Private Roger William Hodgson
Roger William Hodgson was born June 26, 1925, in Massillon Ohio, United States. Roger was the oldest of two siblings, having a brother named Eugene Thomas Hodgson. The two boys were raised by their parents Lloyd Thomas and Mabel Elizabeth Hodgson in Massillon Ohio.
During his formative years, Roger attended Harvey Elementary School, then Lorin Andrews Junior High and finally Massillon Washington High School where he graduated in 1942. Roger was a good student who led an active life as a young boy and was multitalented.
He enjoyed sports and was a natural athlete, he played semi-professional football for Progressive in Massillon, Ohio. When off the field, Roger enjoyed playing the clarinet and bass drum and was part of the Massillon Tiger Swing Band.
During his late teenage years, he bagged groceries at the Kroger Grocery store. World War II was in full momentum and Roger initially joined the United States Navy, however honourably discharged a short time later due to asthma. He outgrew asthma and travelled to Canada where he enlisted with the Canadian military. After completing basic training, Roger learned about the Paratroops wanting to recruit only the best-qualified soldiers, even offering a financial incentive.
Roger was young, fit and well educated and requested a transfer to the Airborne. He successfully completed the battery of aptitude and physical testing required in order to join and was then sent to the Parachute School in Shilo, Manitoba. Roger graduated on March 1, 1945, and was now a proud paratrooper and part of the elite 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. The next major operation was Op Varsity on March 24, 1945, and Roger would miss out on this opportunity. To Roger’s disappointment, the war ended and he never had the chance to put his training into action overseas.
After the war, Roger moved back to Massillon Ohio and reconnected with his high school sweetheart, Beverly Jane Evans. Their courtship was short, they exchanged vows on July 27, 1946, and began a family shortly after. They raised two children named Paul and Tonya Hodgson. Roger worked for Ford Motor Company in Canton Ohio, eventually being promoted to supervisor. Roger worked a full career with the company, finally retiring.
Roger remained close friends with Russell (Chub) Downey, whom he served with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. Their friendship lasted over 60 years and every other year, Roger would get his family together and they would travel to Canada to stay at Rice Lake in Ontario and visit Russell and his wife Marion where they lived in Port Hope. Both families became very close over the years and looked forward to their regular get-together.
As a result of Roger coming to Canada so frequently, he joined the Port Hope Legion where he remained a member for many decades. Interestingly enough, Roger never did become a Canadian citizen, he simply served in the military during World War II and returned to his hometown in the U.S. where he lived out the remainder of his life.
Roger passed away of natural causes on February 8, 1997, in Massillon Ohio. He is buried at Rose Hill Memorial Park, Massillon, Ohio. If you have read the biography of Roger William Hodgson, then you have kept his memory alive.
Information and pictures, courtesy of Tonya Lee Hodgson Stuck and David Stuck.
Projector Infantry Anti Tank (P.I.A.T.)
Pte. Hodgson would have been trained on how to use the Projector Infantry Anti Tank weapons system, often referred to as a PIAT. The PIAT was employed by ground troops in order to disable tanks and breach buildings. The effective range of the PIAT against a tank was 115 yards, which meant you required nerves of steel to allow a tank to get close enough before engaging. The PIAT could also be used for breaching buildings, which allowed for a greater distance, up to 350 yards. The PIAT itself weighed 32 pounds and a bomb weighed approximately 2.5 pounds, being carried in a container of 3 rounds. Courtesy of Collectors Source.