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16 October 2014
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The Great War - Hobbs Brothers

The phrase fact is truer than fiction would be an apt way to describe the following story. 

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The Great War - Hobbs Brothers

The phrase fact is truer than fiction would be an apt way to describe the following story. 

July 8th 1916

Neighbours of The Hobbs family in Union Street, Lurgan recall the day the telegram boy cycled up the street at pace to deliver the shocking news that many men enlisted from the surrounding area - Sloan Street, Hill Street, Edward Street and Castle Lane had been killed in the Great War.

The door of number 143 Union Street was opened by Mrs Hobbs who fainted as the telegram boy handed her the message which confirmed the news that tragedy had befallen her family. Not an unusual occurrence at this time. Except what sets Mrs Hobbs apart form the many, many mothers who lost sons to war, was that she had just been told that three of her four sons fighting in France were dead.

Hobbs Brothers
David Hobbs
Herbert Hobbs
Andrew Hobbs
Robert Hobbs

In the film Saving Private Ryan, which tells the story of four American brothers who fought together in the Second World War, the plot follows a race to find the fourth surviving brother before, he too, becomes a statistic.

In parallel to the film the fourth Hobbs brother was eventually found and returned home.

Herbert Hobbs came home in August 1916, after falling injured in the same battle as his three brothers had given their life for.

After recovering from serious leg injuries, Herbert cared for his Mother until she passed away. He then moved to Denver, USA where he raised three sons of his own - Harold, Les and Noel.

Local war historian Jim McIlmurray (whose work this story is transposed from ) keeps in touch with one of Herbert`s sons - Harold Hobbs and wonders how the fiction of the film Saving Private Ryan impacts on him and his family.

Are you a relation of the Hobbs family from Lurgan? Do you know of other families who suffered a similar loss?

Share any information or stories you might have, discuss this article at the bottom of the page or e-mail ypam-online@bbc.co.uk.

YOUR RESPONSES

Barry Finlay - Jan '08
I came upon this article quite by chance while doing a web search, My Paternal Grandmother was Elizabeth Hobbs and came from Lurgan, she was a daughter of Nathaniel Hobbs, She lived into her late 90's and died in the early 1970's.
I am sure there is a connection, She had a sister Martha (Mash) and two brothers William and John.

My grandmother married Samuel Finlay in the early 1900's Martha married Willie McCoy in Lurgan Presbyterian Church and emigrated to Canada.

I was wondering if you had any more info on either the Hobbs Family or the Finlays who also resided in Union Street Lurgan.

Barry Finlay

Alice Dean - Aug '06
Great to see the work of Irish history historian Jim McIlmurray here. He helped me locate my grandfathers records after I had about just given up. If not for him stories such as mine and the above would be lost forever.
My grandfather was killed in the last months of the war leaving five children and a wife. All I had was his name and he had died in France.
Alice Dean Boise

Robert Leslie Hobbs - Feb '06
Hello Hazel,
My name is Leslie Hobbs. It was my three uncles whom were killed in the Battle of The Somme and my Dad who was injured and was in a hospital in England and was listed as missing in action.
My Dad, Herbert George Hobbs died in 1947 at our home at 47 Ann Street in Lurgan. In 1957 my Mom and Noel, Harold and myself moved to Denver, Colorado. Harold was 23,Les was 21 and Noel was 19. We all married girls from the U.S. My wife, Judy is from Kansas. We have two Daughters and three grandchildren that all live here in Denver.

Would love to hear back from you. Thanks for getting the story right as Jim McIlmurray did have it wrong. My Dad never lived long enough to come to the states. He always said he wanted to come to the U.S. Wish our kids and grandchildren could have met him. My wife always said she was sorry she never got to know him. My Mom,Dorothy, died in Jan of 1996 here in Denver. Both of my brothers, Noel and Harold, live in the Denver area too. They are both married and have kids and grandchildren. Hope to hear back from you. Les Hobbs.

Hobbs: Frances Mary Geraldine - January '06
I am not sure if this is the same Hobbs family as that of my father: Alfred Gerald Hobbs of Queen Street, Lurgan. He was born around 1918 and had brothers Joseph, Alec and James and sisters Maureen and Sheila. His father, Nathaniel, was a cattle dealer/butcher. Can anyone help? I live in England and cannot find anyone who knows my family.

Hazel Comerford (nee Rollin) - June '05
We were neighbours of the Hobbs family in Ann Street.... My Mother being a great friend on Mrs Hobbs... Mrs Hobbs went to Denver with here son's Harold Leslie and Noel.... This was after Mr Hobbs passed away which I believe was due to his injuries from the war...

Barry Finlay
I came upon this article quite by chance while doing a web search, My Paternal Grandmother was Elizabeth Hobbs and came from Lurgan, she was a daughter of Nathaniel Hobbs, She lived into her late 90's and died in the early 1970's.
I am sure there is a connection, She had a sister Martha (Mash) and two brothers William and John.

My grandmother married Samuel Finlay in the early 1900's Martha married Willie McCoy in Lurgan Presbyterian Church and emigrated to Canada.

I was wondering if you had any more info on either the Hobbs Family or the Finlays who also resided in Union Street Lurgan.

Barry Finlay


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