109400 L/Cpl. Henry Boyd Hodge was born in Clontibret, Co. Monaghan, Ireland, on November 30th, 1880, to Robert and Sarah Hodge.


A student at the time of signing on in Toronto, on January 20th, 1915, Henry had seen previous military action with the South African Imperial Yeomanry, and the Cape Mounted Police. He subsequently attested into the 4th CMR as part of the original intake.


Henry's younger brother, 106021 Pte. Robert Samuel Hodge, was born on August 2nd, 1882, also in Clontibret, Ireland. He was engine man by trade, had seen militia experience with the 34th Fort Garry Horse and military experience with the 1st Battalion Iriish Guards and the Mounted Infantry. Robert attested into the 1st CMR, in Winnipeg, on February 6th, 1915. He was transferred to the 4th CMR, one of only two men to have come from the 1st CMR, on October 12th, 1915.


Becoming Lance Corporal on March 28th, 1915, Henry was one of 14 serving clergymen in the 4th CMR. Alas, he was the first to lose his life - indeed, he was only the 3rd man to die in service of the regiment, being injured by shaprnal wounds to the neck from an air burst over his billet - on December 1st, 1915.


Henry passed away in the care of the No.3 Canadian Field Ambulance that day. He was mentioned once in S. G. Bennett's 4th CMR History, of 1926, where it says of him, for the period when the 4th CMR took up its first responsibility for a part of the British front line at Hill 63, Ploegsteert, from November 23rd, 1915:


"With this tour the Regiment began to experience its first serious casualties. On December 1st, while in the forward area a shell burst over "A" squadron billets killing Private W. I. Fulford and wounding five men. L.-Corporal H. B. Hodge died of wounds and was buried at St. Omer. He had been acting as Chaplain to the Regiment and was one of fourteen clergymen who served in the ranks of the 4th C. M. R."


He is also mentioned just the once directly in the 4th CMR's War Diary, on November 13th, 1915:


"Clear and cold. Muster parade at Regimental Hqrs 9:30am followed by divine service by L/Corp. Hodge."


and indirectly on December 1st, 1915:


"Grey and rainy. Heavy enemy bombardment. Shell burst over "A" squadron billets HILL 63 killed two men." [Pte. W. Fulford and L/Cpl. Hodge]


L/Cpl. Henry Boyd Hodge is one of 8 men of the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles known to lie at rest in the Berks Cemetery Extension, Commines-Warneton, Hainaut, in Belgium.


It is interesting to note that the date of death, December 23rd, 1915, cited on the above Varsity Magazine picture article from the University of Toronto, is inaccurate. The War Diary, the Regimental History, the CWGC database, as well as Henry's headstone, are very clear on the date as being December 1st, 1915. Further digging in the records shows the inaccurate date coming from the date the entry of death his was finally placed in his formal service file.


A week after Henry's death, sadly, his brother Robert was seriously wounded by gun shot wounds to the head, neck and back, on December 6th, 1915. The regiment was providing working parties to the front line area around Ploegsteert at that time, having just come out of the front line trenches. He passed away in the care of No. 10 Stationary Hospital, St. Omer, on December 10th.


Pte. Robert Samuel Hodge lies at rest in the Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, in St. Omer, France.


Image credits and biography details: the Henry Boyd Hodge entry in The Canadian Virtual War Memorial (CVWM), Veterans Affairs, Canada, database.


Service detail extracts from the 4th CMR Regimental History, S. G. Bennett, 1926 and the Regimental War Diaries, Library and Archives Canada.


Additional biography details from L/Cpl. Henry Hodge and Pte. Robert Hodge's full service files, Library and Archives Canada.


Biography excerpts courtesy of Mike Kavanagh.