Biography

Birth date: 28 April 1919
Birth place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Death date: 23 November 2001
Death place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Final rank: Lieutenant
Service number: VX18229 - Second World War, 1939-1945

Francis George (Frank) Hodgkinson was born into an artistic family; his brother Roy also became an official artist during the Second World War. Leaving school at 16, Frank supported himself with casual work while studying at the Royal Art Society of New South Wales under Sydney Long, and later with Dattilo Rubbo in his breakaway studio. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Hodgkinson was working for the Herald newspaper in Melbourne. In May 1940, he enlisted in the army (service no. VX18229) and was posted to 7 Division Headquarters. By October, he was in the Middle East. Serving in the Syrian Campaign in 1941, he was also promoted to sergeant and worked as the assistant editor on the Australian War Memorial's first army Christmas Annual, Active Service. The black and white illustrations were often lusty renditions of Australian soldier exploits in the Middle East while on leave, and these are now in the Memorial's art collection.

Hodgkinson spent much of 1942 and 1943 serving in New Guinea on the Kokoda Track and was mentioned in despatches in 1943 for conspicuous gallantry. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1944 and took charge of 7 Military History Field Team, which was responsible for coordinating the collection of information and objects for the Memorial. During this time, Hodgkinson continued to find time to paint and draw the men and activities around him, as with Owen Stanley trail. In March 1945, he was appointed an official war artist.

Hodgkinson's tenure was relatively short in comparison to other artists, and limited to a single theatre of war. He was attached to 7 Australian Division and sent to Morotai in May. After several weeks at sea, he took part in the amphibious assault on Balikpapan, Borneo, in July 1945. The works he painted around this time capture the troops' sense of frustration at the weeks of enforced inactivity onboard a transport vessel, and in contrast the frantic energy of the events at Balikpapan. As an official artist, Hodgkinson placed himself on the front line. This is borne out in the immediacy and veracity of his works depicting the Australian infantry in close contact with the enemy as they fought their way inland.

One of Hodgkinson's most prolific and flourishing periods of art production was during his service as an official artist. He completed and forwarded to the Memorial some 70 paintings and drawings; however one shipment of 12 pieces and over 70 drawings and sketches were stolen on their arrival in Atherton, North Queensland.

After the war, Hodgkinson travelled to Europe to study art; and, following a few years back in Australia, later took up residency in Spain. His interest in landscape saw him revisit Papua New Guinea and resettle in Australia at the end of 1970.

Rolls and Awards

Honours and Awards : Mention in despatches

  • Unit: 7 Division
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Collection Items

Photograph

067412

BURLEIGH HEADS, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA. 1944-07-14. VX18229 LIEUTENANT F.G. HODGKINSON, AUSTRALIAN MILITARY HISTORY AND INFORMATION SECTION, LAND HEADQUARTERS, (1) EXERCISING AT THE BEACH SECTION OF THE 7TH DIVISION PHYSICAL TRAINING CAMP.

067412

110980

BALIKPAPAN, BORNEO. 9 JULY 1945. BATTLE WEARY TROOPS OF 2/33 INFANTRY BATTALION, WATCHING LIEUTENANT F HODGKINSON, 7 MILITARY HISTORY FIELD TEAM, SKETCHING TROOPS RESTING BY THE ROADSIDE ON MILFORD HIGHWAY.

110980

P00945.001

SANANANDA, NEW GUINEA. 1942-11. SERGEANT FRANK HODGKINSON, OFFICIAL WAR ARTIST, RELAXING IN FRONT OF A LARGE TREE, AFTER THE KOKODA TRAIL CAMPAIGN. (DONOR K. HODGKINSON)

P00945.001

067415

BURLEIGH HEADS, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA. 1944-07-14. VX18229 LIEUTENANT F.G. HODGKINSON, AUSTRALIAN MILITARY HISTORY AND INFORMATION SECTION, LAND HEADQUARTERS (1) EXERCISING AT THE BEACH SECTION OF THE 7TH DIVISION PHYSICAL TRAINING CAMP.

067415

066308

MELBOURNE, VIC. 1944-05-25. PORTRAIT OF VX18229 LIEUTENANT F. HODGKINSON, OFFICIAL WAR ARTIST, MILITARY HISTORY SECTION, LAND HEADQUARTERS.

066308

Art

Infanteers and Matilda tank advancing thru industrial area, Balikpapan

Infanteers and Matilda tank advancing through industrial area, Balikpapan. Seven human figures surround a tank on a road in the foreground. A building with flames and falling debris in the midground. A smoke filled sky and building in the background.

ART26557

Australian Soldier with Owen Gun (Sergeant J.F.M. O'Halloran)

Portrait of Sergeant J.F.M. O'Halloran, with an Owen gun.

ART26558

Native boy

Native boy, starvation case in N.I.C.A Hospital, Balikpapan

ART26559

Native girl

Native girl (15 years old), starvation case in N.I.C.A Hospital, Balikpapan.

