie was back in The London Evening Free Press on 11 Jul 1924. Above the fold on the front page, titled "Canine Favourite at Wolseley Barracks," was a photo of Cherie, and a second image showing her new pups. The caption read: "Cherie, a Belgian police dog, whose master is Capt. V. Hodson, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, stationed at London. Cherie is the favourite pet at Wolseley Barracks and is shown with her 12 little puppies who are just three weeks old." Two weeks later, Hodson's advertisements offering thoroughbred Alsatian pups for sale started to appear in the paper's classified columns. By August, Hodson would be showing Cherie again at the London Canine Association show.

On 28 Jul 1924, The Free Press published the results of the regimental officers in the annual shooting match for the Hamilton-Gray Cup. The cup was won by Lieut. R.G. Whitelaw ("B" Company, Toronto) with a score of 101. The local top shooter was Lieut.-Col. Hill who placed third with 90 points. Hodson was in the last scoring place among the competing officers with a score of 78.

Jean Hodson's photo was printed in The Free Press again on 27 Nov 1924. She was featured with those of two other ladies under the title "Gifted London Artists On Benefit Programs." The accompanying caption included the remark: "Mrs. Vernon Hodson, who is to play in the French comedy which l'Alliance Francaise and the students of the University of Western Ontario will present at convocation hall on December 5 as a benefit for the traveling fellowship fund."

On Saturday, 20 Dec 1924, The Free Press published an item describing the previous night festivities at Wolseley Barracks:

"The military ball, at which the 41st birthday of the Royal Canadian Regiment was last night celebrated, was one of the smartest events of the holiday season. The officers' mess at Wolseley Barracks, with the anteroom, used for dancing, were attractive with flags and bunting and the regimental colors, holly wreaths and starry clusters of mistletoe adding a holiday touch. Hosts and hostesses of the evening were the officers of the regiment and their wives, who welcomed the guests at the entrance to the mess. Sitting-out rooms were arranged cozily upstairs, and a buffet supper was served during an intermission in the delightful program of dance music, provided by the R.C.R. orchestra. Receiving were Col. Edward Seeley-Smith and Mrs. Seeley-Smith, the latter charming in a softly-draped white gown, richly beaded in crystal; Major A.K. Hemming and Mrs. Hemming, the latter in a smart black sequined gown; Capt. Vernon Hodson and Mrs. Hodson, the latter wearing blue georgette over silver; Capt. W. Fenton and Mrs. Fenton. the latter in graceful white beaded gown; Capt. C.L. Wood, M. C., A.R. Roy and R.C. Clarke." (A lengthy list of guests in attendance followed.)

The Hodsons again appear in the society pages of The Free Press on 13 Jan 1925. They are among the many guests identified at a dance and buffet dinner hosted at the Hunt Club by Mr. and Mrs. E.H. Johnston for their daughter.

On 13 Jun 1925, The London Evening Free press reported the departure of 90 officers and troops, including Hodson, from Wolseley Barracks. Led by the Band, they marched through town to meet their train. The troops were on their way to join a larger force of 400-500 Permanent Force troops being assembled to provide security during a strike by workers of the British Empire Steel Corporation in Cape Breton, N.S. The paper reported:

"The men left this morning in full field equipment, including Lewis Guns, rifles, and "tin" hats, and those who saw them entrain this morning conjured up remembrance of the war days. The RCR, however, is bent on a different mission that that of the period between 1914 and 1918. Their duty at the present time, it is pointed out, will be that of patrol and of the protection of property. How long the sojourn in the East will take is most indefinite. On the last call from the strike area, two years ago this month, they were on duty about a month."

It was not until 15 Aug 1925 that The Free Press reported the anticipated return of the London contingent of soldiers within the following two or three days. Their arrival back in London was reported in the paper on 19 Aug 1925.

