The Hobbs brothers, sons of John and Ellen, were born in the Inverell District NSW. John, a Carpenter aged twenty nine, and Donald, a Labourer aged twenty two, enlisted in November 1915 and agreed to serve from 12 January 1916. On that day they joined the First Contingent of The Kurrajongs on their journey to the Narrabri and Armidale camps. Their brother Arthur, a Labourer, enlisted at Inverell in May 1916 when he was twenty four years old; William enlisted at Teralba NSW in May 1916.
John and Donald became members of the 33rd Battalion and trained at Armidale. John transferred to the 2nd Reinforcements at Rutherford and left Australia on HMAT A68 Anchises in August. Donald went to the 3rd Reinforcements in May 1916 and sailed on HMAT A72 Beltana in November.
John went to France with his unit in November 1916 and was Killed in Action on 8 June 1917 during the Battle of Messines. He was buried at Toronto Avenue Cemetery, Warneton, Belgium. His personal effects which included a wallet, photos, fountain pen, souvenir locket and scissors were returned to his wife who he had married just before leaving for War service.
Donald was in England until sent to France in June 1917. After the War he applied for three months leave in England to work for Messrs. Samuel Elliott and Sons, at Cavesham to gain experience in carpentering and joinery. He returned to Australia in September 1919.
Arthur went from the Armidale Camp to Menangle Park in July 1916 to join the Australian Light Horse 1st Squadron. He left Australia on HMAT A13 Katuna in November 1916 to serve in Egypt and Palestine. During 1918 he became ill with malaria followed by double pneumonia which caused his death. He was buried at Kantara War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt.
William, who was working as a Miner and living at Toronto NSW, joined the Newcastle Depot Battalion when he was twenty seven. He was discharged seven weeks later because three members of his family were already serving. He married Jessie Johnson at Inverell in 1915 and they lived in Sydney after the war. William died in 1968.
Before the War the Hobbs boys were keen members of the Little Plain Rifle Club. When Donald returned from the War he was given a welcome home at Little Plain and presented with a gold inscribed medal.
Privates John, Donald and Arthur Hobbs are remembered at Inverell where their names are inscribed on the town’s Honor Roll. During 1919 John and Arthur were among the 215 men for whom memorial trees were planted in Kurrajong Parade, Inverell. The Inverell Cenotaph is inscribed with the names of John and Arthur, whilst at Delungra their names are recorded on the new memorial gates at Anzac Park.
Photo: Arthur, William, Donald and John Hobbs c 1915 - image provided by relatives