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Drivers Thomas & William Hodgson
Royal Field Artillery
Twin brothers Thomas and William Hodgson were born in Threlkeld in April 1896. Their father James was a lead miner and farmer, originally from Caldbeck. He had married Mary in Penrith around 1875 and they had settled in Caldbeck and had their first child, Mary Ann in 1879. Another daughter, Sarah, arrived in 1880, followed by Elizabeth Frances (1883), Jane (1885), and John James (1887). We believe that tragically Mary died giving birth to the twins in April 1896.
It appears at this point their father James moved to Glenridding to work at Greenside and brought his young sons with him. On the 29th January 1900 James married for a second time, to Frances Newbigging. Frances had been born Frances Brown, and was the sister of Richard Brown. She had married David Newbigging in 1878 and had three children, Jane (in 1879), Beatrice (1885) and David (1886). Sadly Beatrice had died in 1896 at the age of 9.
By 1901 Thomas and William were living with their father, stepmother and stepbrother David at 3 High Rake in Glenridding. By this time their other siblings had left home. Two of their sisters were working away as servants -
The twins would have attended Patterdale School alongside other children from the Rake Cottages including John Birkett, Frank Brown and Herbert and William Lake. Their father James died in 1908 in Glenridding and by 1911 both boys were living with their step mother at 4 High Rake Glenridding and were working at Greenside as Lead Ore Washers.
Unfortunately that is so far all the information we really have on the twins, other than the fact that we know they both served as Drivers in the Royal Field Artillery during the War. Given their family circumstances it’s quite likely that they joined up as soon as they were eligible but we have unfortunately found no details of their service records and are unable to specifically identify their medal index cards given the number of other William and Thomas Hodgsons who served in the Royal Field Artillery in the War. Likewise we have not been able to find any precise details of what became of them after the war, or even when they died. It is possible that they may emigrated as again there are various Thomas and William Hodgsons who appear on the outward bound passenger lists after the War. We believe their step brother David, who was living with them in 1901, left for New York in 1909 and may have ended up in Canada. A William Hodgson was living in Glenridding up until 1939 but there were other strands of the family from Matterdale. All we know for sure is that they are remembered together on the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour alongside their school friends and neighbours from High Rake, including Frank Brown who died in the War.
If you can add any further details to the stories of William and Thomas or their families please contact us.