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Brothers in arms

Wednesday, 24th April, 2013

Megaw & Hogg Auctioneers in Argent Street. Picture from the Outback Archives. Megaw & Hogg Auctioneers in Argent Street. Picture from the Outback Archives.

By Paul Armstrong

The winds of war were blowing across Europe during 1914, the brutality of man against man; country against country was coming to a deathly crescendo.

In Broken Hill the sentiment for King and Country was shrouded in controversy. Many young men signed up but hundreds angrily spoke against the war in rallies around our city and also in the wider Australian community.

World War One unleashed a horrendous toll on millions of people around the world including Australia.

Archie Hogg enlisted in 1914, and then was followed by the youngest of the family 'Walla' Hogg in 1915.

Also in 1915 Jack Hogg applied to enlist but was rejected on medical grounds due to defective eye sight, and in 1916 Les Hogg joined up.

Mr and Mrs Hogg of Cummins Street had three sons in the services and over time all three went off to war in the prime of their young lives. Hundreds
of people gave the Broken Hill contingent a send off at the Sulphide Street railway station. A presumed great adventure was about to begin.

Gallipoli, the trenches in hell; the stench is horrific as shells and bullets are thrown at Allies and enemy placements all along the beach front, this place in time will define Australia as a nation.

After months of silence a letter arrived and nervously Mrs Hogg read the letter from Sapper 'Walla' Hogg dated September 1915.

Dear Mother, We are on active service.

We are well at it now, the Turks are good shots but so are a few of our fellows. There are a lot of Broken Hill lads here on Gallipoli. Brother Archie came over and I was pleased to see him.

Love Walla.

Only days later Archie Hogg was wounded and he was transported off the Gallipoli Peninsular. Many more weeks of horrendous fighting took place. Only spasmodic letters arrived home, and then months went by without a word. It became known through news about the war that the lads were now fighting on the western front. Then dark foreboding clouds came over Cummins Street in November of 1917.

The dreaded Telegram; Lost in Action. Les Hogg was reported missing during October 1917 and no news was forth coming.

The light of life was presumed snuffed out in the battlefields of Europe.

Then from the bleakest of news came a letter six months later; dated April 1918.

Dear Mother,

How are things in Australia? I am well and a prisoner of war in Hanover, Germany. The Red Cross is providing us with boots and socks, food is not
bad here, but it is very tough for other lads around the country.

Love Sergeant Les Hogg.

In Cummins Street a mother lit a candle and prayed. Over the years the three lads had been in constant movement from battle to battle and one became a prisoner of war.

After Gallipoli places like Passchendaele, Ypres, Belgium, France, Germany and England were part of their lives from 1915 to 1919.

'Walla' Hogg was joined in the Engineers by his brother Archie Hogg who was wounded at the first Gallipoli landing but returned before they were sent to Egypt, and then transferred to the western front in France.

While on the front Archie received his commission to Lieutenant.

Les Hogg was taken prisoner near Passchendaele in 1917 and was taken to Hanover in Germany.

In terrible conditions they were forced to work during freezing weather in the winter, with Red Cross packages on many occasions saving the lives
of the Australians.

He was finally repatriated from Germany to England in December 1918.

The homeward journey, the return of the Hogg Brothers in 1919 created much interest with Les and Archie bringing back wives from Europe.

There to meet the boys who became men were Mr and Mrs Hogg, daughter Muriel Mrs E Johns and their brother Jack.

After a few weeks John Walter 'Walla' Hogg remained with his father's firm in Broken Hill, Megaw & Hogg Auctioneers.

Les moved onto working with the Bank of Australasia. Archie opened a car garage business in Victor Harbour with his brother Jack.

By 1927 Archie was manager of a major car dealership in Sydney.

Sadly Mr William Hogg passed away in February of 1926, his wife Mrs Jane Amelia Hogg passed away in 1942 in Sydney.

The firm J P Megaw and Hogg auctioneers transferred an Agency to Adelaide in 1912 and continues today under the guidance of the Quigley family.

It is of interest that in 1912 Archie Hogg held the car race record from Broken Hill to Adelaide of 16 hours over the dirt tracks.

ANZAC DAY means so much to our generation today; we give thanks that the three Hogg lads were returned safely home to their family in 1919.

For those who remained forever young, we will remember them.

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