Jodie Kidd’s journey included research into her great grandfather, Sir Rowland Frederick Hodge. He was a shipbuilder, who had his own company, but suffered disgrace after being convicted of food hoarding in 1918. Nonetheless, he was awarded a baronetcy in 1921, despite the conviction, and Jodie went to the Parliamentary archives to find out how and why. These are online at
The archives contain documents relating not just to political history, but also a great deal of personal correspondence between political figures. Jodie was able to find letters about her great grandfather among the papers of David Lloyd George that were not altogether flattering!
The first was from the King’s private secretary complaining that a baronetcy was awarded to someone with such a past. The second one was from Winston Churchill, dated 1918 (before Sir Rowland’s conviction), warning Lloyd George that he had been offered a bribe in return for awarding “a certain Hodge” a baronetcy. However, Lloyd George did not listen and awarded it anyway. This was one of many bribes Lloyd George’s Liberal Party had accepted. It was this corruption that led to the collapse of the coalition with the Conservatives in 1922.
www.parliament.uk/ business/publications/ parliamentary-archives.
Oswald’s Merchant Navy record, including a youthful photograph