HUDSON Frederick John Ernest

Date of Enlistment 25/02/1915
Birthplace Sydney New South Wales
Next of kin Father, Frederick Hudson, Broome, Western Australia
Occupation Sailmaker & Pearler
Age on Enlistment 23
Rank Private
Unit 28th Battalion, A Company
Fate INV
Date of Fate Event 05/07/1917
Returned to Broome post WWI Yes
Other Information Appears on RSL Honour Roll
Private Fred Hudson writes to his relatives in Broome, from a hospital in Manchester, England 12-8-16. — I am now in England, and it looks as if I’ll be here for some time. I came here on the third, and yesterday had the x-rays on my arm; the result I do not yet know. Received all letters at midday on Friday, July 28, my mates having kept them for me. I found our lot scattered about the old German trenches in the Somme district, our platoon being there with our officer, who had a map spread over his knee. The officer patted me on the back, and gave me a hearty welcome. He said, ‘ Just the man we want, now we are all here; we are having a run at Frits tonight, so listen to the plans of attack.’ All this was stale, for we knew what was taking place. Some Tommie’s we met on the way up said, Cheer up, lads; you will be coming back here in a motor car tomorrow, if you are lucky.’ I must have been one of the lucky. I had a good look round Fritz’s old trenches, which would stand all the shelling in the world. Fritz even had bedsteads — that’s hard to believe, but I’ve seen. It is marvellous the way our artillery tore up the ground for miles and miles. A man would not be telling a lie by saying there is a shell hole in every yard of the ground. Eleven pm found our division (with the French on the right and British on the left), at Pozieres, between our own and the German trenches, waiting till 12 p.m., when the guns would open up for 16 minutes. We were in four lines, the last of which I was in; our instructions were to allow the first two lines to do the work in Fritz’s first line, and then we were to go over the first and take the second line. When the time came for us to advance (simply walking) Fritz opened up, and the air was thick with lead. It is hard to believe that men could be so cool under fire, and I know how I  felt — it was a great surprise when I found I took no notice of shells, bombs, bullets and different other things. The hardest of all was to see your mates falling each side of you; it only makes you more determined. Now I can understand how some fellows win the V.C. When nearing the German’s barb wire at the first line I received a bang on the head, which drew blood and stunned me for the time being. Later on, no sooner had I gone a few yards than I thought someone gave me a bang on the elbow with a log of wood. My arm doubled up and I did not know what had happened, 1 carried out orders and soon got into the biggest shell hole I could find, where I lay for an hour groaning like a stuck pig, not caring whether a shell landed on me or not. Then in dropped one of my mates, hit in the leg; he promptly cut the sleeve out of my coat and shirt, tied me up as best he could, and went off somewhere. I decided to remain there till the following night, when in fell one of our officers, hit. After a lot of argument, I (with others) made my way to where we thought our line was, running a few yards and dropping into a hole. We wandered about until daylight (lost), when we picked up the report of our own guns. At our dressing station a doctor dressed my wounds and gave me a good drink of whisky, and I was motored further back. A bullet entered slightly under my arm and came out at the shoulder; I am afraid it has damaged the muscle and nerves of my hand, as I cannot close my hand — my fingers refuse duty. Drugs are given me to ease the pain and give me sleep, I cannot walk about for the pain, and have to grin and bear it. Anyhow, it will be a holiday. North West Echo, 14th October 1916

 

Private Fred. Hudson wrote a’ very nice letter recently (from a Perth hospital) to his father in Broome, the following being extracts : No need to mention I am still in hospital, where I will remain for some months, but I have nothing to grumble about, seeing I’m being paid for doing nothing. After coming from England Perth seems such a small place, and it is now full of returned soldiers, of whom numbers are being discharged every day, but not too many are coming forward to fill their places, I am sorry to say. I would have loved conscription to have been brought in so as to rope in some of the wasters who are how going about the town. It beats me how they have the hide — I would be Ashamed. I get into a private suit every week, but I do not feel at home out of khaki. We must admit the Germans have a clever lot at the head of affairs, far better than many we have. I have seen things happen on both sides, and I know which exhibits the most brains. The Germans will cause a lot more deaths before they are beaten, The night I got hit we were told the barb wire had all been cut for us and we had nothing to worry over. We soon found out all about the wire, which was as good as on the day it was put up, and’ was the cause of our battalion losing between 700 and 800 men out of 900 odd inside ten minutes. You can’t form an opinion of the blunders heads make, and, what is none too pleasant, we have to pay the price for their mistakes. However, both sides make blunders. John Hilliard goes back to Broome next boat. My hand is much the same, and I expect they will operate before long, as the nerves are growing wrong — something may be laying on them. North West Echo, 17th February 1917

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