The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


He ‘metamorphosed’ - well almost - into ‘civilian mode’ and took up positions with the Crown Agents, Hunting Group and perhaps, most interestingly, with Lonhro and a gold mine study in Uzbekistan. Returning to the UK he joined Vospers Group in Fareham as one of the Bid Executives, which took him back to a number of his old service stamping groups. Understandably, as ‘bid time’ approached, stress levels went up and this undoubtedly contributed to his heart problems, a stroke and early retirement. However, Sue’s ministrations and a trip to Madeira soon put him on the road to ‘Serious Retirement’ and travelling the world.

The USA, Australia, Dubai, and Singapore (Catherine’s family), Oman, Penang, Thailand (Phuket - for Chris and Sacha’s wedding celebrations), Indonesia (Bali - for an Australian wedding celebration), the Holy Land, Turkey, not forgetting the many European cities.

There were many other home-based ‘wheezes’, usually at short notice - and always with ‘can-do’ approach. Picnics in Southern Ireland; West Highland, North Yorkshire and John O’ Groats rail trips; and only last year, Malta and the Isle of Man. It may sound exhausting - it usually was, but being in company with the Hodgens, always guaranteed fun!

A personal view by David’s friend Nigel Hayler:

We first met David in August 1981. Our respective families were disembarking from a British Caledonian trooping flight at Kai Tak airport for a two year posting in Hong Kong. It was August, the humidity was high and the temperature off the clock. I was wondering what I had let my family in for as we surveyed our mountain of baggage but a voice said: “Let me give you a hand with that.” It was David Hodgens, forever after known to us as ‘The Gallant Major’.

We began life in flat E7 Royden Court, Repulse Bay, shortly to be joined in flat A5 by the Hodgens family, who soon acquired ‘Mac Mac’ the cat. One of our favourite pastimes was boating in a glitzy speedboat, Bluebird, shared with another family, the Heals. Somehow David, Sue, Christopher and Catherine were afloat with either or both owners and certainly clocked up more hours water-skiing than any of us. David’s family looked on in awe at his prowess on the waves! When at sea, to put us all at ease, we would be treated to a few tuneful baritone bars of ‘For those in peril on the Sea’; as we bounced along at around 40 knots, under his helmsmanship, not forgetting a burst of ‘We want the wibbly-wobblies’ … as we drove home, in a somewhat overloaded Honda Civic.

Stories of escapades in Hong Kong are legion… and great fun to recall! … Our main community was HQBF in HMS Tamar Central Hong Kong. Holy Trinity Church, within the base, afforded a spiritual and social focus. The Tamar Theatre Club also provided weekly distractions. ‘Am Drams’ … as David liked to refer to our thespian antics! We usually retired, en masse, to the ‘Go-down’ (a venue well known to Hong Kongers) to review an evening’s rehearsal and generally appraise performances! Life in Hong Kong created many lasting friendships. Ours with the Hodgens, I am pleased to say, was one of them.

Catherine became engaged to Will and they married from Edge in 2003. David was immensely proud and happy for his daughter and new son-in-law. It was a particular demonstration of his good nature and generosity - also of his firm belief in the values and obligations of marriage. “Do not let my daughter down - you will have me to answer to!!” he said to Will.

Life on the hill at Edge was busy. Chairman of Petersfield Rotary, Treasurer of the Village Hall Committee, and a great supporter of St George’s in Waterlooville. As we all know, health issues overtook him but even so, despite his apparent irascibility, whenever one visited Edge, his instinctive good nature and generosity shone through. Only last May we enjoyed one last ‘wheeze’, a brief holiday in Kent, with a trip to Canterbury Cathedral and a day out on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway. As usual the spirit was willing but the flesh couldn’t keep up!
David, who died at home, leaves us with a wealth of memories. His flamboyant greetings with a warm and ready smile were his hallmark. His generous personality touched many of us. He was devout, sincere and determined.

A very good friend to many. Much loved husband, father and grandfather. David….we miss you.

Autumn Edition 2014

Lieutenant Colonel David Hodgens MBE, 1945-2014

Born in Stafford in 1945, David was eleven when his father sadly died just before David became a pupil at the Royal School, Wolverhampton. In those days, most eighteen-year-olds set out on their chosen careers on leaving school and in David’s case this was to be the Army. On completing his training at Sandhurst he was awarded the RAOC Regimental Sword. He was posted to Libya before attending the Bomb and Mine disposal course as an Ammunition Technical Officer. This was followed by two tours in Northern Ireland, as an ATO at the height of the troubles leading to the award of the MBE in recognition of the arduous duty and dangerous work he had undertaken out there.

In the midst of this came Sue, a Nursing Sister - whose family lived at Edge of Beyond in Catherington Lane, a mad melange of horses, daughters, and dogs. Their marriage in Hindon in 1972 was conducted by Sue’s father, the Reverend John Scott, Royal Navy. Christopher was born in 1973 and Catherine in 1975…. Thus ensuring the continuity of this arm of the ‘Family Hodgens’!

There followed several postings in Germany - almost considered ‘home’ for the Army at that time. In 1981 David and family were posted to Hong Kong for a two year tour and for David an appointment on the Staff of Commander British Forces Hong Kong.

Back in the UK, with promotion imminent, he joined the UK Rapid Reaction Force in Aldershot, before assuming Command of the Military Port, Antwerp, once more accompanied by Sue. His final appointment was as an SO1 with the Defence Logistic Organisation at Andover, at least allowing him to be near ‘Edge of Beyond’, which became the much loved family home.