Within the following week, The Free Press of 25 Aug 1925 noted that the London garrison of the Regiment was back to the work they had left behind. In the barracks a musketry course, interrupted in its third week, recommenced its syllabus. Hodson, along with another officer and six other ranks had already departed the Barracks on Sunday 23 Aug, on their way to Ottawa to attend a "Weapon Training Course" at Connaught Ranges. The course, at "A" Wing, Canadian Small Arms School from 25 Aug to 10 Oct 1925, qualified Hodson as an instructor in the rifle, bayonet, Lewis Gun, revolver, and Section Leader training.

Jean Hodson continued to be engaged in theatricals in support of charitable organizations. Her photo appeared once again in The Free Press on 26 Sep 1915, part of a lengthy article on an upcoming theatrical comedy being staged on three evenings the following week by the International Order Daughters of the Empire. Jean was cast to portray "Dona Farena" in the Spanish comedic operetta "Marcheta." The next month, she was elected an officer of l'Alliance Francais

The 6 Nov 1925 edition of The Free Press carried a brief article on the upcoming Armistice Day ceremony and the role of The RCR:

"To Dip R.C.R. Colors at Armistice Service

"Ceremony Will Take Place At Memorial Exercises At Cronyn Memorial Church.

"The dipping of the colors by the Royal Canadian Regiment is to form a part of the annual Armistice Day memorial service at the Cronyn Memorial Church on Sunday morning. It is the first time in two years for such a ceremony, in London.

"The band of the Royal Canadian Regiment, under, the leadership of L.K. Harrison, will be in attendance and will open the service with the prelude, "Piece Elegiac." The lesson will be read by Capt. V. Hodson, of the R.C.R., and the sermon preached by the rector, Rev. G. Quintin Warner.

"The ceremony of dipping the colors is to begin with the sounding of the "Last Post" and with the colors dipped to the roll of drums there follows two minutes of silence in memory of those who fell in the late war The "Dead March In Saul" and the sounding Reveille," precedes the raising valuing' of the colors.

"The remainder of the service follows out largely the Anglican form of worship, concluding with the postlude, "Grand March in D" by the R.C.R. band."

The following day's paper noted that the ceremony described for Cronyn Ceremonial Church would follow a full garrison parade at Victoria Park including serving military and veterans' organizations.

Hodson attended another course of instruction from 26 Jul to 2 Oct 1926 at "B" Wing, Canadian Small Arms School, at Connaught Ranges, Ottawa. This course qualified him as an instructor in the Vickers Machine Gun, Range-Finder, and revolver.

Effective 1 Oct 1926, Hodson vacated the appointment of Adjutant and was posted for duty to "C" Company, London, Ont. He moved from here to the staff of Military District No. 1 and the appointment of District Weapons Training Officer (D.W.T.O.). After a year in his new position, he attended a further course of instruction at "C" Wing, Canadian Small Arms School, at Connaught Camp, Ottawa, from 1 to 28 Sep 1927. This course qualified him as an instructor in Anti-Gas Measures.

Hodson left the London garrison on 6 Nov 1928, en route to England where he disembarked on 17 Nov 1928. In England he attended the Chemical Warfare course at Porton Down, Eng. The Connecting File issue of June, 1929, includes an article written by Hodson of one experience of his time overseas. He doesn't mention the training he received, but does note that the Plains of Salisbury was experiencing "the coldest winter in twenty-one years" (i.e., since 1917). The focus of Hodson's article, titled "A Visit to the Depot of the Glosters," was the professional and social experiences of a three-day visit with the affiliated regiment, The Gloucestershire Regiment. The relatively new alliance between the two regiments had been published in the Canada Gazette on 6 Mar 1926.

Hodson returned to duty on 5 March 1929 on completion of his course, at which he received a "Q.I." (Quartermaster Instructor) certificate. The March 1929 issue of The Connecting File offered this tongue-in-cheek comment on his return: "Captain V. Hodson returned to M.D. No. 1 on the 5th March upon the completion of his course at the Chemical Warfare School, Portland, England. He received a "Q.I." Certificate. Holders of this distinction take precedence among themselves alongside and in respectful proximity to Dames of the British Empire."

