Samuel Hodge

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Samuel Hodge
Samuel Hodge.JPG
Born 1840
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Died 14 January 1868 (aged 27)
Belize
Buried at Belize
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Rank Lance Corporal
Unit 4th West India Regiment
Battles/wars Tubabakolong (Gambia)
Awards Victoria Cross

Samuel Hodge VC (1840 – 14 January 1868) was a West Indian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Details[edit]

Samuel Hodge was one of a number of West Indian soldiers who were sent to garrison British positions on the West coast of Africa. White troops suffered terribly from malaria, blackwater fever and dysentery and so the British Army addressed this problem by bringing in troops from the West India regiments.

In 1866, Lieutenant Colonel George Abbas Kooli D'Arcy, commanding officer of the 3rd West India Regiment and Governor of the Gambia, marched to confront a rebellious Marabout leader named Amar Faal at Tubabecolong (also known as Tubab Kolon), a stockaded town on the river's northern bank. The garrison unit in Bathurst at that time was Samuel Hodge's regiment - the 4th West India Regiment. Colonel D'Arcy led 270 officers and men of that battalion together with around 500 warriors from the Soninke tribe to Tubabecelong, attacking the town on 30 June.

Samuel Hodge was approximately 26 years old (his precise date of birth is not known), and only a private at the time. The British force had light armaments and rockets, but were unable to break down the wooden stockade walls by bombardment. Colonel D'Arcy called for volunteers to assist him to try and cut a breach by hand. Two officers and fifteen men (including Samuel Hodge) seized axes and followed him. However, the fire of the defenders was intense and the officers were killed almost immediately whilst, and most of the remaining men were wounded. Colonel D'Arcy and the two remaining uninjured men, Private Hodge and another Private named Boswell, reached the stockade and were able to hack a gap large enough for a man. At approximately that point Private Boswell was killed leaving only D'Arcy and Hodge of the original assault party of 18. Colonel D'Arcy went through the gap, followed closely by Private Hodge who then used his axe to hack open inside fastenings on a gate before he was himself shot down.

Samuel Hodge sustained serious gunshot wounds, but survived. The remaining British troops poured in through the now open gate and in the fierce fighting that followed, several hundred of the Marabouts were killed and the village and stockade burned down. Once day had been won, Colonel D'Arcy took Hodge and acclaimed him in front of them as the bravest man in the regiment.[1]

He was promoted to the rank of Lance-corporal and presented with the Victoria Cross on 24 June 1867. However, he never fully recovered from the terrible injuries sustained during the attack, and died of fever less than a year later whilst on service in Belize.[2][3]

A Tortolian from the British Virgin Islands, he was only the second black man to ever be awarded the Victoria Cross.[4]

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