Robert Hogg was the son of Robert Batey Hogg, a marine engineer, and Amy Hogg of South Shields. After attending Westoe Secondary School in South Shields he entered Bede College in 1911, and obtained his Certificate in July 1913 (with Mathematics his optional subject); he also served as the Honorary Secretary of the College’s Missionary Society 1912-1913. Upon leaving the College he was employed as a teacher at St Stephen’s Church School in South Shields, served as Secretary to the St Mary’s Tyne Dock Boy Scouts, and lived in Frederick Street. He enlisted at Durham, joining 1/8th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry as Private 2742 and went to France with the battalion on 19 April 1915. The battalion were almost immediately engaged in heavy fighting on the Gravenstafel Ridge in which Hogg served with A Company. He was transferred to the first line transport on 26 April to replace a casualty, a position that should in theory have been slightly safer than the front line. Unfortunately later that day a shell dropped near the quartermaster’s stores and Hogg was either killed or mortally wounded and died shortly after. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission register records him as having died on 27 April 1915: the circumstances of his death were described by his company commander, Captain, later Major, F. G. Harvey, in a short account of the battle published in 1921.
The stores were by this time in a house at the west end of Vlamertinghe, and nearby in a field were 70 of our men who had returned there; among them being Lieut. Baldwin and Sergeant Teasdale, also R. Hogg (11-13), Shepherd, and others. M.D. Smith did not return as he had been wounded in the arm by a shrapnel bullet, so we got R. Hogg (11-13) in his place. But that evening, just when the ration carts were ready, the Germans suddenly opened fire on the town and fields around it, and there were many casualties, the hospital being badly damaged. The Q.M.'s staff were standing watching the havoc caused by shells falling among the Scots Greys, who were in an adjacent field, when a howitzer shell fell about 6 or 8 feet from us, and out of a group of nine, I was the only one unhurt. R. Hogg was killed by this shell, J. Smiles was seriously injured, and the Quartermaster and Q.M.-Sergeant were also wounded.
A Record of the War Service of Bede Men in His Majesty’s Navy & Army During The Years Of The Great War 1914-1918 (1921), p.47-48.
Harvey seems to imply that this incident happened on 27 April after 1/8 DLI had come out of the line. Major Veitch in his history of 8/DLI dates it to 26 April. Hogg is buried in Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery just outside Ypres in Belgium. Every year through to at least 1922 his family commemorated his death in the ‘In Memoriam’ section of the South Shields Gazette. As a County Council employee Hogg’s sacrifice is honoured on the memorial at Durham County Hall, and also on the Bede College 1914-1918 Cross, Plaque, and Roll of Honour. His name is also commemorated at various locations in South Shields, namely: the Westoe Secondary School Plaque, the Frederick Street Memorial, and the Cross in St Mary’s Churchyard.