The number of Hodsons serving at Wolseley Barracks increased by one on 1 May 1929. Beginning that date, Lieutenant V.N. Hodson of The Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) was attached for instruction to "C" Company, The RCR. The attachment, initially for three months, was later changed to run until the commencement of the officers' Long Course the following year. (Lieut. Hodson would join the Permanent Force and be appointed to the Regiment on 24 Feb 1930.)

The Jun 1929 edition of The Connecting File noted Vernon Hodson's role in the ongoing training of the Regiment's soldiers: "During the past two months the M.G. Section and such personnel of Nos. 9 and 10 Platoons, who could be spared from their employments, have been attending the Part 1 portion of "A" and "B" Wing Courses respectively. Captain Hodson, District Weapon Training Officer, M.D. No. 1, conducted both of the courses, and those N.C.O.s and men who attended, have benefited greatly by his instruction."

In the fall of 1929, Vernon Hodson was able to remount major's badges of rank on his epaulettes. On 15 Sep 1929 he was granted a Brevet Majority. Brevet rank allowed an officer wear the higher rank when employed on duties outside the Regiment for which that rank was appropriate. Hodson, therefore, was now a captain when employed on regimental duties, but wore the rank of major when employed outside the Regiment.

The April 1931 edition of The Connecting File announced Hodson's departure from the appointment of D.W.T.O. at Military District No. 1. Effective 1 May 1931, he would be replaced by Maj. H.B. Poston, another officer of The RCR, and transfer to St. Jean, Que., to take command of "D" Company, The RCR. In January, 1933, The Connecting File included a piece of alphabetic doggerel from an unnamed author in the St. Jean station. Hodson was featured under the letter "O" with the following couplet: "O stands for our O.C. Major Hodson is he, On a charge one's before him, ten to one it's C.B."

Major John Young, writing for the regimental journal, Pro Patria, No. 5, Aug 1970, recalled Hodson's sporting prowess in the early 1930s: "One could write a book on the different activities and happenings around the barracks and camps. I recall the Wednesday afternoon sports events in D Coy. The wild soccer and hockey games. The strategy planned by the troops to lay low the officers, in particular, "Uncle" Bill Hodson and Ducky Holmes. They were real gladiators and could give and take. Two fine officers and gentlemen."

The January 1934 edition of The Connecting File features one of the few times both serving Hodsons in the Regiment, father and son (V.N.), appear together. In a listing of officers' scores for the Hamilton-Gray Cup Competition, the two Hodsons appear in fourth and fifth places, with the Lieutenant scoring 54 and the Captain and Brevet Major next, scoring 46. Scores for the following year's Hamilton-Gray Competition appeared in the November 1934 issue. Fourteen officers posted scores. The senior Hodson, perhaps inspired to improved performance after being bested by his son the previous year, is ranked second with 87 points behind the leader, Capt. T.E. Snow, who scored 88. Lieut. Hodson isn't listed, as by this time he was on an exchange tour of duty with the Royal 22nd Regiment.

In April 1934, The Connecting File made mention of Hodson's newest appointment, and a move to Halifax: "A" Company takes this opportunity to welcome Major V. Hodson to this Station. Hoping that he will enjoy his stay here." "D" Company also noted Hodson's departure from St. Jean: "We had, reluctantly, to bid "au revoir" to our Company Commander, Capt. and Bt. Major V. Hodson, who left us recently to assume command of "A" Company." "D" Company also noted the arrival of Hodson's replacement, Capt. and Bt. Major A.H.C. Campbell, "...with the hope that he will come to look upon the "Dons" not only as "The Baby of the Regiment" but as Major Hodson referred to us, "his friends."

The April 1934 issue also noted the conduct of what was a regular duty for "A" Company in the years between the World Wars: "At the opening of the Provincial House "A" Company was called upon to do a Guard of Honour under the command of Major V. Hodson. His Honour Lieut.-Governor Covert took the salute. "A" Company as usual put on a good show, but to some it just meant one more parade over."

