232 HAGUE, James Henry

Searching for a Portrait
Searching for a Portrait

232 James Henry Hague


232 James ‘Jim’ Henry Hague was born in Taralga near Goulburn New South Wales in 1891. His father Henry a school teacher was born in Yorkshire, England. His mother Marion Parker Gray was a native of Scotland but travelled to Australia from England.  Marion’s father was Reverend James Gray who was a Presbyterian minister , later ministering in Lismore and Ballina, New South Wales.

James was the eldest sibling with brothers Albert ‘Bert’ George b. 1892, William G 1895, who died as an infant, Stanley Arthur b.1902, Douglas Wainwright b. 1904, and his sisters, Marion G b. 1898 and Jessie G b. 1900.

In January 1912 James was appointed as a cadet draftsman with the Department of Public Works NSW and was employed up to his enlistment in 1914.



 Jim was at Gallipoli from landing day  on the 25th April up to the 5th May when he was struck down with Dysentery and was transferred to the Australian General Hospital N0.2 formerly the Chezireh Palace Hotel in Cairo. While Jim was in hospital he wrote a letter to his father and described some interesting episodes of trench life at Gallipoli, the great work of the Navy and the Red Cross and how well he was treated while in hospital.

Ghezira Palace No 2 Aust Gen Hosp. AWM C00531
Ghezireh Palace No 2 Aust Gen Hosp.


“The Albury ‘Daily News’ publishes a letter received by Mr H. Hague, school master, of Lavington, from his son. Sapper J. H. Hague, 1st Field Company of Australian Engineers, who was amongst the first troops to leave Alexandria for the Aegean Sea and was in hospital at Cairo.
The following are extracts from his letter:—
The Turks are very treacherous. They do not recognize The Red Cross, but fire indiscriminately at anyone, I may here remark that our Red Cross men have done marvellous work. The Turks constantly hoist the white flag, but we disregard it. They even try to give our bugle calls.
German officers come into our lines and give orders, but all their deep-laid artifices fail. We had interpreters with every regiment, and nearly all have turned out to be spies, and have been shot. A German officer, wearing the uniform of an Australian victim, came into our trenches
and said… ‘Now, boys, we will give them a bayonet charge!” …One of our officers standing near, replied,… “Who are you!”… “An English officer!” he returned.
“Cover him boys!’ was our officer’s order. “Fire!” That was the end of the German.
Our men will be even with them before many days. I only wish to be back again to do my share.
The Australians have made a name for themselves. The Navy cannot praise them enough. In fact they say that they are doubtful whether British regulars would have effected a landing at all. I may here say that the Jack Tars don our uniforms and creep up to the trenches to have a random shot.  The navy has done wonderful work in every way. They put out of action a howitzer battery at one shot, and silenced a fort of 30 guns in a few minutes. An armoured train was destroyed by the Queen Elizabeth by means of a single shell. The Turkish losses must have been enormous.
Now, a word about the hospitals here. I was sent here with the wounded on a troopship.
There are about 3000 in Cairo. The building I am in was a large hotel, and now there are 480 patients in it. It is capable of accommodating 500 more. Four other hospitals are in Cairo.
We are treated very well I get everything I require.” – Source: The Henty Observer
James recovered and reported back for duty at Gallipoli on 2nd June and remained until the company was evacuated in December 1915.

In March 1916 James embarked to Marseilles with the 1st Field Coy. and was on leave in Paris for two weeks, a month before hitting the battle front at Pozieres. He was promoted to Corporal while in France in July 1916. Jim managed to survive the battle of Pozieres and continued the hard work performed by all the Engineers up to September the following year.

In September 1917 Jim was transferred to the Engineers training depot in  Brightlingsea England where he attended cadet school.

Informal group portrait of officers at the AIF Engineer Training Depot at the Manor House, Brightlingsea, Essex. : courtesy AWM P06249.004

The Australian Engineers Training Depot (AETD) was established in Brightlingsea, Essex England in 1916 and during  the second half of World War I, thousands of Australian’s and many  of the New Zealand troops spent time in Brightlingsea, many learning the skills of the ‘sapper’ in conditions made to mimic those on the western front.

For over 100 years Brightlingsea  has maintained this connection to the ANZAC’S and particularly its interest in the Engineering Corp.

2016 is the year that the Brightlingsea Museum has organised a centenary remembrance of the ANZAC and particularly its interest in the Engineers and tracing serviceman who married while stationed in Brightlingsea and later whisked their wives off to Australia.

