Letter from Pat Hogan to Rev Jim Hogan



Letter from Pat Hogan to Rev Jim Hogan


Writes he is still waiting to return to unit. Catches up with mail to and from and writes of religious matters. Asks about father's health and continues with more religious discussion. Explains about camp and camp hospitals with explanation of how they were built. Mentions he intended to transfer to the navy and asked why his father had not consented. Continues with speculation over the future and talks of possibly joining the air force as well as commenting on his instructors and the food,




Temporal Coverage




Eight page handwritten letter


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Letterhead [ Catholic Welfare Organisation ] 4August 1942
Northam W.A.
Dear Jim,
No doubt you see all my letters not long after they arrive home so there is not much need to go into too much detail re my doings.
I’m still being punished here waiting to return to the unit & hope for my own sake I’ll be back this week. However I’ve had the same hope each week for quite a while now.
I received your letter dated 28 June a week or so back, which had been readdressed about ½ doz times. Did you receive my little booklet on the Mullewa chapel alright? I consider the booklet to be a very poor illustration for its’ simplicity & quaintness could never be reproduced. I don’t think it states in the booklet that it was designed and constructed entirely by the Parish Priest although I understand he had to employ a helper to erect the bell tower. Moreover since the booklet was constructed a porch way has been erected leading from the sacristy to the “Priesthouse”, all of which is built from the same rock in the same quaint manner. The whole of the porch way is lined with statues of BV M , Sacre Coure etc.
There are no two ways about it, this little chapel is definitely intriguing.
What is the position with Dad’s health? Is it in any way serious? Please God he’ll soon be his old self again.
Naturally it is months since I last saw Fr. Broderick but no doubt I’ll see him again when I get back to the Bde & will pass on your message. Since leaving I have been well off as far as Mass is concerned. At Claremont we had Mass on both the Sundays at the YMCA & here the CWO is a beautiful building & of course there is at least one Mass each Sunday. During the week there is a curtain drawn at the rear of the stage. It is raised on Sundays to display a very nice mahogany altar. The building itself is very nice, tiled roof & an interior almost resembling a hotel writing room it is so modern & so well equipped, as also are all the other huts. This letterhead is an example of the way they do things over here.
Did you get to Fr. Halloran’s ordination? Apparently they are keeping you pretty busy. You certainly must have had some rain over there; the weather here is simply wonderful. I’m glad to hear C.Y are still battling on & hope the school cleaned up the Tech & the High. Things are at a low ebb when girls’ basketball have taken the limelight.
You evidently have the wrong impression of our “camp” & ‘camp hospitals. Think of it this way: Imagine it if about 200 hundred trucks drove off the road and into a fairly wooded & camouflaged area such as “One Tree Hill”. Knocking or cutting down saplings or trees in the way, clearing the undergrowth here and there in order to erect a tent and chopping down trees to make tent poles. First thing each man does is dig a slit trench for himself about 3’ deep and long enough to be in done flat out. This is done immediately whatever the hour.
As soon as the tents are erected & drains dug about them a party is detailed to dig a latrine 10’ long by 3’wide by 8’deep. Another party helps erect the kitchen portable stove, trench fires etc, whilst another gets wood etc. Another gets the office in ship shape order whilst machine gunners set up their achy ach defence usually in a circular trench about 5’ in diameter & 6’ deep. This usually takes a while and is carefully camouflaged & always manned. We sleep on ground usually fully dressed & in general live like pigs on rotten tucker & crook water carted many miles. Of course at present this camp is much better fitted & more elaborate than any over east, but I’m speaking of battle stations.
The camp hospitals, MDS( Medical Dressing Station) &C C S ( Casualty Clearing Station) are many miles behind lines & apart and are merely a collection of tents, with a limited supply of medical equipment.
You probably know I intended to try to transfer to Navy for there was a wonderful opportunity in the offing in the land of opportunities. However Dad’s consent is lacking after I rang home last week to ask him to send it on. I was wondering if you had anything to do with his refusal or hesitancy in the matter. It is officially too late this time & I’m letting it go but, but I don’t intend to do so again, for they don’t bother checking the age given on the name given.
You must realise by now that the war is not going to be one by concentrating troops on our shores waiting for the enemy to take us by surprise.
Page 7 - on ‘Red Shield War Services ‘paper
The only method of defence is attack and the sooner we realise it the better. It has been brought home to me in many ways lately. If I can’t get into the Navy, I’ll try Air Crew. To stop me I’m afraid, you’d have to produce some pretty convincing argument, for I’m itching to see a bit of action and get the thing done with. I feel that my ?? capabilities are negligible & I’ll transfer to the Air Force if my other efforts are unsuccessful. At present I’m in the pink touching the scales at 11.9 & my muscles are rippling. Our daily routine at present is as follows: Reveille 0630, ‘Blitz’ Parade 0640, 10 mins run around area, Break -730, Parade (fully polished up and showered, huts swept) 0800- 2 hours solid PT without a break & nearly ready to drop- 10 min “smoko” – 2 ¼ hours machine gun instruction and lectures by returned men. We commenced a route march at 1/4 to 2 and march solidly till 5.30. The country side is very hilly and rocky but very picturesque and the weather perfect. Each afternoon we cover between 12 and 14 miles and are kept at it all the time.
Our present instructors have all been in the thick of it overseas, some wearing decorations. They keep us working very solidly, but know their onions through bitter experience. However we work twice as hard for them than for our previous lot, who were all old chaps who were stationed here since the beginning of the war & who talked a lot of copy book stuff, that was all hooey. These men now are Australians to the bone, are real white men and are very popular. The meals at present are terrible after what we’ve been having & I’m spending quite a bit at the canteen on pies, cake, biscuits, coffee & occasional ‘quick eze’, so no wonder I feel in the pink eh! Our dress by day is merely shorts and shirt although it is a bit cool before the sun comes up properly, and we have to ? don a bit more when the sun goes down. With emphasis on the cold I might add that I hop under a cold shower immediately we are dismissed from the route march each day. After it however I feel quite warm and refreshed although it certainly takes my breath away.
Well Jim, I’m feeling the need of a snooze so had better make for bed. I might add that, whilst thanking you sincerely for remembering me, I don’t forget the rest of you although my surroundings aren’t the best. The last two Sunday nights I’ve been lucky enough to be in a position to get to Rosary & Benediction at St. Joseph’s Northam. I have beads, prayer book, ( supplied by Fr. Broderick to all Bde Catholics) & piety bag thanks. When I return to unit I should be equally well placed for although “bushed” we will not be far from Perth.




P J Hogan, “Letter from Pat Hogan to Rev Jim Hogan,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 19, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/32049.

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