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09 July 20
Peter Rothery OSC1964
Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC
A 1916 photograph titled 'Five Walking Wounded' featuring soldiers stationed at 'Ontario Military Hospital' based in Orpington, United Kingdom. William (Bill) Hobson OSC1907 is featured in his dressing gown, second from right. William was placed in the hospital after being wounded at the Battle of Fromelles, France.
Peter Rothery OSC1964 donation of ‘A Collection of Photographs belonging to William Crookston Hobson OSC1907’
Peter Rothery OSC1964 has donated photographs from two albums belonging to his grandfather William 'Bill' Hobson OSC1907. Bill attended Scotch College for his finishing year in 1907, aged sixteen. The albums span eight years from 1911 to 1919, carefully documenting his life, before and during World War One.
The photographs portray a youthful adult working on the land at Arthur River, enlisting for service in World War One, travelling through Egypt including the Suez Canal and Cairo on his way to the Western Front, Hospitalisation in England, living in London and returning home via Cape Town South Africa. On return to Australia in 1919, Bill documented his time at Albany’s tented Quarantine station during the Spanish Flu Pandemic. The images further document his wedding to Vickie Hamel at St George’s Cathedral Perth and honeymoon at Caves House, Yallingup.
Bill’s time in action on the Western Front was short but distinguished. In 1916 he served with the 53rd Battalion, 14th Brigade, 5th Division, in the first major action by the AIF on the Western Front at the ‘Battle of Fromelles’. During this campaign the Division of around 7,000 servicemen suffered 5,533 casualties, with almost 2000 deaths. The assault has gone down as the worst day in Australian military history. Bill survived the battle but was wounded and evacuated to England. He was a stretcher bearer and awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for his bravery, in bringing wounded in under very heavy fire for twenty seven hours while suffering a large shrapnel wound himself.
The first album dated September 1917 was made as a birthday gift for his mother Lillian. The meticulously curated album features time living in London, following discharge from hospital. The album covers the 1916/17 winter of ‘The Big Freeze’ and captures moments of the summer living in London alongside his best friends and fellow soldiers Bert Hill and Charlie Rowsell.
On reflection the photographs displayed in the album of servicemen on their way to World War One is a poignant reminder of Australia’s innocence at that time. However, as one examines the albums closely, you are overwhelmed by an authentic first-hand view, sensing the excitement of a young man travelling the world.
The Scotch College Archive is thrilled to receive this unique donation documenting the life of Old Scotch Collegian William ‘Bill’ Hobson OSC1907. The College is extremely appreciative to Peter Rothery who arranged the donation of photographs to the school. The collection in detail is available to view on the Scotch College Archival website: https://archives.scotch.wa.edu.au/pages/search.php?search=!collection125312&order_by=&sort=&archive=&daylimit=&k=&restypes=
The Scotch College Archive is thrilled to receive this unique donation documenting the life of Old Scotch Collegian William ‘Bill’ Hobson OSC1907 and appreciative to Peter Rothery OSC1964 who arranged the handover of photographs to the school in July 2019.
Peter Rothery holds full copyright of the photographic images and information relating to the albums dated 1911 - 1919 created by William 'Bill' Hobson OSC1907.