Biography of Gunner Leslie Grosvenor Hodgkinson (20981)
“B” Bty, 58th Bde, Royal Field Artillery
Died 28th July 1917

Soldier

  • Name: Leslie Grosvenor Hodgkinson
  • Date of birth: 1894
  • Place of Birth: Billingborough, Lincolnshire, England
  • Date of Birth Registration: January – March 1894
  • Place of Birth Registration: Bourne, Lincolnshire England
Father

  • Name: Charles Grosvenor Hodgkinson
  • DOB: 1863
  • Place of Birth: Grantham, Lincolnshire, England
  • Occupation: Journalist (unattached)
Mother

  • Name: Mary Ann Burrows
  • DOB: 1869
  • Place Of Birth: Swinstead, Lincolnshire, England
  • Marriage: 1893 Nottingham District

Siblings: (Name), (DOB), (POB)

  • Leslie Grosvenor Hodgkinson, 1894, Billingborough
  • Charles Norman Hodgkinson, 1895, Billingborough
  • Thomas Basil Hodgkinson, 1897, Billingborough
Census

  • 1901: Leslie is living with his parents in the High Street, Billingborough, Lincolnshire
  • 1911: Leslie is living with Fanny Nelson at 14 Mansfield Grove, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. The census gives him an age of 17 and he is listed as an insurance Clerk.
Relatives in services

  • Leslie’s brother Charles served in the Royal Engineers but survived the war.
Marriage

  • No marriage for Leslie has been found and because of his age we can assume that he never had the opportunity to marry.

Newspaper Mentions

  • Grantham Journal Saturday 12th September 1914
    BILLINGBOROUGH
    LOCAL PATRIOTS – Several Billingborough and Horbling young men have rallied most patriotically to the nation’s call. Their names and the regiments in which they have enlisted are as follows:-H.J. Tebb, Royal Horse Artillery, R,W Tebb, Royal Horse Artillery and Herbert Tebb, 11th Hussars, sons of Mr. H. Tebb (Horbling); Leslie G Hodgkinson, Royal Field Artillery and C Norman Hodgkingson, Royal Engineers, sons of Mr. C.G. Hodgkinson; Ernest Smith, Royal Field Artillery and Albert Smith, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, sons of Mr. William Smith, Bootmaker. Mr Smith has also another son in the regular service, viz., Bandman Archie Smith, 3rd King’s Royal Rifles. The following have enlisted in Lord Kitchener’s New Army: – Fred Harrison, son of Mr. H.C. Harrison; Walter Nicholson, W. Carpenter (Horbling), Frank Corn, W. Watson (Horbling), Harris Ellingworth (Horbling), W. Swin (Horbling), H. Kemp (G.N. railway clerk, Billingborough), W. Birch and W.H. and J.F. Pattinson (Stow). Mr. John Marshall, hairdresser, who saw active service in the South African war, has also been accepted. The Yeomanry ranks include Erice Barber, son of All. J.S. Barber, of Rookfield. There are several others serving in the Regular Army. The recruits mentioned are in addition to the lads – mostly farm hands – who enlisted on Monday night.

 

  • Grantham Journal Thursday 24th December 1914
    BILLINGBOROUGH
    ROLL OF HONOUR- Several local members of Lord Kitchener’s New Army have been home on short leave last week and this, and others are to come after Christmas. In the majority of cases, the men look remarkably fit and well and have evidently benefited by their training. Here is a revised list of those serving their King and country:- Pte. H. Cook, Lincs. Regt. (wounded in battle): Pte H. Smith, 20th Hussars: Corpl. J.C. Johnson, Lincs. Regt.(wounded and invalided home); Pte A. Johnson, Lincs. Regt. Members of Kitchener’s Army:- A.L. Birch, Staffs. Regt.; F. Corn, Lincs. Regt.; R.S. Dawson, Royal Engineers; H. Everett, Yeomanry; H. Exton, Lincs. Regt.; G. Freeman, Army Service Corps; Leslie G. Hodgkinson, Royal Field Artillery; Norman Hodgkinson, Royal Engineers; Fred Harrison, Lincs. Regt.; Harold Hewitt, Army Service Corps; H. Johnson, Yorks Light Infantry; Harold Kemp, Lincs. Regt.; J.S. Marshall, Lincs. Regt.; Walter Nicholson, Lincs. Regt.; J. Rylott, Yeomanry; H. Tomlin, Staffs. Regt.; J. Pile, Yeomanry; Sid. ward, Yeomanry; J.S. Wilson, Yeomanry; N. Wing, Lincs. Regt.; G.C. Winckley, Public Schools and Universities Corps; C. Bates, Lincs. Regt.; J. Henfrey, Yeomanry; T. Stennett, Yeomanry; W. rippin, Yeomanry. Sergt. Albert E. Ward and Corpl Geo. H. Ward are in the band of the Royal Engineers.

