18 August 1917 : Sgt Frederick John Hobson VC

Frederick lied about his age in order to enlist.

Frederick was born 23 September 1873 in Norwood, London the son of John Hobson (a stone mason) and Sarah Hobson (nee Wallace) then living at 14 Wood St, Pancras. 

With the death of his father and mother when still young, leaving only one surviving sister, Frederick joined the British Army and served during the Boer War. After a few years back in England he then emigrated to Galt, Ontario, Canada on 17 September 1904 (with his wife and children).

Frederick was one of the first to enlist in Simcoe, at the time he was working for a canning company. he joined the Norfolk Rifles, 20th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in November 1914. He must have lied about his age, as at 41, he was too old.

He was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his heroic action at Hill 70 near Lens.

During a strong enemy counter-attack North West of Lens a Lewis gun crew were buried by a shell in a forward post in a communication trench. With the exception of one man the crew were killed. Though not a gunner, Sgt Hobson rushed from his trench, dug out the gun and got it into action against the enemy who were now advancing down the trench. A jam caused the gun to stop firing. Though wounded, he left the remaining gunner to correct the stoppage, rushed forward at the advancing enemy and with bayonet and clubbed rifle, single handed held them back until he himself was killed by a rifle shot. By this time the Lewis gun was again in action and reinforcements shortly afterwards arriving, the enemy were beaten off. The valour and devotion to duty displayed by this non-commissioned officer gave the time required to again get the gun into action, and saved a most serious situation. 

57113 Sgt Hobson has no know grave.

He is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial and on a memorial plaque in Ontario.

Sergeant Frederick Hobson VC at Valour Place, Ainslie Street South, Cambridge, Ontario

18 August 1917 killed in action.

Sources:

Canada, Military Honours and Awards Citation Cards, 1900-1961, Canada, War Graves Registers (Circumstances of Casualty), 1914-1948

Research by Jonathan Vernon 

Plaque photos by Alan L Brown, posted March 2004 to Ontario's Historical Plaques.