George Hogg (adventurer)

George Hogg (adventurer)

George Hogg (1914-1945) was an English adventurer. He was a graduate of Oxford University in economics. He is well known for helping New Zealander Rewi Alley save 60 Chinese schoolboy war orphans in 1944.

Early life

Hogg grew up in the small town of Harpenden in England. He attended St. George's School, where he captained the First XV Rugby team and was Head Boy in his last year.

In 1937 he sailed on the Queen Mary to New York, hitchhiked across the United States, and joined his aunt, well-known English pacifist Muriel Lester, on a trip to Japan as part of a round-the-world trip before taking a job in banking. In January 1938 he embarked from Japan on what was supposed to be a two-day visit to Shanghai, but he never returned home: he died seven years later in China. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Long march of a forgotten hero |url= |publisher=Sunday Times Magazine |date= |accessdate=2008-06-22]

Life in China

On arriving in China he found himself caught in the middle of the undeclared war between the Chinese and Japanese. Witnessing the brutality of the Imperial Japanese Army, he decided to help the Chinese civilians, choosing to stay in China without his parents' knowledge.

Hogg also reported as a stringer for Associated Press. He accompanied Mao's Eighth Army in Yenan, was thrown out of China by the Japanese, then stole back in via Korea. For a time he helped a New Zealand nurse smuggle food and medicine to the communists. [cite web |url= |title=Children Of The Silk Road |accessdate=2008-07-03 |quote= |publisher=Sydney Morning Herald |accessdate=2008-07-03 |]

During his stay in China he met people and witnessed many incidents that greatly changed his perceptions of life. Primarily, he worked with the New Zealand-born communist Rewi Alley and helped him run a school for wayward boys, first in Shaanxi Province and then, after marching the boys over convert|600|mi|km, at the Shandan Bailie School that Alley founded in Gansu Province.

He also befriended Communist general Nie Rongzhen during his stay in Shanxi, and participated with the 8th Route Army in guerrilla raids against the Japanese. He adopted four boys whose dying mother asked him to look after them. Three of them are still alive in 2008 and remember him well.

handan Bailie School

In Gansu, Alley rented some old temples, turned them into classrooms and workshops, and appointed Hogg as headmaster. From the beginning the school was helped by New Zealand friends, who later formed the New Zealand China Friendship Society. In July 1945 tragedy struck when Hogg died of tetanus after stubbing his toe while playing basketball with the boys. He was buried just outside the South Gate of the town, and Alley became headmaster. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Shandan Bailie School |url= |quote= |publisher=NZ China Friendship Society |date= |accessdate=2008-06-22]

His pupils tried to keep him alive. When his death was inevitable they all sang him nursery rhymes until he passed away,Fact|date=July 2008 aged 30.


An abridged and modified account of his life and adventure is portrayed in the feature film The Children of Huang Shi (2008), also called Children of the Silk Road or Escape from Huang Shi, starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Hogg and Chow Yun Fat as the intelligence agent Chen Hansheng.

His life has also been chronicled in "Ocean Devil: The Life and Legend of George Hogg" by James MacManus, published by Harper Collins. His own acccount is George Aylwin Hogg, "I See a New China" (Boston: Little Brown, 1944), which includes his participation in the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives project in rural industrialization.



* [ Times article]
* [ NZ China society]
* [ China Radio]
* [ Sunday People article]
* [ Children Of The Silk Road - Film Reviews - Film - Entertainment - ] at

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