Leading Seaman Hodge
Leading Seaman Reg Hodge (see left) and Able Seaman Michael 'Shady' Lane lost their lives whilst prepping a depth charge for seismic research aboard HMS Protector on 6th December 1963. She was working with RSS John Biscoe South of Drake's Passage at the time. The explosion injured a number of other sailors. They were buried with full naval honours in the cemetery at Stanley.
There is an account of the accident written by shipmate Able Seaman Eddie Large together with photographs of the burial service in the Memories section of this website.
Reg photographed left when he was serving in HMS St Brides Bay in 1960 joined HMS Protector in 1962 and went South. His wife Clarice Sanderson has written to say that he only made two trips to the Antarctic, "he left in October 1962 returning in May 1063, then, after leave and maintenance, he returned South in October 1963from which ne never returned. I received a telegram on the 6th December saying my husband had been killed on board Protector that day in an explosion."
HMS Protector was a familiar and often very welcome sight for expeditioners in the British Antarctic Territory. Her rather bulky helicopter house on the aft of the ship gave a can-do air about her which spelled out security. FIDS were always welcome below decks especially at the traditional tot time. She is known as the The Best Loved Ship in the Royal Navy by Those Who Serve on Her.
HMS Protector was built as a Net Layer in 1938 and converted to an Ice Patrol Ship in 1955. She was decommissioned in 1968. From 1955 to 1968 she was the Falkland Islands and Dependencies protection vessel. During her time both before and after her change of use from Net Layer to Ice Patrol Ship, thousands served aboard her.
The HMS Protector Association is supporting the British Antarctic Monument Trust and has made a generous donation.The Trustees are in touch with LS Reg Hodge's wife and his sister Doreen Carman.
His sister's memories
Doreen sent us this photograph and wrote to say having joined the navy cadets at 16, Reg liked it so much that he joined the Royal Navy. His main hobbies, she remembers, were photography and reading with a particulary liking for navy books and Biggles. Doreen says that when Reg was about 24 and married Clarice she remembers, "crying on the day as I thought she was taking him away from me. But I was only about ten then.
Living at first with his mother, Reg and Clarice moved into Navy accomodation in Portsmoth with their three children, Beverly, Andrew and John. He was a devout family man, says Doreen, with a love of the Navy where he was known for playing drums and the banjo and also forming a skiffle group with other crew members. He also liked modern and traditional jazz. He drank black coffee and cocoa "by the ton."
"On that tragic day in December 1963, we lost a man, a son a brother a husband and a father." His wife echos his sister paying tribute thus, "He was a good and loving father and husband, and loved family life. He's still sadly missed by all his family and left behind three children aged five years, three years, and a baby of seven months."
Antarctic Place Name
The location of Hodge Ridge in Protector Heights on the Loubert Coast
In May 2014 The British Antarctic Monument Trust received news that its application to have an Antarctic feature named after Reg Hodge had been successful.
Dick Harbour, one of the Trustees of the British Antarctic Monument Trust, and a member of the HMS Protector Association spearheaded the drive to get recognition of Michael Lane and Reg Hodge through the naming of features in the Antarctic. The application received support from Vice Admiral Sir Barry Wilson.
The features named after Leading Seaman Reginald Hodge and Able Seaman Michael Lane lie in the Protector Heights near the Loubet Coast.
Hodge Ridge: 66o9’S, 66o49’W : Ridge south-east of Protector Heights, Loubet Coast. Named after Leading Seaman Reginald W. Hodge, crew of HMS Protector, who died in an accident onboard the vessel on 6 December 1963, during a cruise along the Scotia Ridge which was carrying out a seismic survey in conjunction with the British Antarctic Survey.
The British Antarctic Territory Gazeteer may be searched through a map interface here and shows the location of the named Antarctic features.
The Hodge family has been told of the news and his sister Doreen Carman has responded: "Thank you so much for that, it is gratifying to know that Reg, although not with us is never forgotten.