Family story contributed by Brian Gudgeon
Ernest Francis Hodge was born on 24 November 1880, to Ernest Francis Hodge and Louisa Sophia Hodge (nee Pike), in Croydon. Prior to the outbreak of the First World War, Ernest worked as a Signal Lad for the London, Brighton & South Coast railway company, starting on 18 April 1905 at Anerley station (now in the London Borough of Bromley). Over the next three years, he was transferred to Norwood Junction and Crystal Palace (where he worked as a Telegraph Clerk). According to the UK Railway Employment Records 1833-1956, Ernest was dismissed on 11 February 1909 for cloak room ticket irregularities.
In the 1908-1933 Surrey Recruitment Registers, Ernest had moved on to be a Milk Carrier (living with his parents at 15 Ingatestone Road, South Norwood) before enlisting with the 4th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, at Kingston on Thames. He was described as being 5ft 4inches, weighing 115lb, with grey eyes and light brown hair.
Ernest’s First World War Service record states that he served as a Driver for the Royal Army Service Corps (service number T/289678). He was then promoted to T/Sergeant. [Soldiers with a ‘T’ prefixed to their number usually served in Horse Transport]. In 1915, Ernest married Florence White; the witnesses were Alfred Charles Hodge (brother), Charles Robert Hodge (father) and Mary Amelia Hodge (sister). The couple lived at 57 Elmers Road, Woodside, Croydon.
At the time of the 1939 Register, Ernest was working as a Milk Salesman and living at 12 Hawthorne Avenue, Croydon.
He died in 1977.
Read the story of his brother, Alfred Charles Hodge: https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/alfred-charles-hodge/
Read the story of his brother-in-law, Alfred Day (husband of Mary Amelia Hodge): https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/story/alfred-wilton-day/