W K Hudson

The Old Elm Tree

William Knowle Hudson was born in Birmingham on 16th May 1892.

Hudson enlisted on 13th November 1914 when he was 22 years old and was appointed 2nd Lieutenant with the 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was transferred to the 7th Battalion later the same day.

He was promoted to Lieutenant on 1 July 1917 and then to Acting Captain at the end of the month. While he was serving on the Western Front at Arras he received a gunshot wound to the left knee which resulted in him leaving his unit on 2 December 1917. He was evacuated to Rouen and admitted to hospital. On 13 February 1918 he embarked at Rouen and two days later arrived at Southampton.

The wound received in France caused his left leg to be amputated and a temporary “peg leg” was fitted. In December 1918 William was a patient at the King’s Lancashire Military Convalescent Hospital in Blackpool waiting to have an artificial leg fitted and on 8 January 1919 he was officially promoted to the rank of Captain. In April 1919 he was still waiting for his artificial leg and had to be transferred to Alder Hey Special Military Surgical Hospital in Liverpool for an operation on his stump. A medical board then examined William on 5 August 1919 and found him “permanently unfit for any further military service” and stated that he should “proceed home and await admission to Roehampton” where his artificial leg was going to be fitted.

William relinquished his commission on 8 September 1919 and was able to retain the rank of Captain to use in civilian life. He returned home to “Lyndhurst”, Knowle, West Birmingham and then moved to Campden.

He arrived in Campden in the 1920s and was regularly seen around the town sitting on a stool doing oil paintings which he sold to make ends meet. He was a very good cricketer, despite having an artificial leg, and Lionel Ellis was always employed as his runner.

During his time in Campden William lived in Lower High Street and then with Lawrence and Gertrude Ladbrook in Berrington Road. When he was not painting he was a regular at the Red Lion.

He never married and left Campden before his death.

(Source: Paul R Hughes)

Comments about this page

  • Hi,
    My parents lived in Chipping Campden during WWII. My father taught at the Grammar School and my mother worked at the Lockheed dispersal factory in the garage in the High Street.
    A painting of “The old elm tree” – but painted in winter hung over their mantlepiece throughout their married.
    It was in a frame without glass and has sadly suffered some minor damage in storage since. However I would be happy to provide a photo for inclusion on this page if you are interested.

    By John White (04/11/2022)
  • I should also have said that any memories of the school or the Lockheed factory or living in Campden itself would be very welcome indeed.

    By Mary Fielding (09/11/2022)
  • That’s very kind of you. If you can send a digital image that we can keep in our archive that would be very helpful. Thank you.

    By Mary Fielding (09/11/2022)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.