Somme survivor met his end at Loos

OLD HOUGHTON: At roughly the same time as dozens of local men signed up to fight for King and Country in the Great War.
OLD HOUGHTON: At roughly the same time as dozens of local men signed up to fight for King and Country in the Great War.
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The Houghton War Memorials Project has unearthed dozens of tales of wartime heroism – including that of brewery labourer Robert Hogarth.

Robert, the eldest son of Northumberland drayman Robert Hogarth and his wife Ann, was born in Houghton in 1884 and was one of six siblings.

“The family originally made their home at John Street in Houghton but, by the time of the 1891 census, had moved to Kirtlea Lane,” said Fay.

“The next decade brought the death of Robert senior and, by 1901, Robert junior was living at the Wheat Sheaf Inn at Nesham Place in Houghton.”

Young Robert switched careers for a time, swapping brewery work for a job as a carter on a local farm, working for his uncle Thomas Rennoldson.

But by the time he married his sweetheart Elizabeth Carr in 1908, he was working as a brewery labourer once more. The couple lived at 9 Church Street.

“The couple had three children at the time war broke out in 1914. One year later, aged 32, Robert signed up for the Royal Horse Artillery,” said Fay.

Robert later transferred to the 2nd battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment, surviving some of the bloodiest battles of the war – including the Somme.

But, in 1917 – as his battalion fought to capture Hill 70 at Loos Salient – the Houghton man suffered fatal injuries. He died on April 13.

“Robert’s story is just one of many we have discovered during our research,” said Fay.

“We want our book to remember him – and all those who died in the conflict.”