WITH the current television program, Anzac Girls, appearing each week it is interesting to look at some of our local women who enlisted as nurses.
There were quite a few and some are hard to find as they usually were working in city hospitals at the time and enlisted from there.
However, there was one local family which was possibly unique in that it sent two sons and two daughters to the conflict. The family's name was Hocquard.
The Hocquard family had its origins in Northern Ireland.
John Hocquard was a sea or harbour captain who appears to have been based on the Northern Rivers, employed by the Harbours and Rivers Department.
He was at Iluka for a time until his hut was burnt down and then he apparently moved to the Richmond where he married Sarah Ann Newberry in 1886.
The Newberrys were also of Irish descent and there are still descendants in our area. John and Sarah Hocquard had eight children, five sons and three daughters. Their eldest son died as a small child. The four eldest of the remaining children were to enlist.
All were born at Byron Bay. Some time later, however, the family moved to Stockton where John worked as a harbour captain at the Port of Newcastle.
David Stanley Hocquard was born in 1893 and enlisted in 1916 aged 23. He had been working as a warehouse assistant. He became an artillery gunner. Little is known of his war details but no doubt his unit was involved in the fighting in France.
He returned to Australia on 6 November 1918. As he returned just before the end of the War it is likely that he had been wounded. He married Pansey Pauline M. Kennard in 1921 and spent the rest of his life in the Newcastle area where he was a commercial traveller. He died there in 1969.
His younger brother, Harold, was not so lucky. He and David had both been volunteers in an artillery militia unit based at Newcastle so he too became a gunner when he enlisted in the A.I.F. in 1915, aged only 20. He also was single and had worked as a warehouse assistant.
He became attached to the Siege Artillery Brigade but on 17 April 1916 he was transferred to the 55th Battery which was part of the 36th Heavy Artillery Group. He was wounded, possibly at Arras, and died of his wounds at the 48th Field Ambulance in France on 27 April 1917. He is buried at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, a village just north of Arras.
Harold had two older sisters who were both trained nurses.
The younger one, Genevieve, appears to have enlisted shortly after Harold died. Her sister, Annie, had enlisted in 1916. Both became part of the Australian Army Nursing Service and served well into 1919.
They no doubt returned to Australia on a hospital ship bringing back badly wounded soldiers. Annie was the eldest in the family and was aged 30 when she enlisted. Genevieve was 26 when she enlisted in 1917. It does not appear that either married. Like many other nurses of that era they were probably dedicated to their profession.
The younger sister and two younger brothers were too young to join the conflict. All the family remained in the Newcastle area. One joined the Army in the Second World War. Their father, John, died at Newcastle in 1941 and their mother, Sarah Ann, died in 1956.