Private 49941 John Hodgkins

Killed in Action on Thursday, 20th September 1917, age unknown.
Commemorated on Panel 31 to 34 and 162 and 162A and 163A of Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

1st/6th Bn., The King's (Liverpool Regiment). 165th Brigade of 55th Division.
Formerly 36930 North Staffordshire Regiment.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/836811/

Genealogical Data

We know than John's mother was Sarah J. Hodgkins, the only local match of Sarah J. Hodgkins with a son named John is shown below. This is just the best match, and not proof. If this is the case, there is little obvious Tipton connection with this family.

1901 Census
2 Price Street, West Bromwich, Staffs.
John Hodgkins (36, Iron Caster, born West Bromwich), his wife Sarah Jane (33, born Cannock), and their 5 children: John (8, born West Bromwich), Mary A. (6, born West Bromwich), Sarah Jane (4, born West Bromwich), Mona W. (2, born West Bromwich), and Edward (3 months, born West Bromwich).

1911 Census
73 Trinity Road, West Bromwich, Staffs.
John Hodgkins (46, Moulder, born West Bromwich), his wife Sarah Jane (43, born Cannock), and their 8 surviving children of 9: John (18, Truck Checker at L & NW Railway, born West Bromwich), Mary Ann (16, Gold Polisher, born West Bromwich), Sarah Jane (14, Warehouse Girl, born West Bromwich), Mona Ward (12, School, born West Bromwich), Edward (10, born West Bromwich), Frederick (5, born West Bromwich), Ivy Violet (2, born West Bromwich), and Thomas (3 months, born West Bromwich).

Personal Data

After John's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £1/5/6d (1 pound, 5 shillings and 6 pence); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee, Sarah J., in February 1918. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother, Sarah J., in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that John had enlisted within the previous 12 months.

Action resulting in his death

The 1/6th Battalion King’s (Liverpool Regiment) was one of the 4 battalions in the 165th Brigade, all 4 battalions were King’s (Liverpool Regiment), referred to as 'KLR'. The 165th Brigade was one of the 3 Brigades of the 55th Division. In 1917, the 55th Division was sent to Ypres to play its part in the Third Battle of Ypres, during the summer and autumn of 1917. The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, which started on the 20th September 1917, was just part of the overall Third Battle of Ypres. It was here that John was killed.

The objective for the 165th Brigade was to attack positions just over a mile north-west of Zonnebeke (itself 4 miles north-east of Ypres) and to capture the German strongpoints of Gallipoli, Hill 35, Iberian, Delva, Capitol and Hill 37. The 1/7th KLR was to lead the attack on the right, with the 1/9th KLR on their left. The 1/5th and 1/6th KLR were to act as the second wave. The initial attack of the 1/7th and 1/9th KLR started at 5.40am, each battalion attacking in four waves fifty yards apart, under a creeping artillery and machine gun barrage. The 1/5th and 1/6th KLR launched the second wave of the attack at 8.35am.

The War Diary of the 1/6th King’s Liverpool Regiment for the 20th September 1917 provides an account of the day’s action:
“165 Brigade attacked the Green Line from 100 yards South of KANSAS CROSS to a point 100 yards East of WATEREND HOUSE with 9th & 7th KLR to take first objective, and 6th & 5th KLR to take GREEN LINE. Zero-hour 5.40 a.m. The 9th & 6th KLR became heavily involved in the fight for Hill 35 which was finally captured after a stiff fight, the 6th consolidating strong points in Hill 35 including LENS. Capt. Eastwood, 2/Lt. Phillips, and 2/Lt Spratt were killed on Hill 35. 2/Lt Wallington and all No. 1 Platoon of “A” Coy were killed in a gallant attempt to capture a strongpoint to the South of Hill 35. The 1/5th Loyal North Lancs & the 1/5th South Lancs come up to reinforce, and Hill 37 was captured by them and the survivors of this Battalion. Towards dusk a strong enemy Counter Attack in Hill 37 was beaten off with heavy casualties to the enemy.”

The 1/6th KLR had 62 Other Ranks killed on the day, John Hodgkins amongst the number. Like the majority of these men, Johh Hodgkins has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, about 2 miles from where he fell.

Newspaper Cuttings