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3/3159 Captain Ronald (Keith) George Keith Hodgson – New Zealand Medical Corps
 
The youngest son of George and Julia Deborah Hodgson was born on the 24th November 1890 in Westport.[i]
Following the death of his father, in 1892, Keith and his mother moved to Sydney, Australia where he was raised and
later educated at Sydney Grammar. At the age of 19 he returned to New Zealand where, at Otago University he studied medicine.[ii]
 
In 1915 Keith was in his final university year when a special examination was held in Dunedin to enable all those students ‘desirous of going into the Expeditionary Force’ to sit their final exams. Keith along with 27 of his colleagues passed.[iii]
 
The new Doctor Hodgson was only 23 with no practical experience and, as more qualified doctors were joining the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) and taking the available positions, opted for training in New Zealand.
 
Doctor Hodgson initially worked at the Seacliff Mental Hospital near Dunedin. In May 1916 he transferred to the Porirua Mental Hospital and was noted in the Hospital’s annual report, presented by Dr Gray Hassell, and reported in the
Evening Post of the 5th August 1916:[iv]
 
          ‘Dr Hodgson was transferred from Seacliff in May, and is
          still  here; he  has  maintained  the high  reputation  he
          bought  with  him.’
 
Dr Hodgson remained as the resident assistant at Porirua and was while he had previously offered his professional services to the army he was considered critical to the operation of the Porirua Hospital. In February 1917 was subject
to an appeal at the Wellington Military Services Board.[v]
 
          ‘             AN      ESSENTIAL     OCCUPATION.
          Dr. Hay, Inspector-General of Mental Hospitals, appealed
          on  behalf  of  Ronald  George  Keith  Hodgson,  assistant
          medical  officer,  Porirua Mental Hospital. He stated that
          Dr  Hodgson  some  time  ago  offered  his services to the
          Defence  Department  in any capacity, but had remained
          in New Zealand owing to the exigencies of the service. Dr
          Hodgson  did  not  ask  for total exemption –  he would be
the  last  man to ask for that – but it was  suggested  that
the  matter should  be  left  to  the  Director  of  Medical
Services. The Department was working short-handed and
under  great  difficulties. Five  doctors from  the  service
had  already  gone  to the  front, and  none of them  had
been hampered in the slightest.
The  appeal  was  adjourned sine  die,  exemption  from
Military service being granted in the meantime.’
 
Shortly after Dr Hodgson enlisted, on the 17th March 1917  in the New
Zealand Army.[vi] His mother who was living in Wellington is listed as the
next of kin.
 
Training was very short and on the 26th April 1917 3/3159 Captain Ronald
George Keith Hodgson sailed for theWestern Front in the 25th Reinforcements
of the New Zealand Medical Corps (NZMC).[vii]
 
The 25th Reinforcements arrived in England, via South Africa, on the 16th July
1917 and Captain Hodgson remained at base until October / November 1917
when he was posted to the New Zealand Stationary Hospital (NZSH), France.
Captain Hodgson’s records are brief but he returned to England, sick, in
December 1917 and following attachment to Headquarters in London returned
to France in March 1918.
 
During the next period in France he was attached at different times to the
1st NZ Field Ambulance, the 4th Army Royal Army Medical Corps and the NZSH.
Captain Hodgson was at times working close to the front line with his family
visiting the French battlefields in the 1950's and having the position of front
line dugouts pointed out to them.
 
Captain Hodgson was evacuated sick a second time to London in June/July 1918
and then remained in England. Captain Hodgson was admitted twice to hospital
toward the end of the war with influenza. Captain Hodgson remained with the NZEF in England following the end of the war as support for members of the NZEF being repatriated to New Zealand. Following leave in August – November 1919  Captain Hodgson was discharged, in England, from the NZEF on the 29th November 1919.
 
Keith Hodgson’s mother had moved, possibly in 1919, to England and her son went to live with her in Andover, Hampshire.[viii] Keith returned to private medical practice and was a Doctor in Andover for the rest of his life.
 
In 1921 Ronald (Keith) George Keith Hodgson married Dorothy Margaret Grieg.
Margaret was also a medical practitioner. The couple would have one son before Margaret died in 1926. Keith married a second time in 1933.[ix]
 
Ronald (Keith) George Keith Hodgson died on the 30th July 1959.
 
 

Grave in St Peter and St Paul Cemetery
Truxton, Test Valley Borough, Hampshire, England.

 
 
A ward in the Andover Hospital is named in honour of the Hodgson family.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thank you to Keith's son who supplied family photos and anecdotes that assisted in the preparation of this article.
 
 
Notes:
Also mentioned in the 1915/16 Porirua Mental Hospital Report; 3/2950 Captain George Redpath and 3/2118 Captain Oswald James Reid.
Grave indicates RAMC not NZMC
 
References
George Hodgson 1846 – 1890 and his descendants: Mary Skipworth
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 3/3139 Captain Ronald George Keith Hodgson
Papers Past Online
Hodgson Family
 
Photos:
3/3159 Capatian Ronald George Keith Hodgson - Hodgson family
Grave - Dr Ronald George Keith Hodgson: www.findagrave.com
 
 
[i] Birth – Hodgson (25th November 1890) Nelson Evening Mail
[ii] George Hodgson 1846 – 1890 and his descendants: Mary Skipworth
[iii] Medical Degrees (1 February 1915) Nelson Evening Mail
[iv] Asylum Report (5 August 1916) Evening Post
[v] 3rd Wellington Military Services Board (2nd February 1917) Evening Post
[vi] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files” 3/3159 Captain Ronald George Keith Hodgson
[vii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 3/3159 Captain Ronald George Keith Hodgson
[viii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 3/3159 Captain Ronald George Keith Hodgson
[ix] George Hodgson 1864-1890 (R G K Hodgson) Mary Skipworth
 
 
 
Officers 25th Reinforcements