Tag Archives: Antwerp

Guy Proudfoot Cooke

Thought to be an image of Guy Proudfoot Cooke from a collection of photographs belonging to Thomas Otto Hartshorn, Able Bodied Seaman

Guy Proudfoot Cooke was at Westminster School for a relatively short period of time having joined Ashburnham House in 1909 from Uppingham School. His father was a solicitor and at the age of 16 he left the school to enter his father’s office. He was articled to him in March, 1913 and in the same month signed up as aRoyal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

On the outbreak of war he was called up and as a leading seaman took part in the operations at Antwerp in October, 1914. He was promoted to the rank of Sub-Lieutenant in the Nelson Battalion that winter and in the following year went out as part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force to attack the Gallipoli Peninsula.

The forces landed on 25th April but struggled to get a hold on the peninsula. What happened next is recorded inThe Despatch of General Sir Ian Hamilton, Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force:


‘On the night of May 2nd a bold effort was made to seize a commanding knoll [known as Baby 700] in front of the centre of the line. The enemy’s enfilading machine guns were too scientifically posted, and 800 men were lost without advantage beyond the infliction of a corresponding loss to the enemy.’

Guy Proudfoot wasreported missing the following morning but it seems clear that he was killed in action in this battle. His body was never recovered. His 1914 Star,a campaign medal for service in France or Belgium between 5 August and 22 November 1914, was issued to his father in June 1919.

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George William Houghton Hodgson

The eldest of three brothers to attend Westminster, George Hodgson had a seemingly unremarkable time at the school. He was involved in the literary society, as well as being a decent cricket player, though seemed to concentrate more on his school work than anything else. The same can’t be said of his time at Cambridge, where he started at Trinity College in 1907. He spent a lot of time in his first 2 years coxing the third college boat, at which he was apparently so bad that “he has been thanked by the county council for so ably assisting their work of widening the river at that point”. An interest in Beagling, which he won trophies for, followed by some illness meant he did little coxing in his final two years.

He went straight into the army, having received his commission from the university, where he joined the Border Regiment in September 1911 as a second lieutenant. The years before the war were spent in England, but in 1914 his battalion was put under control of the 7th Division at Lyndhurst, before leaving for Belgium at the beginning of October. As with Tomlinson’s battalion, they assisted with the evacuation of Antwerp before moving to Ypres, where Hodgson spent the next month. He was made a lieutenant a few days after they arrived.

A military hospital in Boulogne, formerly a Casino, photographed in 1916 (IWM)
A military hospital in Boulogne, which was formerly a Casino, photographed in 1916 (IWM)

Both he and his younger brother were injured around the same time, though it was George who had the worst of it. While his brother was invalided home, he was taken to the military hospital in Boulogne, where he died of his wounds 4 days later, on the 6th of November 1914, aged 26. His service was distinguished after his death by mention in John French’s despatch the following January.

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