Seconds from Hell
High definition Giclee print measuring 14″ x 34″
At the top end of Slad Village in Gloucestershire, there is a small war memorial which I grew up playing around. Engraved there is the name of my Great-Great Uncle Edward Hogg. He left ‘Rifleman’s Cottage’ in nearby Vatch Lane in August 1914 to fight with 1st Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment. It had always been a lifetime ambition if mine to one day follow in his footsteps and find out what exactly happened to him. The journey led me to the Belgium village of Zwarteleen, where I discovered the very field in which he was killed. On a damp and misty November morning (just like the day I made my visit!), his Battalion were ordered to attack two woods that were believed to be unoccupied by the enemy. Unfortunately, that intelligence proved to be false. My painting shows 7323 Private Edward Hogg looking back at us for the last time before advancing. Unfortunately, he and his pals were now only ‘Seconds from Hell’.
Jack Russell MBE
War Diary: 1ST Bn. GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT. NOVEMBER 1914
Nov 7th 9am
An attack was ordered to be made against the wood. This was held up by German rifle and machine gun fire. The battalion lay out in the open all day. Lt. Kershaw with a platoon of ‘A’ Company on the right were cut off and nothing more ever heard of them.
Roll call that night 213.
Casualties roughly 300, mostly killed and missing
THEY SHALL GROW NOT OLD,
AS WE THAT ARE LEFT GROW OLD,
AGE SHALL NOT WEARY THEM,
NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN,
AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN,
AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER THEM