Many of the “originals” of the  1st Field Company Engingeers spent time at Brightlingsea AEDT.

The Museum is conducting a wonderful event “Brightlingsea ANZAC Centenary weekend 17th, 18th & 19th June 2016.”

Links to the Museum  and the  BBC story are below….




Meanwhile back in Australia , Jim’s brother Albert , who was married and a law Clerk with T.J Belbridge of Albury,  had enlisted and was attached to the Infantry, No. 3073 with the 33rd Battalion.

In January 1918 James returned to England where he was transferred to cadet school and officer training at Kelham Hall, England, where he applied for a commission and was appointed 2nd/ Lieut and posted to the 3rd Field Engineers 1st and returned to the front in August

Within a few weeks of arriving  James on the 12th September 1918 received a gunshot wound to his right elbow/arm and was invalided back to Cobham Hall England.

The war was over for James…..

In August 1918 – James mother passed away , she had been described as ailing for many years when James had embarked, her death was not unexpected, however James would have received news of his mothers passing possibly around the same time as being wounded.

James recovered from his wound and returned to Australia on the SS Takada  on the 11th February 1919.


At Sea. c. 1918. Australian servicemen homeward bound aboard troopship SS Takada occupy all available space watching a boxing tournament.

At Sea. c. 1918. Australian servicemen homeward bound aboard troopship SS Takada occupy all available space watching a boxing tournament. AWM HO1715/ HO1696

James ‘Jim’ returned home to Lavington in May 1919 to a welcome home evening organized by the Lavington Soldiers Welfare Committee. These were popular fixtures for the community and always well attended by everyone including returned serviceman.

His brother Bert was wounded in the hand in France and returned as well and was also given a warm welcome home which was published in the ‘Albury Banner and Wodonga Express’ …..  the article gives an insight into these wonderful community occasions.

“a splendid gathering and the proceedings were of a most enthusiastic nature. As usual at these functions the first part of the program was devoted to musical items given by Albury friends assisted by local artists. “

Speeches followed and a medal presented . Reference was made to Bert’s success at also completing and passing his solicitor’s exam whilst serving as a soldier.

Bert responded with thanks and complimented the people of Lavington for supporting the “Diggers” and hoped that after the “glamour of victory “ had subsided that they “ would stick to the “diggers” and help them on”. At the conclusion of the formalities everyone sang “ For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”, refreshments were served and the guests table was draped with the soldiers colours.

The remainder of the evening was occupied by games and dancing.”  Source : Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, Friday 12 September 1919,

In February 1918  Jim returned to his previous occupation at the  Department of Public Works and was a Surveyor draftsman 2nd grade and remained on the public service list up to 1953.

It was some years after the war that Jim later married Mildred Edith Battis Henderson in 1926. They later had three children together.

Jim’s father, Henry, died in October 1941 in Albury , he was age 77 and was one of the towns best known citizens. He had been a school teacher and Headmaster at nearby Lavington for 30 years. He retired form teaching in 1921, but remained very active in public life of the village of Lavington.  He was treasurer of the show society, the Albury bowling club and the UAP branch and an elder at the St. David’s Presbyterian Church.

Headmaster Henry Hague (Standing Far Right) - Source: The Observer
Headmaster Henry Hague – Source: Courtesy – The Observer


He was so well regarded by the community for his work in advancement of the district and during his life they honoured him with the naming of  the street that Lavington school is situated and also made requests to have a public reserve also named in his honour. Henry was buried at the Albury Pioneer Cemetery.

When he passed he was survived by his four sons and two daughters. His son Douglas was still residing in Albury and was a solicitor and partner in the law firm Belbridge Hake and Hague.

Hereafter little information of James, his wife Mildred and thier family has been discovered.

James Henry Hague died in Manly Hospital on the 23rd Sept 1960 from a coronary occlusion. His wife Mildred applied for his Gallipoli medal in 1967. She was still living at their home at  57A Crown Rd, Harbord NSW.

Mildred died in August 1974 age 82.

service 9


Story copyright © Vance Kelly2016

 Family Notes:

Living descendants Unknown –

Known son Paul Hague died December 2005 age 77 years

Additional family photos have been sourced but awaiting permission to add to this site. It is possible that a photo of James is also available.

Albert George Hague later served again in World War ll –  NX107450

Brothers Stanley died in 1968, and Douglas Wainwright died in 1978, his sister Jessie Gray died in 1982.

Sources & Acknowledgments:

AWM, NAA, NLA, Ancestry.com, The Observer, and Albury Banner and Wodonga Express.

Ancestry source – Tamaringasmith