​​Death of Major A E W Hodges

The Association was very sorry to receive the news of the death of Major Hodges, the last headmaster of Clare House School, which occurred on 20th December 2003. The funeral was held at Mortlake Crematorium, in the county of Surrey in the United Kingdom on 5th January 2004.

Peter Barclay-Jones and Nick Frank of the Clare House Association were able to attend on behalf of the Association.

Follow this link for a brief report on the service.

Major A W E (John) Hodges died on 20th December 2003 in hospital after a brief illness: he was 92 years old. His funeral was held at Mortlake Crematorium on 6th January 2004.

Peter Barclay-Jones and Nick Frank of the Clare House Association were able to join John's many friends and family and other former pupils of Clare House School for the service. The congregation listened to the traditional opening Sentences, joined in prayers and sang the Epiphany carol "We Three Kings" by John H. Hopkins, sung to his tune "Kings of Orient".

We three kings of Orient are,
bearing gifts we traverse afar,
field and fountain,
moor and mountain,
following yonder star.

O star of wonder, star of night,
star with royal beauty bright;
westward leading, still proceeding,
guide us to thy perfect light!

Born a King on Bethlehem's plain,
gold I bring to crown him again,
King for ever,
ceasing never
over us all to reign. Refrain...

Frankincense to offer have I:
incense owns a Deity nigh;
prayer and praising,
gladly raising,
worship Him, God most High. Refrain...

Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
breathes a life of gathering gloom;
sorrowing, sighing,
bleeding, dying,
sealed in the stone-cold tomb. Refrain...

Glorious now behold him arise,
King and God and Sacrifice;
heaven sings
Alleluia; Alleluia
the earth replies. Refrain...

The first reading was from St. Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 13 - St. Paul's reminder to us that all gifts are worth nothing without charity. The second reading was from the preface of "The Making of Wales" by John Davies. This passage describes the wonderful landscape of the area around the Brecon Beacons in Monmouthshire, where John was fortunate to have spent his childhood.

The second hymn was the "The Lord's my Shepherd" from the Scottish Psalter of 1650, sung to the tune "Crimond" by Jessie S. Irvine.

The Lord's my shepherd, I'll not want.
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.

My soul He doth restore again,
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
Even for his own Name's sake.

Yea, though I walk in death's dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill;
For Thou art with me, and Thy rod
And staff me comfort still.

My table Thou hast furnishèd
In presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.

Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me;
And in God's house for evermore
My dwelling-place shall be.

Richard Grant, a former pupil of Clare House School from 1962 to 1968, spoke of his experiences of the School. Richard evoked many vivid memories for all the former pupils present, and he reminded them of the frame work of stability, fairness and security that the School afforded its pupils. The values that Clare House instilled in its pupils during those formative years will have remained with them all their lives: the very values by which John Hodges himself lived. We were indeed privileged to have such wisdom and guidance in those early years.

Ann, Major Hodges's daughter, addressed the congregation, giving her personal view of her father and his life, concluding with the touching words, "He was a lovely man."

The next hymn was "Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch" by William Williams (translated from Welsh into English by Peter Williams as "Guide me, O Thou Great Redeemer"), sung to the traditional Welsh tune,  “Cwm Rhondda,” by John Hughes.

Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer,
Pilgrim through this barren land,
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand;
Bread of Heaven,
Bread of Heaven,
Feed me now and evermore.
Feed me now and evermore.

Open now the crystal fountain
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fiery cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through;
Strong deliverer,
Strong deliverer,
Be Thou still my strength and shield.
Be Thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises,
Songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee.
I will ever give to Thee.

Major Hodges's body was then committed for cremation and the Blessings were given by the Minister.

After the service, mourners were invited to take refreshments at the City Barge public house at 27 Strand-on-the-Green in Gunnersbury, Chiswick, London W4. This offered the welcome opportunity for family, friends and former pupils alike to talk at length informally and to remember a truly great man.

Peter Barclay-Jones (left 1965)
Chair, Clare House Association