William Paton (Bill) HOGGARTH

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HOGGARTH, William Paton

Service Numbers: 758, Commissioned Officer, Officer
Enlisted: 29 August 1914, Morphettville, South Australia
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 50th Infantry Battalion
Born: Naracoorte, South Australia, 25 October 1889
Home Town: Hawthorn, South Australia
Schooling: Prince Alfred College, University of Adelaide
Occupation: Civil Engineer
Died: Killed in Action, Noreuil, France, 2 April 1917, aged 27 years
Cemetery: Noreuil Australian Cemetery
(E. 4.)
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Goodwood HB2 Presbyterian Church*, NaracoorteM*, National War Memorial (South Australia), University of Adelaide WW1 Honour Roll Mitchell Bldg*
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World War 1 Service

29 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 758, Morphettville, South Australia
20 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 758, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 758, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Adelaide
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 758, 10th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC Gallipoli
30 Apr 1915: Wounded ANZAC Gallipoli, GSW - shoulder
6 Dec 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 10th Infantry Battalion
17 Mar 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 50th Infantry Battalion
10 Jul 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 50th Infantry Battalion
23 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN Commissioned Officer, 50th Infantry Battalion, Pozières
5 Aug 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN Commissioned Officer, 50th Infantry Battalion, Pozières, GSW - buttock (2nd occasion) GSW is an interchangeable term describing either a 'gunshot wound' or a 'general shrapnel wound' - the latter being caused by a shrapnel shell which projected round lead balls leading to wounds largely indistinguishable from those caused by small arms fire.
2 Apr 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN Officer, 50th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages

Extract from Bean

… The line given by the 50th was, except as regards the left, incorrect. After advancing about 250 yards without opposition both flanks of that battalion had met some resistance. The left company had pushed on to its objective - Point 81, where Skyline Trench was crossed by the Pozières –Thiepval road; but opposite The Quarry there had opened a gap of 350 yards. This was partly due to the operation orders not having got through to all the platoons. Thus, in the line advancing near The Quarry, all that was known to the platoon commander, Lieutenant Hoggarth, 'was that he was to go forward under the barrage and more or less conform to the company on his right. This he did, crossing the dip, mounting the far slope (passing east of The Quarry) and reaching, just over the rise, some large mounds of earth and rubble, which - though he was not aware of it were the southern ruins of Mouquet Farm. No one moved in the place, which then lay under the British barrage. Still with the notion of following the barrage, Hoggarth moved along a zigzag trench nearby (the German “Grosser Riegel”) until he was wounded by one of the shells of his own side. Some Germans in a dugout were killed and others captured and sent to the rear, and a German bomber, who now emerged from the farm whirling a stick-grenade, was shot. Recognising that with Germans so near he could not hold an isolated position, Hoggarth retuned, and dug in near Point 81 ; to his right was a wide gap, on the other side of which the centre and right of the 50th-still out of touch with the 13th-were established in detached bodies, 100 yards short of the objective.

Taken from the Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918, Volume III – The Australian Imperial Force in France, 1916 (12th edition, 1941)
Author: Bean, Charles Edwin Woodrow (C E W)
Chapter: 21
Page: 755 – 756

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Biography

Lieutenant Hoggarth's Military career in the AIF was very distinguished and quite astonishing considering that he was twice seriously wounded. Although, not recognised by medals of gallantry he is credited by C.E.W. Bean as having been the first Australian to reach Mouquet Farm as part of the 50th Battalion's advance on 12/13 August 1916.

***

Son of William Hanna Hoggarth and Helen Hoggarth, William Paton Hoggarth was born at Naracoorte on 25 October 1889, in South Australia. He moved from Naracoorte to Adelaide for higher education at Prince Alfred College and after finishing there he took a degree as a civil engineer following his father's footsteps who was also an engineer at the time. He resided at Hawthorn in Adelaide at his enlistment and stated he was single and was Presbyterian by religion.    

At 25 years old, he was one of the first to answer the Empire's call enlisting on 29 August 1914 at Morphettville. He embarked for overseas service as a Private with the service number 758, with 'E' Company of the 10th Battalion from Adelaide on 20 October 1914 aboard HMAT Ascanius (A11). As part of the 10th Battalion he would land on the dawn of 25 April 1915 at Gallipoli. Five days after the landing, on 30 April 1915, whilst serving at Gallipoli, he was wounded in action (bullet wound shoulder) and evacuated to Cairo for medical treatment. After a full recovery he re-joined his unit on 17 June 1915 at Gallipoli and remained with them until the evacuation in December of that year. 

Back in Egypt, whilst the AIF underwent an expansion and a consolidation of its units, he was transferred to the 50th Battalion. Having previously been promoted up through the ranks from Private to Company Sergeant Major (now Sergeant Major), he was appointed a Second Lieutenant on 17 March 1916 in the new 50th Battalion. He proceeded to France from Egypt with the 50th Battalion in June 1916 and was promoted to Lieutenant on 10 July 1916.

The 50th Battalion's first main action on the Western Front was at Mouquet Farm between 12 August and 16 August 1916. In just five weeks of heavy fighting there the AIF had suffered 23,000 casualities - the highest number ever recorded in that given period of time. During the fighting Lieutenant William Hoggarth had led a Platoon into action and after making an advance and consolidating the position on 13 August 1916 he was severely wounded with a general shrapnel wound (gunshot wound?) to his buttock. During the advance however, he was credited by C.E.W. Bean as having been the first Australian to reach Mouquet Farm, (see story below from the Official History by C.E.W. Bean) before being forced to return to a more secure location at Point 81. For his wounds he was originally taken to the 7th Stationary Hospital on the French coast and then was later evacuated to England for further medical treatment where he was admitted to Highgate Hospital on 16 August 1916.       

He fully recovered again and was discharged from hospital on 5 October 1916. He proceeded overseas to Etaples where he stayed for several months before re-joining the 50th Battalion on 14 November 1916. He saw the New Year peacefully and for most of the early months of 1917 the Battalion was rotated between front line duties and resting behind the lines in the Somme region. In February 1917, however, the German Army started withdrawing from its trenches to the much consolidated Hindenburg Line. The Allied Forces started to actively pursue the Germans, but to slow the Allies down the Germans had fortified several towns and isolated strong-hold positions along with using defensive artillery fire and other booby traps of sorts. By early April the Allies were right in front of the Hindenburg Line, only separated by a several so called 'outpost villages'. Noreuil was one of these and on 2 April 1917 the 50th and 51st Battalions were tasked with attacking and taking the town.

Lieutenant Hoggarth who was in 'D' Company (the company on the far left of the 50th Battalion's advance) faced tough resistance from several strongly held forward machine gun posts. Intelligence at the time had located some of these sites but failed to find all of them and as a result this made advancing rather difficult. As Lieutenant Hoggarth led the first two Platoons forward however, much of it was chopped down by this machine gun fire. Indeed, Lieutenant Hoggarth was also wounded by this machine gun fire but he refused the help of his men when they turned back to assist him. Instead he shouted "Go on! go on!" to them, prefering the advance to continue rather than stall so that his men could help him. Hoggarth was, however, never seen alive again as he succumbed to his wounds on the battlefield. Originally listed as wounded after the battle, this was later changed to wounded and missing before he was officially listed as killed in action. His body was later found and identified and buried in Noreuil Australian Cemetery, France. He was 27 years old.

Researched from personal service papers and the AWM. Nathan Rohrlach, 2014.

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