Sunday, 2 January 2011

Bio of John William Hudson 1895 - 1966

My grandfather Bill Hudson was born in West Hartlepool, County Durham on 21 February 1895, the fourth child in a family of 10.  His parents were shipyard joiner Robert Hunter Hudson and Margaret Mossom.  By the age of 14 he was working as a rivet heater, most likely alongside his brothers Robert and Richard in Hartlepool's shipyards.  

Bill joined the 18th Hussars just prior to the outbreak of World War One and was fighting in France by late October 1914.  His military records haven't survived, but it seems he had an uneventful War.

I'm not sure what he did between discharge in 1918/19 and 1925 - there is a family story that he worked as a coal miner at some point but I haven't got any evidence for it.  In 1925 he set off for Hong Kong, where he worked as a prison officer at Stanley Gaol.  

Before leaving for Hong Kong, Bill met the friend of a cousin - Peggy Lamb, a student teacher.  The couple corresponded while Bill was in Hong Kong, and when he returned to England on leave in 1930, they married.  The couple returned to Hong Kong in late 1930, and spent the next decade there, apart from an eventful home leave in 1935.  During this leave, they bought a house in Seaton Sluice, Northumberland and had a baby - their only child, my dad, Peter Hudson.

In 1940, with the threat of attack from Japan imminent, European women and children were evacuated from Hong Kong.  Peggy and Peter went to Melbourne, Australia.  Bill was left behind in Hong Kong, so he was still there when the Japanese finally invaded at Christmas 1941.  Bill was interned in Stanley Camp (created in the staff quarters for the gaol) for three years and eight months, before finally being liberated at the end of August 1945.

As the War came to an end, Peggy and Peter returned to England, and once liberated, Bill did the same.  They returned to the house in Seaton Sluice, where Bill lived until his death in 1966.

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