Hodson, Hubert Blake
He was the elder son of the Right Honourable Sir F.L. Charles Hodson MC, a judge, of Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. His mother, Lady Susan Hodson, was the daughter of Major W.G. Blake DL, of Mylnhurst, Sheffield. Hubert’s younger brother was also in the school, Charles Christopher Philip Hodson (D 1935-40). He came from Sandroyd to Mr. Goddard’s House in September 1932 and left in April 1938. He was in Sixth Book and a Commoner Prefect, and made his mark as a runner. In 1937 he was sixth in Steeplechase and first man home in the winning team. In 1938 he was eighth in Steeplechase, and rowed in Challenge IVs. During his time in the school, he had occasionally written verse, and a volume of poems written by him at school was printed for private circulation.
He had a year at Christ Church before the war, and joined the Queen’s Westminsters in 1939. From an OCTU he was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in 9th Lancers early in 1941. In the same year he went out to the Middle East as part of 1st Armoured Division.
In December 1941 the British were on the offensive in North Africa and the German forces, at the end of their supply lines, were retreating rapidly back into Libya. By the middle of January the last German garrison at Halfaya in Cyrenaica surrendered, with about 5,500 prisoners taken and on January 20th Benghazi fell. The main German forces had retired to Tripolitania. But fresh tanks had reached Rommel, and whilst he was close to his supply bases the British had out-run their own supplies; their tanks were unfit to continue, and they were very vulnerable to counter-attack.
Without consulting higher authority, Rommel launched a counter-offensive against Eighth Army on January 21st. The 21st Panzer Division quickly seized Mersa Brega, while 15th Panzer Division advanced to Wadi Faregh and then moved north towards Agedabia. Attempts by 1st Armoured Division to stop them failed. On January 22nd German panzers captured Agedabia and trapped part of the British 1st Armoured Division in the Antelat-Sannu area, destroying about seventy of its tanks. It was here that Hodson was killed in action at the age of twenty-two. He is buried in grave 2.C.21 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, on which the inscription contains the famous words:
They shall grow not old / As we that are left grow old / Age shall not weary them.
- Surname: Hodson
- Forenames or initials: Hubert Blake
- House: D
- Years in School: 1932-1938
- Rank: Lieutenant
- Regiment: 9th Queens Royal Lancers
- Date of Birth: 8th June 1919
- Date of Death: 23rd January 1942
- How Died: Killed in Action
- Location in War Cloister: Inner A1
- Decoration: NA
- Burial Site: Benghazi War Cemetery: Grave 2.C.21