No longer to be a Brevet Major, Hodson was promoted to the substantive rank of Major on 14 May 1935. After a few busy months of ceremonial duties and providing demonstrations in wiring, bombing, platoon in the attack, etc., "A" Company settled into Camp Aldershot, N.S., at the end of July 1935 for four weeks of "camp school." As their time at Aldershot was coming to a close, the company participated in one more community engagement:

"Decoration Day

"On the 17th of August, the Company, under the command of Major V. Hodson, with Lieut. D.B. Buell and 2nd/Lieut. R.G. Hervey, assisted the Kentville Branch of the Canadian Legion in the annual decoration of graves both in the Church of England and the R.C. cemeteries. Quite a large number of the departed had served in the R.C.R., so it seems a double purpose was achieved, with the presence of "A" Coy. The march from Aldershot Camp to Kentville is about 1 1/2 miles, but the temperature on this occasion was away up, and it seemed that a 10-mile route march on a cool day would be pie. After decorating the numerous graves, with services at each cemetery, the Company marched back to camp, fairly wet with sweat, but not too wet to have a wet."

Life in "A" Company at Halifax is described in good detail in the regimental journals of the period. A few excerpts from the February 1936 issue of The Connecting File covering both military and social activities follow:

"After digging in for the winter and being "hicetubique," the Company prepared for the D.O.C's. inspection, which was carried out with great success. It was noticed that the section commanders did not escape the inspecting officer's eye, in fact the last joined recruit up to the platoon Serjeants, all were given a thorough test. A few days after the inspection, whilst everyone was on their toes, a R.C.S.I. & M.G. course was held, Major V. Hodson, Commandant, assisted by Captain G.L. Foster, Capt. A.A. Larue, R.22e.R., and Lieut. R.G. Hervey, the latter as School Adjutant, and the following assisting instructors, S.M.I. Turner, Q.M.S.I. Shaw, Q.M.S.I. Lolley, Q.M.S.I. Lawrance, Sjt.-Instr. Bert and Cpl. MacDonald. The candidates seemed of a good class, and showed a marked improvement on the termination of the course. During all this activity, time was found to conduct a signallers classification course, and in the afternoons and evenings just for a chaser, the candidates for 1st and 2nd Class Education Certificates, or should we say aspirants, managed to spare an hour or two for the study of the three Rs which are supposed to make successful section leaders."

"On November 11th "A" Company took part in the Armistice parade, when all Units of the Permanent Force and N.P.A.M. with veterans of the Great War paid homage at the Cenotaph. Under the command of Major Hodson, the Company attended a parade and impressive memorial service at All Saints' Cathedral, in memory of the late Admiral of the Fleet, the Earl of Jellico, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., O.M., D.C.L., LL.D."

"The Nit-Wits of the Dramatic Club are still on the road, but not stranded yet. The last show being given for a charitable cause in the North Star Hall. No members can be singled out for special mention. Farnath and Bertie, Roy the snake charmer, Flanders the worm charmer, the flying trapeze men, Gillingwater, Green, Kidd and Farnath, and skit "Over-there", the radio a.m. hour with Baby Valiegh and other acts too numerous to mention, were all put over in the excellent manner, under the direction of C.S.M. Darton. There were almost three hundred in attendance, and each number was well applauded. On Saturday, 21st December, 1935, all ranks assembled in a place designated beforehand to drink the health of (yes, you guessed it) The Regiment, commemorating its birthday, 21st December, 1883."

On 6 May 1936, Hodson was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal (1935). Presentation of the medal, however, would not take place until it was received by the Regiment in September.

The Connecting File edition of January 1937 noted Hodson's absence from Halifax in November 1936 for a brief course. He and another regimental officer, A.H.C. Campbell, went to Trenton, Ont., for three weeks to attend the third Senior Army Officers' Course at the R.C.A.F. School of Army Co-operation.

