World War I
John Lionel Hodges

Name: HODGES, JOHN LIONEL
Initials: J L
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment: Essex Regiment
Unit Text: "A" Coy. 10th Bn. Force: -->
Age: 24
Date of Death: 21/10/1916
Service No: 43339
Additional information: Son of Lionel and Mary Hodges, of The Ridge, Welwyn, Herts. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: IX. E. 2.
Cemetery: COURCELETTE BRITISH CEMETERY
John Lionel Hodges was a private who enlisted in the Essex Regt, 10th Battn A company, number 43339. He was killed in action, 21st Oct 1916 on the Somme offensive which lasted from July until November. He is buried in Courcelette Cemetery, the cemetery was begun in November 1916 (as Mouquet Road or Sunken Road Cemetery), and used until March 1917.
The original 74 burials are now parts of Plot I, Rows A to F. On 25 March 1918, Courcelette passed into German hands, but was retaken on 24 August. The cemetery was greatly enlarged after the Armistice when almost 2,000 graves were brought in, mostly those of men who died around Courcelette and Pozieres in 1916. There are now 1,970 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery.
John was the elder son of Lionel and Mary Hodgeswho lived at Marlbrooks Mountnessing and then later in Welwyn, Herts.
Below supplied by Robert Hodges
Private No.43339 "A" Coy, 10th Bn. Essex Regiment. Parents Lionel and Mary living at The Ridge, Welwyn, Herts in early 1920's when the memorial at Courcelette France was erected. He was probably originally in either the 1/8th "First Eighth" or 2/8th "Second Eighth Battalion Essex Regiment on coastal defence duties in Essex prior to being sent out in August 1916 to reinforce the 10th Battalion which had lost men in the early phases of the Battle of the Somme. This draft of men can be identified by their numbers in the 43000-43999 series. The HMSO volume "Soldiers Died, 1914-1919" for the Regiment states that he lived in Mountnessing and enlisted at Brentwood. An "In Memoriam" notice in the Essex Weekly News 19 October 1917 records that he was the Elder Son of Lionel Hodges of "Marlbrooks", Mountnessing.
The address given by the War Graves Commission is for Welwyn, but as these next of kin addresses were collected in the 1920's when permanent grave markers were to be made and registers printed, it is likely that the family may have moved from Mountnessing between 1916 and the mid-1920's. There is a very good history of the 10th Battalion which has been reprinted in recent years, "With the 10th Essex in France" by Major TM Banks and Captain RA Chell. This contains some photos which sadly no longer exist in the original. It gives details of the Battle of Regina Trench in which JL Hodges died. The Chelmsford Essex Regiment Museum holds a transcript copy of the unit War Diary, the original of which is in the National Archives at Kew. J L Hodges is not mentioned by name. [Ian Hook - Keeper of the Essex Regiment Museum]
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