 

  • Grantham Journal Saturday 21st August 1915
    BILLINGBOROUGH
    SUNSHINE AND FLIES- Writing from “Somewhere with the British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force” Bombardier Leslie G Hodgkinson, of the R.F.A. gives some interesting particulars of the difficulties encountered by the troops. He says their greatest troubles are the intense heat and the pestering habit of the flies. There is one continuous blaze of sunshine from the rising to the setting of the orb, and the hottest days in England are not in it with the heat out there. there are myriads of flies, covering their food every time it is served, and pestering them at all times, more especially when they want to snatch a few hours’ sleep. The sand blows about in blinding clouds, covering everything and they must have eaten quite a lot with their food. Although we, in England, have been having record rains this summer, they have not seen a spot since they left England at the beginning of July. In spite of the discomforts, the general health of the troops is good, and a fine spirit of courage and determination pervades the lot of them.

 

  • Grantham Journal Saturday 23rd June 1917
    BILLINGBOROUGH
    ON LEAVE- Mr. C. G. Hodgkinson’s eldest son, Leslie who is in the R.F.A. has returned home this week for his first leave, after being abroad for two years. After going through the Gallipoli campaign, he was sent to Egypt for six months, prior to being transferred to France, where he has been fighting since June 1916. His battery was engaged in all the big battles on the Somme and although he saw severe fighting at Arras, La Boisselle, Pozieres, Thiepval, Courcellette, Le Says, Bapaume and Bullecourt, his worst experiences were in the Ypres Sector. With his Artillery officer, he went over the top with the infantry and tells some thrilling accounts of what he saw after the explosion of the mines. In spite of the long and arduous work he had had to perform and the privations and hardships suffered on the Gallipoli Peninsula , he looks very little the worse for his experiences.

 

  • Sleaford Gazette and South Lincolnshire Advertiser Saturday 18th August 1917
    BILLINGBOROUGH
    ANOTHER LOCAL HERO KILLED. – Mr. C. G. Hogkinson on Saturday received the distressing information that his eldest son, Leslie, who was in the R.F.A., had been killed in action.  The news came through a comrade in the same battery, but at the time of writing official notification had not been received.  Before the war he was cashier clerk in the Nottingham branch of the North British and Mercantile Insurance Co., and he joined the Forces within a month of the outbreak of hostilities from a “sense of duty”, as he said in a letter home after enlistment.  After going through about 9 months’ training, his Brigade attached to the 11th Division, went out to the Dardanelles.  Following the evacuaion of the Pensinula, he remailed in Egypt for about 6 months, and in June, 1916, came to France. Here his battery was almost incessantly in action, and it took part in all big battles on the Somme before being sent into Flanders, and he fell, it is supposed, while with the guns in the great push N.E. of Ypres.  He had only been back in France about 5 weeks after having his leave (the first for over 2 years).  He acquired the rank of Corporal and was very popular among the men as a N.C.O. but he resigned his stripes on sentimental grounds only a short time ago.  Although he had experienced many hardships and privations he was not heard in complain, and his letters home were always most cheerfully written.  From the outest he was inspired with a feeling of confidence that he would get safely through, so that his friends at home were naturally buoyed up by the wonderful spirit he showed.  But also, it was not to be.  His short life was charecterised by a simplicity of heart, by winning disposition and a humility and singleness of of purpose which drew out the rspect and admiration of all who knew him.  His singular lovable and tractable dispostion and his unselfish consideration for other people, will be cherished long after he has gone.  It is sad to contemplate that such a promising life, (like thousands of others), should be cut short at the age of 23.  His parents have received numerous expressions of sympathy from a wide circle of friends.  Mr. Hodgkinson’s two other sons are also in the Army.  The second (Norman) who is in the R.E.’s, has been in France since August, 1915, and the youger one (Basil) after being rejected for defective sight 15 months ago, was recently called up again for re-examination and passed into the Army.  He is now attached to the A P.C. and is working in the Records’ Office at Lichfield.

