W. N. Hodgson Poems

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W. N. Hodgson
William Noel Hodgson MC (3 January 1893- 1 July 1916) was an English poet of the First World War. During the war, he published stories and poems under the pen name Edward Melbourne. Hodgson was the fourth and youngest child of the Bishop of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich. He entered Durham School in September 1905 having been elected to a King's Scholarship in the June of that year. He steered in the 2nd crew in 1907; was in the XI, 1910, 1911; and in the XV, 1910. He won the Steeplechase in 1909 and 1911. He left Durham in July 1911, with Galipoli war poet and friend Noel Oxland, for Oxford University where he was an Exhibitioner of Christ Church, Oxford. He obtained a First Class in Classical Moderations in March 1913 and decided to stay and study the Greats. Known as "Smiler" by his friends, he volunteered for the British Army on the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 and served in the 9th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment. For the first year of the War he was training in England, before landing at Le Havre on 28 July and being sent to trenches near Festubert. His first major offensive came on 25 September during the Battle of Loos. He was mentioned in despatches, and awarded the Military Cross for holding a captured trench for 36 hours without reinforcements or supplies during this battle and he was subsequently promoted to be a lieutenant. Although he had been writing poetry from at least 1913, he started to first publishing stories and poems in columns during the beginning of 1916 under the name Edward Melbourne. Having returned to England after the Battle of Loos, he was position with his Battalion in front line trenches at Fricourt in February 1916, before moving a kilometre or so to the trenches opposite the town of Mametz in April. The trench was named Mansell Copse, as it was in a group of trees. He was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme when attacking German trenches near Mametz. He was Bombing Officer for his battalion during the attack, and was killed by a machine gun positioned at a shrine whilst taking grenades to the men in the newly captured trenches. The bullet went through his neck, killing him instantly. His servant was found next to him after the offensive had ended. He is buried in Devonshire Cemetery in Mansell Copse.

before action
By all the glories of the day
And the cool evening's benison,
By that last sunset touch ... [read poem]
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