The isolation of the separate regimental stations (Halifax, Toronto, London, and St Jean) was a matter of regimental concern in the late 1930s. An article in the April 1938 issue of The Connecting File described the situation from the perspective of "A" Company: "During a discussion of "A" Coy. officers, it was pointed out that "A" Coy. had not seen any other part of the Regiment since the Regimental Reunion in 1933, when only some 33 O.Rs. went to London, Ont. lot was further pointed out that there had been a large turn over in personnel since 1933, with the result that at least seventy per cent of "A" Coy. personnel had never seen any other company of the Regiment."

The plan that arose to address this issue, at least for two of the companies, was a journey by road from Halifax to St. Jean by "A" Company in the fall of 1937. Known as "JOHNCOL," the trip would be taken in Royal Canadian Army Service Corps trucks (at regimental expense) with accommodation in Militia armouries or camp locations along the route. Under the command of Major Hodson, JOHNCOL consisted of 79 all ranks of "A" Company, they departed Halifax on 13 Sep 1937 and returned to Halifax on 26 Sep 1937. Four days were spent traveling each way, with a total distance for the trip of 1858 miles (2990 Km). At St. Jean, "A" Company spent six days of training, sports, entertainment, and socializing with the soldiers of "D" Company. The Halifax company spent their first few nights in St. Jean in tents along the Richelieu River until the completion of a Militia conference freed up barracks space for them.

In April 1938, The Connecting File listed the names of 18 members of the Regiment who had landed in France with The RCR on 1 Nov 1915 and were still serving. Including Hodson, one of six majors on the list, the names ranged from Temp. Lt.-Col H.T. Cock (at St. Jean Que.) to Private W.D. Hawkes (London, Ont.).

The same issue noted the Hodsons departure from Halifax in the Officers' Mess Notes: "It is with very deep regret that the officers of this Station say "good-bye" to Major and Mrs. Hodson, who are leaving us on transfer to Toronto. The best wishes of us go with them, and we hope that their tour of duty in Toronto will be as pleasant as the four years which they have spent in this Station."

The "A" Company submission in the July 1938 issue of The Connecting File describes the Hodsons' departure from Wellington Barracks:

"We bid farewell to Major V. Hodson as our Commanding Officer after a very pleasant four years together and wish him and Mrs. Hodson the best of luck at their new station in Toronto.

"The Company chose a novel way of showing their feelings towards the officer they respected so much when they lined either side of Wellington Barracks gate and the drums, under their leader Pte. G.H. Hunt, escorted Major and Mrs. Hodson out the gate, the drums playing the regimental march. Major Hodson stopped at the gate to came back and shake hands with several of the Company and to wave good-bye to the rest. They were cheered all along the line as they drove through."

Having been posted from Halifax to Toronto, Hodson took up his new appointment as Officer Commanding "B" Company, The RCR. In December 1938, The Connecting File announced the arrival of a third Hodson to serve in a regimental garrison. "Mr. I.A. Hodson, youngest son of Major V. Hodson R.C.R., has reported for an attachment prior to attending the Long Course. He is wearing P.L.F. (M.G.) badges."

On 1 Sep 1939, Vernon Hodson was appointed to the Canadian Army (Special Force) (C.A.S.F.) and detailed to Headquarters, Military District No. 2, Toronto. His appointment was Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General (D.A.Q.M.G.). Hodson held this appointment until 25 Nov 1939.

Ten days before giving up the post of D.A.Q.M.G., on 15 Sep 1919, Vernon Hodson completed an Officer's Declaration for Active Service in the Second World War. Hodson identified his wife, Jeanne Marie Ida Hodson, as next of kin. Their address was 304 Spadina Road, Toronto. Hodson noted his former war service as "Great War, 1914-1918."

