Both a splendid sportsman and a fantastic servant to his country, Harold Hodges made just a handful of first-class appearances for Nottinghamshire. Born 22 January 1886, in Mansfield Woodhouse, Hodges would go on to compete in rugby union for his country, cricket for Nottinghamshire, and lacrosse for Oxford University, as well as fighting for his country in the First World War.

Hodges showed sporting promise from an early age. He started at Sedbergh school, which was renowned for its rugby prowess, in 1899. He quickly became part of the school’s first fifteen for four years, captaining the team for his last two seasons. It was at Sedbergh that a young Hodges would show his first interest in cricket. He made the Sedbergh eleven for five years, captaining it for three, and it was here his journey to Nottinghamshire CCC began.

Primarily a rugby player, Harold Hodges made two appearances for his country against Wales and Ireland in the 1906 Home Nations Championship. Unfortunately, each those appearances resulted in losses – but this didn’t sour his taste to the sport. Hodges would go on to make a handful of impressive appearances for Nottingham RFC, as well as captaining the Oxford University RFC in 1908 whilst studying at Trinity College.

After a spell in Paris at the Sorbonne, Hodges returned to England and became a master at Tonbridge School in September 1909. Two years later in 1911, Hodges would make his first-class cricket debut for Notts against Derbyshire at the Miners Welfare Ground in Blackwell. He made his highest first-class score of 62 in his only innings, which was the highest by a Nottinghamshire player in a low scoring match, bettered only by Derbyshire’s Arthur Morton – who was the individual to eventually dismiss Hodges. He made just two more appearances the following season and finished his first-class career with 141 runs, and with an average of 47.

The outbreak of the First World War put Hodges’ sporting and working career on hold, as he and thousands of others were called into arms and enlisted. After only three weeks, Hodges was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the third Battalion of the Monmouthshire Regiment and by 1915 was engaged in frontline battle. Three years later in 1918, Hodges advanced to a factory believed to be under British control. Instead the building was German occupied, and Lt Hodges was shot dead on 22 March 1918, aged just 32. After his death Hodges’ body was buried initially in a German military cemetery before being re-interred in a British war grave at Roye Cemetery in north west France.  He is also remembered in a memorial at East Bridgford church in Nottinghamshire.

April 2020