ID: REG_2004_HTH / Dr. Richard Hudson

TitleHuberht Taylor Hudson 1886 - 1942
AbstractMy father was born in 1886 in Islington, North London within the sound of Bow Bells and was always proud of the fact that he was a true Cockney. His father was at the time an Oxford undergraduate and the first few years of my father's life was a very much hand-to-mouth existence. My grandfather later became a clergyman and my father was brought up in Stratford East London where he was educated at the Worshipful Company Of Carpenters School. As he was the eldest son he had to leave school at the age of 14 and he was apprenticed to Trinity House at Harwich. His meagre pay packet had to go to his family to support the younger children.

In 1907 he joined the British India Steam Navigation Company (at that time the largest shipping company in the world) and in his spare time undertook R.N.R. Training. In 1912 he was on the battleship QUEEN MARY (later sunk at Jutland) when it visited St. Petersberg and the Russian Royal Family came aboard.

Huberht Hudson with some Antarctic companions

In 1914 he applied to join Shackleton's Transantartic Expedition and attended every day to see if there was a vacancy. He was appointed Navigating Officer and to mark the honour the Worshipful Company Of Carpenters gave him a sextant. The 'Endurance' was crushed by ice in the Weddell Sea and the ship's company spent many months on the ice before the flows broke up, after which they travelled in three small lifeboats to the uninhabited Elephant Island in the South Shetlands. My father developed a large abscess on his spine and his hands were badly frost-bitten. The abscess required four attempts to be opened and successfully treated.

Shackleton then took six of the crew in the largest of the boats to South Georgia and used my father's sextant to help in the navigation. After undergoing a very hazardous journey they reached the southern part of South Georgia and Shackleton with two others crossed the Mountainess Island to get help. The island had not been crossed previously by anyone

After three unsuccessful return journeys, where they were stopped by ice flows, Shackleton managed to reach Elephant Island in a Chilean tug and the remainder of the expedition including my father were saved. On his return to this country my father took command of a PQ Boat for the remainder of the First World War before returning to the B.I.

In the 1920s during a strike he became friendly with a Mr. Firth who was Electrical Engineer for the Great Eastern Railway and lived at the Nothe and my Father bought 'Highfields' in St. Peters Road. He was appointed Supernumerary Captain on a boat that took the then Duke and Duchess of York on a tour to Africa and on the return journey he met my mother who had been visiting her brother in East Africa. He introduced her to Mersea and many will remember her as the general practitioner on the Island before and during the Second World War. He commanded a number of merchant vessels between the wars.

Dr Jean Hudson

In 1940 he was recalled to the R.N.R. and became a Commodore of Convoys .At first on the North Atlantic Run and then because of his Antarctic experience he commanded three Russian convoys. In 1942 on returning from a Russian convoy he was asked to command a Gibraltar convoy in view of the large sinking on that route and it was on the return journey that his ship was torpedoed and he was lost at sea. He was appointed an ADC to the King during the war.

From West Mersea Town Regatta Programme 2004 page 71.

For more on Huberht Hudson, see WW2_HTH

AuthorDr. Richard Hudson
SourceMersea Museum