An unattributed newspaper clipping in an album in the archives of The RCR Museum refers to Hodson's next appointment. Most likely from a Toronto paper, the clipping reads:

"Major Hodson Appointed O.C. of Royal Unit

"New Commander Has Three Sons on Active Service—Pleased to Lead His Men to France

"Major Vernon Hodson, for 30 years an army man, and who has three sons on active service, has been appointed commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Regiment, a permanent force unit, and will lead this famous battle unit, it was learned to-day.

"Major Hodson since the outbreak of war, has been Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General at M.D. No. 2 headquarters, and prior to his appointment there was officer commanding the Toronto company of the Royal Canadian Regiment.

"Three of Major Hodson's brothers served in his Majesty's forces in the Great War, Major Hodson seeing service with the regiment that he now commands. Born in England, Major Hodson came to Canada as a youth but went back to Ireland for his first taste of army discipline with the Connaught Rangers. On his return to Canada he joined the Small Arms School at Ottawa and from there he went to the Royal Canadian Regiment, with which he has been identified ever since.

"Admitting to-day that he had been appointed, Major Hodson made no attempt to conceal his pleasure at leading his regiment to the battle lines.

"His appointment will prove extremely popular with the regiment in which he is known among the men as "Uncle Bill." Probably the "Bill" was in deference to the Major's known dislike of his given name, Vernon.

"Capt. W.E. Gillespie, of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, has been appointed D.A. and Q.M.G."

The three sons on active service and their dates of appointment were:

On 22 Nov 1939, Vernon Hodson vacated his appointment at H.Q. M.D. No. 2 and was transferred to Camp Valcartier. The following day, having reported for duty, he assumed command of The RCR. A few days later, on 26 Dec 1939, Hodson's promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel was confirmed.

The RCR concentrated its companies at Camp Valcartier in mid-November 1939 in preparation for proceeding overseas. The Regiment left Valcartier on 17 Dec 1939, proceeding to Halifax to board the Royal Mail liner H.M.T. Almanzora. On 21 Dec 1939, the regimental birthday, The RCR with 1,308 all ranks, sailed from Halifax. Disembarkation at Plymouth took place starting on 29 Dec and the Regiment proceeded to Aldershot.

The advance of the German armies through western Europe in the spring of 1940 provided the Regiment with its first operational movements. The first of these, commencing 23 May 1940, saw the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade, comprised of The RCR, the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, and the 48th Highlanders, moved to Dover, Eng., in anticipation of crossing the Channel to reinforce the forces withdrawing toward Dunkirk. Following a reconnaissance by General McNaughton, it was decided late the following day that reinforcement would not be executed. Hodson and The RCR, which had already boarded the S.S. Canterbury awaiting the order to proceed, returned to Aldershot with the 1st Cdn. Inf. Bde.. This road trip to the coast became known as the "Dover Dash."

Less than a month later, the 1st Cdn. Inf. Bde. again moved to a point of embarkation for a cross-channel operation. On 13 Jun 1940, The RCR proceeded to Plymouth where the Regiment boarded the S.S. Elmansour. Reaching the coast of France early the next morning, the Regiment disembarked at Brest. Entraining, The RCR passed through Laval and reached the area of Chateaubriant, Loire, France, about 300 kilometers inland, before they were ordered to return to the coast. The return journey to Brest was only accomplished because soldiers with railway experience in the unit were available to replace French trainmen who abandoned their duty. Re-embarking at Brest on the S.S. Canterbury on 15 Jun 1940, The RCR disembarked at Plymouth on 17 Jun 1940 and returned to Southampton.

The official history, The Canadian Army, 1939-1945, by C.P. Stacey, notes that the Brigade lost all its vehicles save one, a Hasty Pee station wagon in the Brest operation. Similarly, nearly all equipment less personal weapons was left on the continent. Stacey does detail a notable exception of the 1st Field Regiment's guns, which were saved along with a few anti-aircraft guns and British Army specialist vehicles. The history of The RCR by G.R. Stevens (1966), and the works of Strome Galloway, however, add to this list by the description of three of the Regiment's universal carriers, under command of Lieut. R.W. Moncel, being loaded aboard an unnamed ship for the return to England. To make up its losses on the Brest operation, the Regiment received three new carriers, and 44 new trucks within 10 days of the return from France.

