Ralph (Hod) Hodgson was born on September 24, 1895, in Yorkshire, England. He was a law student when the First World War broke out, and he quickly joined Toronto’s 24th Battalion to serve. He was wounded in action at Vimy Ridge in April 1917, and as a result, his right leg was amputated below the knee.
After the war, he worked for the Department of National Defence. With The War Amps, he was appointed the Association’s first Dominion Placement Officer in 1937 – a unique job that saw him travelling to regional branches across the country, addressing unemployment for amputees from both world wars. He also held the position of First President with the Ottawa Branch.
Mr. Hodgson is best known for meeting hospital ships coming back from the Second World War and encouraging the next generation of war amputees to accept their amputations and persevere. For his efforts, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire by King George VI.
Mr. Hodgson passed away on January 28, 1948. His tombstone bears the motto of The War Amps, which continues to be upheld today: “It's Not What You Have Lost That Counts but What You Have.”
In 2009, members of the Hodgson family and local dignitaries formally dedicated the Ralph Hodgson Memorial Park in Port Hope, Ontario, in his memory.
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