Richard Hodgins

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Tipperary, County Tipperary, Ireland

Army information

Australian Imperial Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Australia
 —  Australian Infantry, 48th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Defy Crossing, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood
Plot: VI
Row: A
Grave: 15

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 2

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place

My story

Private Richard Hodgins served in the Australian Infantry 48th Battalion, part of the 12th Australian Brigade, of the 4th Australian Division. He was the son of Margaret Hodgins, of Garravally, Ballymackey, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, and the late Richard Hodgins.

His Division participated in the First Battle of Passchendaele on the 12th of October 1917, the second last stage of the Third Battle of Ypres. It advanced with the 12th Brigade from its position east of Zonnebeke to the German strongpoint of Assyria, south of the village of Passchendaele. Their task was to flank guard the attack of the 3rd Australian Division on their left flank, which had to seize Passchendaele. The attack of the 12th Australian Brigade was carried by the 47th and 48th Battalions. They had to move towards the Keiberg Spur, along the Ypres-Roulers Railway, running towards Passchendaele. When the 47th Battalion had captured the first objective, the Red Line, the 48th Battalion would move through the 47th and capture the Blue Line, the second objective, near the German strongpoint of Assyria.

At 5.25 a.m. the men advanced towards the German lines, behind the 47th Battalion. Their advance was covered by a creeping barrage. Not all guns had reached their designated positions, due to the muddy conditions. Consequently the barrage was thin and lacked accuracy. Several shells fell short, causing casualties among the attacking Battalions. German machine-gun positions, unscathed by the feeble barrage, quickly opened fire, as the troops were struggling through the mud. On top of the German machine-gun fire the German artillery put down a barrage on the jump-off line.

The 9th brigade, of the 3rd Australian Division was held up and could not keep pace with the 12th Brigade. So as the two Battalions advanced further, they suffered several casualties, when they came under fire of a German strongpoint north of the railroad. Men were deployed along the railroad to fire on German positions in the 9th Brigade area and to make sure the Germans would not outflank them. The rest of the 47th and 48th Battalions swept through Decoy Wood and overran the German positions. By now the Companies of the advancing Battalions had been intermingled on several places.

Once they were in front of the Keiberg spur the advancing troops were enfiladed by machine-guns from Assyria, a concrete blockhouse on the right of the advance. The advance was checked at Assyria. It was decided to dig in, as the Battalions had lost the pace of the barrage. Once positions had been consolidated the German defenders at Assyria were being driven back by acute mortar and machine-gun fire. However the toll exacted by German machine-gunners and snipers had been heavy. At 8.25 a.m. it was decided to halt the advance on the left, because the 9th Brigade’s attack had been halted. However on the right “A” Company went forward, securing several German positions and establishing outposts. During consolidation of the positions, the Battalion was heavily shelled by the German artillery. And “A” Company suffered heavy casualties from machine-gun and rifle fire coming from beyond Assyria.

During the afternoon German troops were seen massing for a counter attack and while the 9th Brigade had failed to keep pace with the 12th Brigade, the Brigade was now in danger of being outflanked. When the Germans attacked the flank, the Battalion had to withdraw. However few of the outpost garrisons survived. Many of them were shot when they withdrew past Assyria. With their left flank up in the air both the 47th and 48th Battalion retired to their old frontline. The attack had been an utter failure.

Private Richard Hodgins was killed in action, near the German strongpoint of Assyria, on the 12th of October 1917, aged 27. He was buried in the field near Assyria. His remains were exhumed after the war and interred in Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood, Plot VI., Row A., grave 15.

Files 3

Sources 7

"Leane's Battalion : The history of the 48th Battalion A.I.F. 1916-1919", Browning N., Quality Press, 2009, page 170 - 187
Sources used
"Passchendaele Day by day Account", McCarthy C., Arms and armour, s.d., page 113 - 114
Sources used
AIF Project
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Service Records
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