Alexander Mitchell “Sandy” Hodge GC (EGM exchanger)

b. 23/06/1916 Westpark Rattray, Scotland. d. 04/01/1997 Edinburgh, Scotland.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 14/03/1940 Indian Ocean.

Alexander Mitchell “Sandy” Hodge (1916-1977) was born on 23rd June 1916 in Westpark Rattray, Scotland, the youngest son of James Mackenzie and Helen Isabella Hodge (nee Davidson). Sandy, as he was known, attended Fettes College and Edinburgh University where he read Arts graduating in 1936 with an MA followed by a degree in Law graduating in 1938 with an LLB.

Alexander M “Sandy” Hodge GC

Soon after graduation, he joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a probationary Sub-Lieutenant and served first on the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle as part of the Mediterranean Fleet. On 14th March 1940, he was aboard HMS Eagle in the Indian Ocean when a 250lb bomb detonated while being fused in the bomb room, killing 13 and wounding 5. Hodge went into the bomb room and was able to rescue several badly injured men. He found one man crushed under two heavy bombs, which could not be moved single-handedly. Obtaining help, he dragged the man clear, and sent him up on deck. He did not leave until he had satisfied himself that no one was left alive. He showed outstanding courage, without any thought for himself and not knowing if further explosions might occur.

On 2nd August 1940, it was announced in the London Gazette that Sandy Hodge was to be awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal of the Military Division, though he never actually received it. Less than a month later, the new George Cross had been created and replaced the EGM. In 1942, Sandy joined HMS Saxifrage, a flower class corvette, escorting Arctic and Atlantic convoys.

Late in 1943, Sandy transferred onto HMS Mentor, the minesweeper base in Stornoway, for a year – the only time in World War II he spent on dry land – but during this year he met Pauline Hester Winsome Hill in the Hebrides where she was a WREN and they married in 1944. They went on to have a son and two daughters.

After his time ashore, he joined the crew of the battleship King George V as the chief intelligence officer of the 1st Battle Squadron in the British Pacific Fleet. At the end of the hostilities, he left the RNVR with the rank of Commander (though continue links with them in the 1950s), and returned to Edinburgh to practise law. He worked as a family lawyer for Cowan & Stewart until his retirement in 1984. In later life he became Chairman of the Standard Life Insurance Company and served on the board of several charitable and educational institutions. Sandy died on 4th January 1997 in Edinburgh aged 80, and was cremated at Warriston Crematorium. His medals including his GC, War Medal 1939-45 with Mentioned in Despatches oakleaf, 1953 QEII Coronation Medal, 1977 QEII Silver Jubilee Medal and Royal Naval Reserve Officers Decoration (VRD) are privately held.