Having been to France and returned, Hodson became the only officer of the Regiment to land in England and France on regimental service in both World Wars.

As the fall of 1940 approached, Hodson's days of regimental service were coming to a close. On 20 Oct 1940, he became the Acting Commander of the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade, a position he would occupy until 26 Nov 1940. Soon after relinquishing his temporary command, Hodson was posted from The RCR on 28 Nov 1940 to the Canadian Base Depot. On 4 Jan 1941, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier and taken on the strength of the 12th Cdn. Inf. Bde. as the Brigade Commander at Camp Borden. It would be another two weeks before he reached Canada to assume his new duties.

Hodson commanded the 12th Cdn. Inf. Bde. from 4 Jan 1941 to 24 Mar 1942. During this period he also assumed command of the Camp Sussex Area on 25 Aug 1941 and the Temporary Command of 4th Canadian Division from 25 Dec 1941 until 24 Mar 1942. By the time Hodson left the 4th Division, its conversion to an Armoured Division was underway. On 25 Mar 1942, Hodson was appointed the temporary commander of the 2nd Canadian Army Tank Brigade, a formation of the 5th Cdn. Armd Div., which was being formed at that time.

Hodson was soon on his way westward to a now appointment. On 9 Apr 1942, he was taken on the strength of Headquarters, Victoria and Esquimalt Fortress Area, at Esquimalt, B.C. He would hold this position until 20 May 1942. In its edition of 11 Apr 1942, The Globe and Mail carried an announcement of Hodson's newest appointments:

"Brig. Hodson Gets B.C. Post

"Ottawa, April 10 (CP).—Appointment of Brigadier Vernon Hodson, 57, Commander of the 12th Infantry Brigade until last month and veteran of nearly twenty-eight years' service with the Royal Canadian Regiment, as commander of a west coast defense area, was announced today by Defense Minister Ralston.

"He succeeds Colonel C.V. Bishop, Royal Canadian Artillery, who will assume a similar appointment on the east coast. Born in London, England, Brigadier Hodson was serving in the 16th Light Horse when the first Great War broke out, but when the Royal Canadian Regiment was brought up to strength immediately after the outbreak of war, he was on its strength and served with it in France.

"He was deputy-adjutant and quartermaster-general at Toronto when the present war broke out and shortly after was appointed Officer Commanding the Royal Canadian Regiment, with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

"He returned to Canada early in 1941 and was appointed commander of the 12th Infantry Brigade with rank of brigadier, an appointment he held for a year."

Hodson vacated the appointment of Fortress Commander, Esquimalt Defences, Pacific Command, on 20 May 1942 and assumed command of the 14th Cdn. Inf. Bde. at Terrace, B.C. Three months later, on 26 Aug 1942, Hodson moved again when he was transferred to No. 11 District Depot and placed on leave from 29 Aug to 27 Sep 1942. Following his leave he was appointed G.S.O. I (Trng) Pacific Command, and attached to H.Q. Pacific Command for all purposes.

On 15 Sep 1943, Hodson ceased to be attached to H.Q. Pacific Command and was taken on strength of No. 2 D.D at Toronto pending retirement. He proceeded on special retirement leave from 16 Sep 1943 to 4 Apr 1944.

Hodson was interviewed by a Personnel Officer as part of his discharge proceedings on 28 Mar 1944. The Service Interview Summary completed by the interviewing officer included:

"Service History: Joined 15 Aug 1913 with Permanent Force R.C.R. World War I 1914-18 a/Major. Continued on with Permanent Force through present war. Brigadier Off. i/c Trng. Pacific Command to retirement 4 Apr 1944."

The interview report noted Hodson's intended place of residence after retirement as Grimsby, Ont., and a hobby of gardening.

