Adam Murdie Hogg - Part 1


Preface

During the Great War Woodcote Park, Epsom was used as a military camp, first by the University and Public Schools Brigade of the Royal Fusiliers and then as a convalescent camp. Although the convalescent camp was run by the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps they treated many thousands of service personnel from various Imperial (Commonwealth) countries. To give an idea of the numbers involved in January 1918 the camp treated 2655 patients, the average stay was around 42 days and each day over 3250 dressings were changed.

We wanted to do something to honour the medics and all those who were treated at the camp but with such large numbers involved it would be impossible for a small group of volunteers to research everyone who was at the camp. So we have chosen to record the war service of just one man who would represent the whole. We have been greatly assisted by, and wish to thank, the family of Adam Murdie Hogg, who have provided much of the biographical information and images used on this page.

Peter Reed, Webmaster

Scottish Roots and Emigration

Adam Murdie Hogg was born on 15 October 1895 in New Belses, Roxburghshire, Scotland (parish of Ancrum, near Jedburgh) to Alexander and Jessie Hogg. Adam's parents married on 28 December 1888 in the Parish of Ancrum at Birseslees.

The 1901 census records the family living at 'Belses Joiners House', Ancrum, Roxburghshire. Adam's father Alexander, was a 41 year old general labourer. His mother was aged 40, and his older brother James, was aged 7. Living with them was 82 year old Jessie Murdie, the mother of Adam's mother.

Adam, mother Jessie, brother James and father Alexander in Scotland, 1901.
Adam, mother Jessie, brother James and father Alexander in Scotland, 1901.

The Hogg family emigrated to Alberta, Canada in 1906, and were perhaps typical of the thousands of families from the British Isles who emigrated to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA, in search of a better way of life. Many, like Adam, were destined to return to fight for the 'Old Country' in the Great War. It has been suggested that some 60% of those who served in the Canadian Army during 1914 - 1918 were born in the UK.

On arrival in 1906 the family travelled by train from Calgary to Innisfail, Alberta, where it seems they had to buy all their supplies. They travelled by wagon to their homestead, and are recorded in the 26 June 1906 Canadian census as living in Pine Lake, Strathcona, Alberta. However, the census is somewhat confusing as they didn't live in Pine Lake, they went straight to Elnora, which is about 30 miles from Innisfail. They owned two horses, two milk cows and two meat cattle. It was noted that all the family could read and write.

The Hogg family was one of the first families to settle in Elnora, about 8 miles from Pine Lake, and they had a part in the naming of the town. The name Elnora was chosen, honouring both Mrs. Hogg and Mrs. Edwards, who looked after the birthing of babies and the general welfare of the district.

Initially they lived in tents whilst they built a wooden shack, which was a stop-gap whilst they built their main house, completed in 1910. The shack hosted the first church service in Elnora in 1906, so they did not have to live in tents for very long. The shack must have been well built, as it was still standing on the farm as late as 2000. In 2011 the main house was still in occupation by Adam's family.

Shack c1914. Adam on the left, Adam's parents, an unknown, then Adam's brother Jim on the right.
Shack c1914. Adam on the left, Adam's parents, an unknown, then Adam's brother Jim on the right.

Some of the settlers, including the Hoggs, for a time lived in 'soddies'. These were little houses made from cutting sod and stacking it together to form a house and they were usually dug in against a bank. The winter of 1906-1907 was very severe with four feet of snow, drifting to fourteen feet. A friend of the family, Bella Stroyan, also from Scotland, spent her first winter in a tent at nearby Ashcroft. The early settlers must have been a tough hardy bunch!

The 1916 census, taken on 1 June, shows the family living in the Red Deer district of Alberta. Adam's father and brother James are described as farmers, whilst Adam was described as a soldier and farmer. They stated their religion as Presbyterian.

The house and family in Elnora, 1916. Click image to enlarge
The house and family in Elnora, 1916. Click image to enlarge

Links to
Part 1 - Scottish Roots and Emigration
Part 2 - Enlistment and Embarkation
Part 3 - Active Service
Part 4 - Convalescence at Woodcote Park
Part 5 - Back to War



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