Frank Heach HODGSON

HODGSON, Frank Heach

Service Numbers: 307, 7345
Enlisted: 22 August 1914, Blackboy Hill, Western Australia
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station
Born: Omeo, Victoria, 29 October 1887
Home Town: Collie, Collie, Western Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Miner
Died: Natural causes (heart attack), Kooweerup, Victoria, 15 December 1945, aged 58 years
Cemetery: Springvale Garden of Remembrance & Crematorium, Victoria
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World War 1 Service

22 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 307, Blackboy Hill, Western Australia
2 Nov 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 307, 11th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
2 Nov 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 307, 11th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Fremantle
23 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 7345, 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
23 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 7345, 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, HMAT Ceramic, Melbourne
15 Oct 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 7345, 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station

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Biography contributed by Lorraine Martin

Frank Heach Hodgson was a miner.  Prior to the war he worked in Hillgrove, Northern NSW where he met my grandmother, Caroline Smith.  He moved to Collie in WA for work and whilst there war broke out.  He enlisted with many of his co-workders in the 11th Battalion of the AIF, the first to be raised in Australia.  His Service initial service number 307 reflects that he was among the first few hundred enlistments.  They sailed to Egypt for training although there were times for relaxation as is shown in the photo of the 11th Battalion sitting on the Cheop's pyramid - Frank included.  

Frank found himself in the first day landing at Gallipoli.  His task was to transfer stores to shore.  He later described it as the worst day in the whole five years of war, reflecting the appauling shock of warfare and the great loss of life.

In July 1915 he accompanied a ship of wounded soldiers back to Australia.  Family stories say that the destination was sealed until they were at sea and the orders to return to Australia were opened.

In Australia, Frank married Caroline Smith in Muswellbrook, NSW. I can hardly imagine the situation of marrying your sweethear only to say farewell again in November as Frank sailed again to return to the theatre of war.  It seems that at this time he was transferred, or re-enlisted under a new service no 7345, and was now part of the Australian Medical Corps.  He returned initially to Gallipoli and served with the 1st Australian Stationary Hospital at Lemnos and the 2nd Australian Stationary Hospital.   

After the withdrawal from Gallipoli he was sent to the Western Front in France and served at the 2nd Casualty Clearing Station at Trois Arbres near Bailleul.  This was moved to Blendecque in April 1918 as the Germans advanced.  

Frank was debilitated by mustard gas attack and was sent to Crief in Scotland to recouperate.

After the war he returned to his new young wife but as a much altered man.  Family members talk of him being 'hard' on the family, and he suffered nightmares over many years.  Frank took his young wife to Kooweerup, Victoria with a 6 week old baby son, and took up dairy farming, naming the farm 'Crief' after the Scottish town where he had been billeted and cared for.  Both Frank and Caroline were very involved in community and public life. Frank MC'd local dances while Caroline played the dance tunes on the piano.  Frank was also involved in local politics but found it difficult to farewell boys leaving for the next war in his offical capacity as Shire representative knowing what they would be sent to. This must have been especially poignant as this included his younger son Libus who joined the RAAF in 1943.  In 1945 he was elected President of the Shire of Cranbourne but died only 3 months into his term, from a heart attack. He was survived by his wife who lived until 1968, and by his two sons and a daughter.