Tag Archives: Trinity College Cambridge

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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Frederick Roger John Tomlinson

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Tomlinson after winning the Greaze in 1909

Frederick Roger John Tomlinson attended Westminster from 1905 to 1910, boarding inGrant’s for a number of years with Lawrence Tanner, whose diaries tell us a lot about Tomlinson’s time at the school. He was not really one for sports, but he did make a stir winning the Greaze two years in a row, even appearing on the front cover of the Daily Graphic after the second victory. Tanner also tells us that he broke a window in Grant’s with a snowball, and got into a number of fights while he was at the school.

At Trinity College, Cambridge, he continued to make an impression where he was apparently an ardent motorist, originally driving a car the Elizabethan reported as being “of dubious make and more dubious date; it is bizarre”. Later in his time at Cambridge, he rowed for his college and focused more on motorbikes, which he was very passionate about. In 1912 he is described as sporting a very impressive moustache, though sadly we have no photographs of him from this time.

We know that Tomlinson was first involved in the army through the cadet corps at Westminster, in which he was made a Lance-Corporal, in November 1908. He received a commission and went out to Belgium early in the war, probably landing in Zeebrugge on October 6th 1914, as part of the 1st Battalion, the South Staffordshire Regiment. The Division they were with was tasked with assisting with the defence of Antwerp, but the city was already falling to German forces when they arrived. Instead, they aided with the evacuation of the Belgian army, before moving to Ypres.

Tomlinson was killed on October 26th, just a few days after his 23rd birthday. Casualties at that time were incredibly high, and there was confusion surrounding his fate. He was reported in The Times as wounded, and the Elizabethan of June 1915 says this: “In October he was reported missing. It is now known that he was wounded, and while he was on the way to the field hospital, was struck by a shot or splinter and killed.” He has no known grave, and is commemorated with 54,000 others on the Menin Gate in Ypres.

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Grants in 1909. Tomlinson is in the centre, behind the housemaster.

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