 

  • Sleaford Gazetteand South Lincolnshire Advertiser Saturday 25th August 1917
    DEATH IN MEMORIAM
    HODGKINSON – Killed in action in France, July 28th (officially notified), Leslie Grosvenor, eldest and dearly-loved son of Charles Grosvenor and Mary A. Hodgkinson, of Billingborough, aged 23.
    The family desire to return thanks for many kind enquiries and messages of sympathy.

 

  • War Office Weekly Casualty List Tuesday 11th September 1917
    Weekly List No. 6
    Daily List of September 3rd (No. 5354) in Eleven Parts.
    PART III.
    WARRANT OFFICERS, NON-COMMISSIONS OFFICERS AND MEN.
    KILLED.
    ROYAL FRIELD ARTILLERY
    Hodgkinson 20981 Gnr. L. G. (Billingborough)

     

    Military Records

    Attestation Papers

    • None found
    Soldier’s Died In The Great War

    • These records show that Gunner Leslie Grosvenor Hodgkinson, 20981, Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery was killed in action on 28th July 1917 in the Western European Theatre in France and Flanders.

    Pension Records

    • Available

    Effects Left To

    • Father Charles G
    Medals

    • The British Medal
      The Victory Medal
      The 15 Star

    Memorials

    • UK:
    • Billingborough, Roll of Honour in Billingborough St Andrews Church
    • Nottingham All Saints

     

    • Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
    • In memory of Gunner Leslie Grosvenor Hodgkinson (20981)
      “B” Bty, 58th Bde, Royal Field Artillery who died on 28 July 1917 Age 23
      Son of Charles Grosvenor Hodgkinson and Mary A Hodgkinson, of Billingborough, Lincs
      Remembered with honour, Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

    © Picture taken by South Lincolnshire War Memorials

    © Picture taken by South Lincolnshire War Memorials

    Military Service Timeline

    • Leslie enlisted into the army at Nottingham in September 1914. He was assigned as a Gunner to the Royal Field Artillery and posted to the 58th Brigade.

      The brigade was arranged in to four four-gun batteries and Leslie was posted to B Battery.

      The brigade set sail in 1915 for their first overseas posting as part of the 11th (Northern) Division, arriving in Galipoli at Anzac Cove on the 9th August 1915. Within one week they were moved to the left flank of operations at Sulva Bay and command transferred to the 10th (Irish) Division.

      The bridage remained in Galipoli until the 18th December 1915. Their next posting was Alexandria in Egypt, which is a familiar story for many brigades leaving Galipoi, reaching there on the 2nd January 1916 for a 6 month posting.

      The brigade was next posted to France for the Somme offensive and Leslie’s battery was engaged in all the big battles on the Somme and he saw severe fighting at Arras, La Boisselle, Pozieres, Thiepval, Courcellette, Le Says, Bapaume and Bullecourt.

      In late November 1916 each A, B, and C Batteries of the 58th Brigade Royal Field Artillery were expanded by a two-gun section.

      The Brigade was then posted to the Ypres Salient and eventually Leslie managed to obtain home leave at the end of June 1917.

      Leslie as promoted to the Rank of Bombadier at some point in his career, the Artillery equivalent of the rank of Corporal.

      After the leave he returned to his battery on the Ypres Salient, unfortunately the diaries for the 58th Brigade for July 1917 are missing and so we do not know the final movements of the Battery before Leslie was killed in action.
      On the 18th July 3000 guns were used in an artillery barrage which lasted over 10 days and was designed to weaken the enemy defences before the infantry attack commenced on the 31st July signifying the start of the battle of Passchendaele (3rd Battle of Ypres).

      Leslie Hodgkinson was killed on the 28th July 1917.

    Sources

    • WW1 Soldier’s Records (www.ancestry.co.uk)
      Commonwealth War Graves Commission
    • British Newspaper Archive.

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