Aug 25, 2014

George Bowden HUDSON [1891 - 1982]

George Bowden Hudson was the sixth child of William Charles Hudson and his wife, Matilda Ellen King.

George was born in Moama in New South Wales (Australia) on 8th October 1891. War broke out when George was 22 years of age, but it was not until July 1915 that he enlisted at Echuca in the 31st Battalion and given service number 710 in the AIF.

He completed his training at Broadmeadows Camp in Melbourne before departing Melbourne on board the HMAT A62 WANDILLA on 9th November 1915 bound for the Middle East. The Battalion arrived at Suez on 7th December 1915.

Unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board
HMAT A62 Wandilla on 9 November 1915

16th March 1916 - Innoculations “C” Company – 1st dose typhoid and paratyphoid. 1st Parade on bayonet fighting and physical training 2nd Parade on company training under OC companies 3rd Parade on half holiday.

The 31st Battalion continued with physical training and bayonet fighting and were in the Middle East until June 1916 when it departed for Marseilles in France.  By 1st July they were at Morbecque and being put through a practical demonstration of poisonous gas and gas helmet instruction.

Morbecque in France

9th July - 1030-1430: Battalion left Estaires 1000 hours and Brigade starting point 1030. Destination Erquinghem via Croix du Bac, Bac St Maur. Bn met at Croix du Bac by guide & led to billets in Rue Dormoire abt 1 mile west of Erquinghem, relieving the 18th Bn.

16th July - First of Battalion arrived at Fleurbaix (Bois-Granier Line, France) about 1430 to find billeting arrangements inadequate and incomplete. It took some time to make suitable arrangements and it was 0430 hours before last of the men were billeted.

19th July - The 31st Battalion fought its first major battle at Fromelles on 19 July 1916, having only entered the front-line trenches 3 days previously. The attack was a disastrous introduction to battle for the 31st - it suffered 572 casualties.

20th July -
0545: Captured positions could not be held so a retirement was made at 0545 back to our own lines. Very heavy casualties and men completely broken. 0900: Battalion taken out of front line and re-billeted at Fleurbaix. Estimated casualties 600 of all ranks.

parts of the 31st Battalion War Diary reads as ........

To have a much better understanding of what the Diggers went through at Fromelles - and in particular the 31st Battalion - it is perhaps wise to read the diaries of the 31st Battalion

The following are just six pages of Appendix C from the diary dated 19th July 1916.

By the first week of August, George Hudson was back at Fleurbeaux in France. The Bn diary - for the 3rd August - reads as: Situation quiet. Few parties of enemy noticed behind enemy lines but in general troops well under cover. Battalion growing much more cheerful after grueling of 19 and 20 July 1916 ultimo. Foggy weather prevails in the mornings.
31 August - La Motte, France.

Battalion under canvas at La Motte. Small replica RF 1/110 of Bois des Vaches built in camp area for lecture purposes.

21 September -
Armentieres, France.

Day fine but roads in bad condition. Arrived Armentieres at 10.40am & settled in billets at 11am. Brigade notified. very bad condition, mud plentiful bags in parapet and communication trenches rotten and walls tumbling in.

when reading through the diaries, it seems most days the weather & conditions were intolerable....

30th October - Montauban, France.

Very wet and mud conditions simply indescribable. Horses tractor engines stuck everywhere on the roads. Majority of roads being laid with logs in transverse section.

One year later after spending much of their time around the Somme area, 
the Battalion arrived at Wippenhoek, in Belgium on
19th September.

25 September 1917 -
Warning Order received from Brigade that Battalion to be held in readiness to move at short notice. 10.00 pm: Battalion moved off to front line to take part in the horrendous Battle of Polygon Wood.

The 31st fought in the Ypres sector. The battle began at 5.30 am on 26 September 1917, when the British and Dominion guns opened on a 10 kilometre front. The intention was to build on the gains made during the Battle of Menin Road. The AIF 4th and 5th Divisions were responsible for a 2500-metre sector and one of their main objectives was Polygon Wood Butts, the target on the Ypres district rifle range.

"the 4,000 men of the six attacking battalions dashed forward at a run ........
George Bowden Hudson was one of those men in the 5th Division.
Ypres - 1917

2nd May 1918 - at Bois d'Accroche, Le Hamel, France

by the 2nd May 1918 the Battalion were at this location.
Bois d'Accroché, Le Hamel, France

13th May 1918 - Wounded in Action.

wounded in action - gassed. According to the Bn diary the Artillery was active during the day. "Suggest" that he was wounded at Vaire, Le Hamel, France.

Poison gas was probably the most feared of all weapons in World War One. Poison gas was indiscriminate and could be used on the trenches even when no attack was going on. 

Whereas the machine gun killed more soldiers overall during the war, death was frequently instant or not drawn out and soldiers could find some shelter in bomb/shell craters from gunfire. A poison gas attack meant soldiers having to put on crude gas masks and if these were unsuccessful, an attack could leave a victim in agony for days and weeks before he finally succumbed to his injuries.

Gassed Australian soldiers awaiting treatment near
Bois de L'Abbe outside Villers-Bretonneux 1918.

Location of where George Hudson was wounded

George Bowden Hudson returned to Australia on 8th April 1919 and in 1923 he married Inez Emily Henderson. Daughter of John Gill Henderson and Mary Margaret Simpson.

On the 12th August 1982 George died in Deniliquin at the age of 90 years. He is buried at the Mathoura Cemetery along side his wife - Inez - who died in 1979.

with grateful thanks to the following 

for use of data and images


the above information on George Bowden Hudson has been collected over many years, but if anyone has any further data I would be more than happy to hear from you!

George Hudson is my first cousin (2 x removed)

we relate through my great great grandmother:
Elizabeth Jane RICHARDS
[1837 - 1919]



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