The Canada Gazette recorded his retirement from the Canadian Army: "Brig. V. Hodson (RCR) is struck off strength No. 2 District Depot C.A. (A.) and retired from the Canadian Army (Active) under the provisions of G.O. 256/43, to pension under the Militia Pensions Act, effective 4 Apr 1944."

Hodson's Discharge Certificate summarized his Second World War service as "Served in Canada, the United Kingdom, and France with The Royal Canadian Regiment, H.Q.M.D. No. 2, 12th Can. Inf. Bde., 4th Can. Armoured Bde., H.Q. 2nd Army Tank Bde., 14th Can. Inf. Bde., H.Q. Pacific Command, No. 11 D.D. and No. 2 D.D."

Vernon Hodson died on 26 Jul 1945 at Grimsby, Ontario. His death was not determined to be service related. On the day following Hodson's death, The Globe and Mail of Toronto published the an obituary note:

"Led RCR Overseas To France in 1940

"Hamilton, July 27 (Staff).— Brig. Vernon Hodson, permanent force soldier and former commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Regiment and the 1st Canadian Brigade overseas, died suddenly yesterday at his Grimsby home, "Wadleys." He was in his 61st year and had served with the RCRs for 33 years and in two wars.

"He held the rank of lieutenant when he went over in the first World War and was a major at the end. As commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Regiment, he took it overseas in December, 1939, and proceeded to France in June, 1940, just before Dunkerque.

"Brig. Hodson succeeded Brig. Armand Smith as commander of the 1st Canadian Brigade and later returned to Canada to take over the 12th Brigade, 4th Division, until it was changed to an armored division. Then he became commander of the 13th Brigade, 6th Division, on the Pacific Coast, He moved to Grimsby in 1944 on being retired on pension.

"Surviving, besides his widow, are three sons, Group Capt. Keith Hodson, OBE, DFC and Bar, and the American DFC, Major V. Hodson, RCR, of Halifax, and Major Ian A. Hodson, RCR, of Sussex, NB, both of whom served under their father earlier in the war.

"Full military honors will be accorded at the funeral Monday at Grimsby. High-ranking military officers and representatives of other services will attend."

Hodson is buried in the Queens Lawn Cemetery, Grimsby, Niagara Regional Municipality, Ont.

For his operational service in the Second World War, Hodson was eligible to receive the 1939-45 Star, the Defence Medal, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp, and the 1939-45 War Medal.

The April 1946 issue of the postwar Connecting File, at the time a typewritten news-sheet, included a mention of Mrs. Jean Hodson and a confirmation of Hodson's regimental nickname: "Mrs. V. Hodson has sent an excellent photograph of Brig. "Uncle Bill" Hodson, This also will be added to the Commanding Officers photographs in the Officers' Mess."

Brigadier W.J. Moogk mentions Hodson in a brief autobiographical article for the 1966 edition of The Connecting File. Posted to Halifax as a young officer, he recalls his company commander: "In Halifax we fell under the spell of that wonderful man "Uncle Bill" Hodson."

The second volume of regimental history, "The Royal Canadian Regiment; Volume Two, 1933-1966" by G.R. Steve (1966) includes brief sketches of each commanding officer. Hodson's reads as follows:

"Lt.-Col. V. Hodson.

"He joined The Regiment from the Militia in 1913. He left Canada with the Battalion in 1914 and served for thirteen months in France and Flanders, being wounded and earning a Mention in Despatches. In 1916 he was appointed Adjutant, a post which he retained during the post-war reorganization. In 1939 he took command of C Company at St. Jean. He succeeded to the command of The Regiment on November 26th 1939 prior to its departure overseas. A year later he returned to Canada where he was promoted Brigadier prior to his retirement. He died in July 1945.

Vernon and Jean Hodson's sons served throughout the Second World War and each had post-war service:

Jean Hodson survived her husband by four decades. She died at Kingston, Ont, in 1985.

Pro Patria


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