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Remembered Today:

Pte James Hudson - 14th Bn, Durham Light Infantry

Paul Ormerod

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Remembering my GG-Uncle, James Hudson - Private 32733 - 14th Bn, Durham Light Infantry - who was killed 100 years ago today in fighting to the north east of Guedecourt.


James was the son of John Hudson and Catherine (née Johnson), who ran Hudson's Fruit Shop in Easington Lane, Co. Durham. He was the husband of Mary (Molly) Hudson (née Hardy).


James' army service was reckoned from 30 May 1916. On 26 April 1916 he is reported to have absented himself without leave in Seaham Harbour and remained about until 09:00 on 28 April 1916.
14th Bn, Durham Light Infantry arrived at Trônes Wood on 7 October 1916. They moved into the support line on 10 October 1916, and moved to their assembly positions on 11 October 1916.
The Battalion War Diary of 14th Bn for the 11-12 October 1916 reads:
"1916 11 Oct 7.30 p.m.
Battn. moved into Reserve Trenches between GUEDECOURT and LESBEOUFS [sic]. Orders were received to move into Assembly Trenches and attack the next day. Some difficulty was expected in keeping direction in the attack owing to the fact that the West Yorks held part of the enemy trench, and the part we were to attack was on the left of the West Yorks, whereas the Assembly Trenches, from which the attack was to be launched, lay directly behind the West Yorks. The direction of the attack would therefore be half-left. To obviate this we laid a tape from the West Yorks extreme left to the extreme right of the Assembly trenches.
The first objective was to be this trench from the West Yorks right, as far as a sunken road (about 350 yards of trench; the 12th Division attacking from the sunken road to the left. After attaining the objective we were to advance on a 100 yards' front with our left on the sunken road until we reached the enemy trench 300 yards in front. This was to be captured and, if possible, a new line to be dug about 300 yards in front of this trench; the 12th Division on the left and the West Yorks on the right were to continue the line.
"B" and "D" Coys. - "B" on the left, "D" on the right - were ordered to advance in extended order in two waves on a front of 300 yards at ZERO Hhour, "D" directing with their line on the tape, and capture the first objective. At ZERO hour plus 20 "B" Coy. was to advance on a front of 100 yards with its left on the sunken road, "D" Coy. following 100 yards in the rear with its left on the sunken road with 1 Section R.E. and 2 Brigade Machine Guns attached. At the same time "C" and "A" Coys. were to advance in artillery formation from the Assembly trenches and occupy the place of "B" and "D" Coys in the captured trenches.
Strong opposition was expected from the enemy dug-outs in the sunken road. The Left of "B" Coy was therefore composed of 2 Headquarters Bombing Sections to deal with these dug-ouuts and a squad of 10 Rifle Grenade men, with an ample supply of rifle grenades, who were to bombard these dug-outs in the sunken road prior to the advance at ZERO plus 20 MINUTES. Lieut. Batty was in charge of these parties. Each advance was to be proceeded by a creeping barrage and a stationary barrage which was to lift when the creeping barrage reached it. Battn. Hdqrs. were established in the West Yorks line next to the West Yorks Hdqrs.
11 Oct [sic], 2.5 p.m.
Attack commenced. Almost at once the enemy opened a very heavy barrage on the Assembly Trenches and on the trenches already held by the West Yorks. "B" and "D" Coys however advances steadily through the barrage and captured their first objective, taking about 15 prisoners and killing several. The 12th Division on the left also attained their first objective. During this advance "B" Coy lost both its officers - Capt. Hellier killed and 2nd Lt. Gillott wounded. Many Germans retired down a communication trench and the sunken road, but few escaped owing to the efficient handling of the Rifle Grenade Section by Lieut. Batty.
11 Oct 2.55 p.m.
"B" and "D" Coys advanced, and the Bombing Sections and Rifle Grenade men cleared the dug-outs on the sunken road.
The advance again came under heavy barrage and a good deal of Machine Gun fire. Lewis Guns were pushed forward, and they and the Rifle Grenade men did excellent work in facilitating the advance. "C" and "A" Coys moved forward in artillery formation and took the place of "B" and "D", losing only a few men; but 2nd Lt, Swindell was killed and 2nd Lt. Dunn wounded.
Lt. Newsome in command of "A" Coy, seeing that "B" Coy had lost all their Officers and were becoming disorganised, handed his Coy over to his Coy. Sergt. Major, and went forward and took command of "B" Coy. "B" and "D" Coys ably led by Lt. Newsome and Capt. Richardson, then captured the German second line trench and established communication with the West Yorks on the right. Lt. Batty had materially assisted the advance by bombing up a communication trench, capturing a German officer prisoner; he was wounded on getting to the second line.
No further advance was possible owing to the fact that the 12th Division had not advanced on the left, and the West Yorks, who had been mowed down by Machine Gun fire on the right, had been unable to advance any further.
We therefore consolidated the position, and as our left was 400 yards in the air, formed a defensive flank. These operations were carried out successfully, and the Battn. was relieved the same night.
Casualties during Action.
Killed - 1 Officer, 7 O.R.s.
Wounded - 4 Officers, 8 O.Rs.
Missing - 19 O.Rs."


James has no known grave and his name is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.


James Hudson 01.jpg

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