William Raymond Hodges was born in the September quarter of 1921 (Merthyr T. Vol. 11a, Page 1793), the son of Ivor Augustus George & Minnie Hodges (nee Lunt), who had married at Merthyr Tydfil in the December quarter of 1919, Merthyr T. Vol. 11a, Page 1887), he was their 2nd son.
I do not know of William Raymond’s early or teen years, but the family are seen together for the first time on the 1939 National Register, which was taken on the 29th September 1939, so he was not in the armed forces on that date.
The 1939 census shows us the birthdates of his parents. Ivor, born 23rd May 1899 and Minnie born on Christmas Day 1897. Ivor was a “General Farm Labourer, Heavy Work, and Minnie was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties,“ this was the description of most married women who did not have a job.
They were living at 15, East Green , Welsh Land Settlement ,Hawarden, Flintshire, also there was “Our” William R Hodges, born the 21st Aug 1921, he was single and a “Male Labourer Public Works Contractors, Heavy Work.” Eira Hodges , William’s sister, was born on the 27th Feb 1933and was “At School.” Eira was to eventually marry Wilfred Griffiths at St. Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton in 1951. There is also a closed or redacted record, and I suspect it would be another sibling, perhaps Ethne Hodges. Ethne Hodges was to marry Arnold Commins in St. Bartholomew’s Church, Sealand in 1957. (Flintshire (Mold) C109/01/E269).
I do not know when he enlisted or volunteered, but the British armed forces and overseas deaths and burials Transcription, tell us his birth date as the 21st August 1921 and he was born in Aberdare, Glamorganshire. However in the passing of the Military Training Act in 1940 in which all males aged 20 and 21 years old were called up for 6 months military training, (see H.H.S. Raleigh, below), William Raymond fitted that criteria.
He was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time on the 28th April 1941, only 2 years after the war started. He was an Ordinary Seaman in training at HMS Raleigh (Shore Establishment), and was one of 65 young men who were killed when they were in an air-raid shelter at Raleigh. (See below for a description.)
HMS Raleigh (shore establishment) – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:-
HMS Raleigh is the basic training facility of the Royal Navy at Torpoint, Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is spread over several square miles, and has damage control simulators and fire-fighting training facilities, as well as a permanently moored training ship, the former HMS Brecon. Its principal function is the delivery of both New Entry Training & Basic Training.
HMS Raleigh was commissioned on 9 January 1940 as a training establishment for Ordinary Seamen following the Military Training Act which required that all males aged 20 and 21 years old be called up for six months full-time military training, and then transferred to the reserve.
During the Second World War, 44 sailors and 21 Royal Engineers were killed when a German bomb hit the air-raid shelter they were in at Raleigh on 28 April 1941. In 1944, the United States Navy took over the base to use as an embarkation centre prior to the Invasion of Normandy. Raleigh was transferred back to the Royal Navy in July 1944 to continue training seamen.
History Information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website:-
During the two world wars, the United Kingdom became an island fortress used for training troops and launching land, sea and air operations around the globe. There are more than 170,000 Commonwealth war graves in the United Kingdom, many being those of servicemen and women killed on active service, or who later succumbed to wounds. Others died in training accidents, or because of sickness or disease. The graves, many of them privately owned and marked by private memorials, will be found in more than 12,000 cemeteries and churchyards. Torpoint (Horson) Cemetery contains 74 Second World War burials. The war graves plot, within the western boundary, contains 65 of the graves, all of men of the Royal Navy and Royal Engineers who were killed in an air attack on the naval camp H.M.S. “Raleigh” on 28 April 1941. The rest of the burials are scattered throughout the cemetery.
HMS Raleigh remembers the Fallen – 08/11/2017
Extract from the above website:-
Of those, 44 sailors and 21 Royal Engineers, including Jack, lost their lives on 28 April 1941. It is thought that the engineers were part of two troops who were based in the Plymouth area, helping to prepare assault boats for the North Africa campaign.
TORPOINT-HORSON CEMETERY WAR MEMORIAL
World War 2 – Summary information
Compiled and copyright © Dave & Paula Kennington – 2004
The memorial is situated within the grounds of Horson cemetery and does not contain any names, as it is located amongst the graves of those who died during the bombing of HMS Raleigh on 28/04/1941.
HODGES, William Raymond, Ordinary Seaman D/JX 253971, Royal Navy. Died on 28 April 1941. Aged 19. Grave 36.
Photograph of a Marble Plinth and Cross below:-
ALL WHO LOST
THROUGH ENEMY, ACTION
IN H.M.S. RALEIGH
29TH APRIL 1941.
FROM ALL OFFICERS
C.P.O.’S AND SEAMEN,
MILITARY CASUALTIES OF THE BOMBING OF TORPOINT
24 MEN OF THE ROYAL ENGINEERS WHO DIED WHEN THEIR AIR RAID SHELTER AT HMS RALEIGH RECEIVED A DIRECT HIT.
William Raymond’s name is not on memorial roll.
William’s mother Minnie was to die in the March Quarter of 1951 (Hawarden, Flintshire Vol. 8a, Page 785). His father was to live many years to grieve the loss of his wife and young son. Ivor A.G. Hodges was to died on the 21st May 1978 and was Cremated on the 26th May 1978 in Chester, age 78 years.
William Raymond’s name was put forward to be remembered by his family, as he was well loved and missed so much.
DEEP IN OUR HEARTS A MEMORY IS KEPT OF ONE WE LOVED AND WILL NEVER FORGET