Captain John Hodges (1848 - 1940)
I already knew that John Hodges married Sarah Marsh on 22nd June, 1873, and was the father of four children (one of them, my great grandfather, John Robert Hodges).
Sarah Marsh (1850 - 1918)
I also knew he was the Master of a ‘pilot’s cutter’ on Southampton Water, but the following tribute published in a local daily newspaper, at the time of his 91st birthday, sheds a good deal more light on his life.
‘Many Happy Returns of the day to Captain John Hodges, affectionately known in port circles as ‘Old Jack’, who celebrates his 91st birthday today.
Captain Hodges, a sailor-man of the W.W.Jacobs type, retired in 1924 after being in the service of Trinity House for 57 years, and his numerous friends and acquaintances will be delighted to learn that he still enjoys good health.
Son a of a seafarer – his father sailed in the first Atrato of the R.M.S.P. Co. – Captain Hodges started work as a labourer at Northam, but after a short while, he transferred to Stockham’s Yard, and then in 1867 joined the pilot cutter ‘Deerhound’ in the capacity of cook. Quickly gaining the requisite knowledge for the post of skipper, he subsequently held that position for 34 years in the ‘Deerhound’, and afterwards for a lengthy period in the ‘Jessica’, stationed off Hythe.
Captain Hodges has many striking recollections of early days in the port. He can, for instance, recall the arrival of the famous ‘Great Eastern’ in Southampton Water, the pilotage of the vessel being in charge of the late Mr James Bowyer. He also remembers the launching of Hamburg Amerika Line’s ‘Alpina’ and the P. and O. Co’s Serrat, at Northam – reminders of the time when many famous liners were built in the port.’
'Old Jack' in his later years (seated), with his seafaring friend, Otto Blow
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© 2010, copyright Martin T. Hodges