At the outbreak of WWI, Richard Hobson enlisted in the army and was sent to the battlefront in France. Like many young Australians at that time, he died too young at age 27. He fought bravely alongside his fellow Australians, many of whom also did not return. With his death came the end of the Hobson family line. Richard Hobson is buried at St Marie Cemetery Le Havre in France, never to return home. His name lives on forever on the memorial at the Kenmore Village Shopping Centre.
The history of local Diggers continues with this story researched by Tayla Powell.
Richard Griffith Hobson was an only child and came from the farming community of Kenmore. He lived with his mother, Florence Hobson. His father, Richard Griffith Snr, passed away at an unknown date some time before Hobson enlisted into the Australian Army to serve in the First World War.
After Hobson’s death, Florence would have been alone to tend to the farm and house. Sadly, she passed away in 1928, ten years after her only son’s death in France.
Hobson enlisted on 13 September 1915 (National Archives of Australia, 2014), at a time when going to war was an honor. This was a period when Australia felt deep loyalty to the United Kingdom and so when the UK declared war against Germany, Australians very much wanted to aid the mother land. Earlier in 1915 was the disastrous landing of the ANZAC troops at Gallipoli, which sparked anger and an urge to avenge fallen Australians. This sentiment would have greatly influenced Hobson’s decision to enlist.
After enlistment, Hobson became Private R G Hobson (service number 4800) and was a part of the 15th reinforcements. He was just 24, eager for war and full of patriotism and ‘war fever’. Hobson embarked for training in Egypt on 28 March 1916 on the HMAT A73 Commonwealth. He was then transferred to France in the 11th battalion on 29 September 1916.
Just twelve days after landing in France, Hobson contracted Laryngitis and was transferred to a hospital where a week and a half later he was diagnosed with Functional Aphonia, which is a weakening of the immune system as a result of severe stress and/or emotional disturbance. After his hospital stay, Hobson was moved to the 9th battalion infantry. Over the next two years, he was sick another three times with complications resulting from Functional Aphonia, before passing away from Pneumonia on 25 October 1918, just three weeks before the end of the war.
Like Private Hobson, many of the servicemen who never returned home from WWI, passed away from complications and diseases caused by the horrendous circumstances in which they fought so courageously.
Lest we forget