Oliver Hogue aka Trooper Bluegum, 1880-1919

Donna, 21 January 2014 · # ·

Portrait of Lieutenant (later Major) Oliver Hogue, 2nd Light Horse Brigade, later of the 14th Light Horse Brigade. Source: AWM A05426

As I have come to expect, our Great War project continues to make connections cementing bits and pieces of local stories gathered over the years.

I came across the name Hogue a few years ago when we mounted the exhibition Mosman & Friends: Bush flora & fauna in the decorative arts as one of the ceramic artists featured, Phillis Alston Hogue, was married to Clarence Hogue. Clarence was one of 10 children born to James Alexander Hogue and his wife, Jessie.

So when Tony Cable, who is researching First World War soldiers from Bathurst, came across the name Oliver Hogue, which is recorded on the Mosman War Memorial, he gave us a call. I quickly found that Oliver was the second son of James.

James Alexander Hogue was a man of many trades and after a successful career as a journalist he was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Glebe in 1895. Three of his sons signed up for active service in the First World War and only two returned. James died in 1920 at his home at 43 Moruben Road, Mosman.

Oliver Hogue was educated at the Superior Public School at Forest Lodge and in 1907 joined the staff of the Sydney Morning Herald as a junior journalist and very quickly reached the ranks of senior writer.

When war broke out Oliver tried to gain a role as war correspondent but was not successful so he enlisted in the AIF 6th Light Horse Regiment. By 1915 he was a lieutenant and aide-de-camp to Colonel Granville Ryrie. Oliver, an excellent soldier, was transferred to the Imperial Camel Corps in 1916 and promoted to major in the 5th Light Horse Brigade in 1918. It was this brigade that prevented the Turkish Army escaping through the Barada Gorge. Oliver never returned to Australia dying of influenza in London in 1919 and his personal effects sent to his father eventually found their way into the collection of the Australian War Memorial.

An observant person Oliver was an entertaining writer, firm in his belief in the fun loving larrikin Australian. While stationed in the Middle East he continued to send articles and stories to the Sydney Morning Herald under the pseudonym ‘Trooper Bluegum’.

Two books comprising his writings were published in 1916 as Love Letters of an Anzac and Trooper Bluegum in the Dardanelles, his third book The Cameliers was published in 1919, and some of his poems were included in the collection Australia in Palestine.

His other poems were presented to the Australian Red Cross and published in Poems and Picture: for the Red Cross Society along with photographs of the Society’s convalescent homes and activities with the aim of raising money for the Society.

A copy of this book has just been added to the Mosman Local Studies Collection.


Len Okell · 22 November 2014 · #

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My great uncle George Arthur Ferguson from Mossman, a Major in the 6th light horse HQ group served with Hogue from November 1914 until Hogue transferred to he Camel corps. They were good friends and often spent a night out together in Egypt

Blane Hogue · 13 November 2015 · #

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Oliver Hogue, known as “Trooper Bluegum”, was my great uncle. My father, also named Oliver Hogue, was a journalist in Sydney like his uncle.
Trooper Bluegum’s death was a terrible irony. Having survived four years of that horrible war, including being at Gallipoli, he died in 1919 in London during the influenza epidemic.

Melissa Bellanta · 8 March 2018 · #

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Greetings. This is a message for Blane Hogue. Blane, you don’t know who ‘M.A.K.’ was, do you? Hogue dedicates his book Love Letters of an Anzac to ‘M.A.K.’ I assume that this was his real-life sweetheart, to whom the love letters in the book were a tribute – but there is no mention of whether or not he in fact had a sweetheart during the war. If there are any family stories about this, it would be lovely to hear about them. I ask because I’ve been doing some research about soldiers’ love letters, and have been reading Hogue’s book as part of this.

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