8th Border Rgt in the Trenches

There  is general sympathy in Keswick and district with the relatives of Corpl Alan Hodgson, age 21,  8th Border Rgt, youngest son of Mr Timothy Hodgson, Builder, Keswick, who it is feared has lost his life in France.

The information was conveyed to Mr Hodgson in the following letter, written by * W G Cassels, a friend of Corpl Hodgson -

" Your son went out with the scout officer and two other men on a patrol last night at 9-30 pm, and neither your son or the officer have been seen since.  I was not in the line at the time, and heard about this sad case only at 1am, but I have done my best to try and find out what happened.

   The object of the patrol was to capture a German listening post ( these posts consist of a group of two or three men lying in a position 20 or 30 yards forward of the German parapet )  this particular post is at a point where our line is about 130 yards from the German line,  the patrol went out about 9-30 on the night of the 20th ( Jan 1916 ).

As was the custom two men were left about half way across to protect the retirement of the two men in front. the night was very clear, but patrols had gone out on nights as clear before, unfortunately the Germans were more alert than usual as we have worried them considerably of late.

Well the two men who were half way over saw your son and the officer approach close up to the German wire which was near the listening post, suddenly three or four flare lights went up, and a volley of about eight shots were fired.    One of the two was seen to turn over and a groan was heard which the other two men said came from your son. Immediately some more flares went up, and more shots were fired, one of the two men dashed back to report and get a rescue party, while the other stood by to watch, he saw a party of four Germans cross the parapet and approach your son and the officer. A rescue party led by a NCO got as far forward as possible but were unable to see anything.

Next morning we searched searched the place from all sides with telescopes, but could see nothing except that a wire entanglement had been pulled to one side, as if to allow a party to pass through.  we are hoping the Germans will put up a notice, as they have done on previous occasions to say whether these two were killed or what happened.  May I offer you my heartfelt sympathies for this sad event, Corporal Hodgson has been in my platoon all along and has done some good work, he was a great favourite with the men.

You may be sure that if anything more comes to light I will let you know at once, I will try to arrange his personal belongings to be taken over by some man going on leave as there will be less chance of getting lost. "


* Captain Wilfred Gardiner Cassels age 22    8th Border Rgt  was KIA  13 July 1916

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