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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

HMAS Sydney - Captain J.S. Dumaresq


peternoy

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Hi,

I'm a keen collector of WW1 items and I was wondering whether anyone could tell me anything about this large old oak framed pen and ink drawing of a World War 1 flotilla that i bought yesterday at a car boot sale:

IMG_0322.jpg

The picture is signed in the corner by the artist William Hogg, April 1917. When I opened it up to clean the dirty glass, I noticed that it was named HMAS Sydney and there was a handwritten inscription on the back saying "Given to me by William Hogg Lieut RGA April 1917" and then signed "J.S. Dumaresq, Captain, HMAS Sydney".

IMG_0316.jpg

If I read them correctly the inscribed names of the ships in the picture include HMS New Zealand, HMS Dublin, HMS Patrician, HMAS Australia, HMS Paladin, HMAS Sydney, HMS Obdurate and HMS Southampton:

IMG_0315.jpg

It is a nice thing. I guess by the 4 strong screw in brass fittings on the back of the frame to screw it directly into the wall, it may have hung in the Captain's cabin on board ship. I see on the web there is a bit about Captain Dumaresq and his career and even a photo of his cabin with pictures on the wall. I wonder if mine was one of them! ( HMAS Sydney - Dumaresq in cabin )

Anyway I was hoping that someone may know something about the artist William Hogg. Was he a crew member? I think RGA may stand for Royal Garrison Artillery?

Thanks for reading this and maybe if I'm lucky I can learn a bit more about this picture.

Pete

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No offence, Pete, but what a shame something like that ended up at a car boot sale! At least someone with an interest picked it up.

There is a William Hogg commissioned into the Forth R.G.A. in 1916 - http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/29768/supplements/9470. Maybe he was assigned to a May Island battery, and he came across the Second Light Cruiser Squadron, of which "Sydney" was a part, which was at Rosyth with the Battle Cruiser Force?

Simon

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Hi Simon,

I agree it is always sad that these kind of items lose their association and end up at car boot sales. I bought it from a house clearance type dealer at a car boot not far from Portsmouth - so I guess the last owner had died and any knowledge of it's history lost. Hopefully I can rediscover some of its context. I'm printing out any information that I can find into a binder and will keep it with the picture. Probably would have been dumped if I hadn't bought it. It was very dirty so hasn't been respected for many years. Wonder how many other things just get lost. See my other topic about an engraved WW1 German silver tray I found ( Silver tray ) - another car boot buy that I'm trying to find out about.

Thanks for the info on William Hogg. I've been searching for the name on the web but hadn't discovered anything. I think from the text you found that "Forth.—Cadet William Hogg to be 2nd Lt. (on prob.). 28th Sept. 1916" would be about right for him.

If he was artillery then wonder if he was on ship to aid with gunnery, or perhaps he just observed the ships from his coastal battery and sketched them.

The web seems to indicate that Captain Dumaresq of HMAS Sydney achieved great things in his short career and is highly regarded in Australia (see Dumaresq a Son of Australia and also Famous officers of the Australian Navy).

Only one month after this sketch was made there appears to be a famous confrontation between HMAS Sydney and a Zepplin ( HMAS Sydney vs Zepplin ) in May 1917.

I've managed to get a better photo of the other ships in the drawing:

IMG_0314.jpg

IMG_0324.jpg

Anyway, thanks very much for your interest and time!

Pete

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Pete

I think you've got a tremendous drawing there. Apart from the historic value it's a great drawing and as can be seen on your close up pics the artist has taken some considerable effort to get a good representation of the vessels. It would have been a crying shame for this to have been lost.

You've probably done some googling and may already be aware but HMS New Zealand and HMAS Australia were battle cruisers of the Indefatigable class. (paid for by their repective countries) For myself, compared with other battle cruisers this class had an ungainly look to them due to the superstructure appearing too close to the bow. The artist has captured this distinctive feature well and even without the identification on the drawing it would have been clear what class of ship they were.

a great find and a pleasure to view, cheers, ET

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