Contributed by: Michael, on 2008-11-13
|Year of Birth||1893|
|Year of Death||1983|
|Regiment||York and Lancaster Regiment|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Chesterfield, Derbyshire|
Ernest Hoddle, who was my Grandfather, enlisted 11th Sept. 1914 in Sheffield, survived the war and died on 1st March 1983,
He was wounded on the first Day of the Battle of the Somme when The Sheffied City Battalion were ordered to attack Serre.
He was hit in the back, early in the battle, took cover, and was one of only 23 men who were collected at nightfall.
He sent his copy of the letter from Lieut.General Sir Alymer Hunter Wilson (which had been written to the troops on the 4 th July 1916) home to his father, with his personal comments of the battle.
Went into action 800 came out with 31, 'Hell can only describe it'
Wounded again, at Bolsinghe Ypres 20 Sept 1917.
Finally at the second battle of the Marne on 20 July 1918.
The last wound ,which was more serious, was by shrapnel which took away part of the calf of his left leg and led to 4 months in the Hopital Temporaire de Jeand'Heurs in Lisle-en Rigault.
He kept a diary through certain periods of the war, some parts which have survived (but are written in shorthand, as before the war Ernest had been a clerk) He describes the last battle and the treatment in hospital that he received, but told it at its best when he wrote a letter home on August 18th 1918 to his wife. and told her of the battle.
We went over the top at eight o'clock, and I should think I went a kilometre and a half before I got hit, and so I should think it would be perhaps half past nine or ten o'clock when I was wounded.
Well then I must have been lying there some time when I came to my senses, and then I began to crawl back but it was a very slow job and I lost a tremendous amount of blood.
Eventually I was picked up by a Frenchman who carried me on his back a long way through a storm of bullets, to a place of safety.
I got took to a French Red Cross station and I was there a long time , perhaps till 3 in the afternoon, waiting for an ambulance to take me away.
I think it will be my feet that will be cold as I cannot get them warm at all. Of course the reason is I have lost so much blood. Pints and Pints. I naturally looking a bit pale and haggard as you suggest, but by the time you see me I will be rosy as rosy.
But it was the memory of the Battle of the Somme that had the most effect on him
I remember him saying to me, on a 1st July, probably sometime in the 1970's
"I remember this day in 1916, I lost a lot of good friends that day."