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Topics /Wartime/People/Sam Hodges 

SAMUEL HODGES

4859871 Lance Corporal Sam Hodges was born on the 1st September 1918 the son of Thomas and Sarah Ann (nee. Hinds) from Top Road, Griffydam. On leaving school (aged 14), he got a job at New Lount Colliery then eventually an apprenticeship at Walter Moss & Son, Coalville as a bricklayer.

Two weeks out of his apprenticeship, Sam was called up for enlistment in the Army on September 15th 1939 (aged 21) and went to Glen Parva barracks in South Wigston in the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment.

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Training At Glen Parva Barracks (Samuel Hodges Top Row, Centre)

In 1940 Sam was posted to India and in early 1941 was sent to the island of Penang, Malaysia. He then moved onto the mainland to Sunger Patani where the battalion marched 80 miles north near to the Thailand border in readiness for attack by the Japanese. The Japanese launched their attack soon after with their tanks and heavy mortar. Sam’s company ‘B Coy’ had orders to withdraw and became isolated from their battalion. B Coy kept moving south hoping to catch up with their battalion but on reaching Kampong, and with Sam being one of only 7 men surviving, they were captured by the Japanese.

Sam was taken to the Taiping Jail and in June 1942 transferred to Kuala Lumpur jail. He was then sent out to the battalion living in Changi Village and was in Singapore until May 1943. He was later packed off on the train to Thailand to follow his colleagues working on the Thai/Burma Railway. After completion of the railway, he was sent to Kanchanaburi camp before being transferred to an open camp in Singapore called Sime Road. He was then moved to Changi Jail where he remained until his liberation.

On the 15th of August 1945, Japanese Emperor Hirohito announced over the radio that Japan had accepted its fate of surrendering unconditionally to the Allied forces, marking the beginning of the end of the war and occupation. The official instrument of surrender was formally signed on September 2nd 1945 on board the USS Missouri. 

 

Sam set sail on the Monowai, one of the first ships out of Singapore, and arrived at Liverpool docks on the 8th Oct 1945.

 

A menu dated 18th September 1945 was kept by Sam and recently discovered by his son Michael. The names and addresses on the back of the menu have been identified by Sam's son Michael as being in Sam's handwriting which suggests that Sam may have collected these from men whilst on board the Monowai.

 

Michael said:-

 

"I tried to find out about the two Aussies listed on the menu and contacted the nearest RSL to the address’s on the menu but they couldn’t help. I can recall my dad talking about several Aussies he met and discussing the future and a couple of them had building firms before the war and they offered him a job when it was all over. He told me he nearly went to Australia when he was offered the chance in Singapore but chose to come home. My Dad was a brick layer all his working life. He also told me about a lot of Aussies he buried in his time as a POW, a lot of them were veterans of WW1 and were in their 40’s, being a young man he called them ‘old men' ".

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Sam Hodges - India.jpg

In The Hills At Chakrata Hill Station In India

Samuel Hodges Left And Far Left In Group Photo Above

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Sam Hodge's POW Identify Badge. We believe the characters on the top mean British Soldier, with his army number below. Sam may have scratched his own name on the other side as it is roughly executed.

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Sam Hodges Dunner Menu - Reverse.jpg

Footage of Far East POWs returning home at the end of the war. The last part of the video shows the Monowai arriving into Liverpool on the 8th October 1945

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Samuel Hodges (2nd from right) and George Chippendale from Ravenstone (2nd from left) arriving at Leicestershire station after the war.

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A letter from the King following Sam's return home

 

To read Sam Hodges' fascinating diary written in 1995/96 detailing the above events click here

Further information can be found in Samuel T Stewart's publication 'In Memory Of 3 Japanese Prisoners Of War From Griffydam & Peggs Green'  click here 

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