He was born in 1895 and was the son of farmer William and Mary E Hodgkinson of Bryn Fynnon Farm Sychdyn. In the 1901 census 5 year old William lived with his parents and his 6 siblings (Jane (known as Jenny) 14, Ada Mary 12, John 10, Elizabeth Gwendoline (known as Gwennie) 8, Benjamin 3 and James 7 months). Family members know that Willie was very proud to be the only one of the boys to have been given two christian names.
Two of his siblings played their own part in the war. His brother John was a soldier and his sister Ada was a Red Cross nurse. There is more information about these two. Click on the links to find out more. Gwennie was disabled and spent her life in a wheelchair. She was bright and intelligent and was much loved by her family. James, the youngest who worked in a bank died as a very young man, from TB. Ben was disappointed not to be called for military service. His father successfully applied for exemption for him to work on the farm.
Despite appealing for exemption from military service because he was needed on the family farm, William served 11 months in the army. His correspondence with his mother and his siblings was regular and extensive, revealing a close and loving family. We reproduce much of that correspondence below.
Willie was ‘Killed in Action’ (by a sniper) in Masnieres near Cambrai in France. The first day of the Battle for Cambrai was on the 20th November 1917. He died on the 21st. Aged 22