ART26560

Syrian mule train

Two Australian AIF soldiers direct two mules carrying packs up a rugged mountain track in Syria.

ART26567

Patrol in banana plantation, Syria

Three Australian Infantry carry their weapons up high as they thrash through the undergrowth during patrol of a banana plantation in Syria.

ART26568

Keeping up appearances

Keeping up appearances depicts four scenes in which soldiers are taking part in recreation activities.

ART28055

Owen Stanley trail, Aloha

Alola; unidentified men scrambling up steep pinch on Kokoda Track, northern side of Owen Stanley Range; Kokoda

ART28335

Kumusi River, 1942

Wire rope bridge built by Australian engineers on the Kumusi River, New Guinea.

ART28564

Owen Stanley trail

Alola; unidentified infantryman lying on ground in utter exhaustion; Kokoda Track

ART28565

Two dead Japanese dead at dawn

Two Japanese dead at dawn. The date and place made of this painting has not been confirmed, but it is believed the artist painted it in either Balikpapan, or Sydney, in either 1945. or 1946.

ART25509

Occupation Force moving upstream to Bandjermasin

This is a record of the amphibious movement of Australian troops through swelling water as they moved upstream to Bandjermasin, Kalimantan Selatan, Indonesia.

ART25510

Ruins of the oil refinery, Balikpapan

Ruins of the oil refinery, Balikpapan

ART25511

Corporal R Grigg

Portrait study of NX99043 Corporal R F Grigg, DCM, 2/25 Australian Infantry Battalion, won the Distinguished Conduct Medal during the fighting along Milford Highway, Balikpapan.

ART25513

25-pounder carried ashore and into action on a DUKH, Balikpapan

Australian soldiers are ferrying a short 25 pounder gun ashore on an amphibious load carrier (named after the US Army's serial numbers DUKW).

ART25514

L.S.T'S discharge heavy equipment by floodlight

Troops opening up the landing ships tank at night to unload the equipment on board by floodlight.

ART25515

Part of cracking plant feature plant, Balikpapan

Part of cracking plant feature shows the devastation of attack by troops in Balikpapan.

ART25516

3" mortar in action beside Milford Highway, Balikpapan

Two Australian Infantry prepare the 3 inch mortar for action beside Milford Highway, Balikpapan.

ART25517

Night unloading at Able Green Beach, Balikpapan

A scene on Klandasarn Beach, known for the purpose of landing operations as "Able Green Beach", during the second night of Operation "OBOE TWO". Infantry of 21st Australian Infantry Brigade had made their initial beach assault here. The picture depicts the unloading of heavy machinery, vehicles...

ART25894

Night unloading at Able Green Beach, Balikpapan

A scene on Klandasarn Beach, known for the purpose of landing operations as "Able Green Beach", during the second night of Operation "OBOE TWO". Infantry of 21st Australian Infantry Brigade had made their initial beach assault here. The picture depicts the unloading of heavy machinery, vehicles...

ART25895

2" mortar in action

Members of 7 Platoon, "A" Company, 2/33rd Australian Infantry Battalion man a 2" mortar on Acid Feature, Balikpapan. The capture of Acid Feature marked the conclusion of the main offensive of 25th Australian Infantry Brigade against the Japanese force astride Milford Highway, since it was outside...

ART25896

Pushing inland on "F"Day, Balikpapan

Troops of the 2/27th Australian Infantry Battalion are seen being transported in landing craft up the Klandasan Besar River soon after they had made an assault landing on "Able Green" Beach on "F"Day (1st July 1945). Some advanced on foot searching for stray Japanese who miraculously had survived...

ART25897

Japanese prisoner of war

The subject of this head study, Yataro Iwata, a Japanese Naval civilian was captured by 2/16th Australian Infantry Battalion on Malang feature during the second day's fighting at Balikpapan. This drawing was made by the aritst in the POW compound shortly after he was captured.

ART25898

Japanese prisoner of war

The subject of this study, Yataro Iwata, a Japanese Naval civilian was captured by 2/16th Australian Infantry Battalion on Malang feature during the second day's fighting at Balikpapan. Drawing made in POW compound shortly after he was captured.

ART25899

Infanteer with Owen Gun sitting in captured chair - Private V McClanaghan

QX29694 Private V McClanaghan, 2/31st Australian Infantry Battalion; sitting in chair at YMCA refreshment stall. This sketch was made during the operation 'OBOE TWO', the assault on Balikpapan, at a forward detachment of the YMCA which was supplying refreshments to the troops from a stall...

ART25900

Private W Fletcher

Portrait of VX46911 Private W A Fletcher, 2/14th Australian Infantry Battalion, sketched whilst taking part in Operation 'OBOE TWO', the invasion of Balikpapan.

ART25901

Digger with Owen Gun

A rough pencil sketch of an Australian soldier looking down carries an Owen Gun across his body with his right hand on the trigger. This drawing was used for reference purposes and was to be used later in a composite picture.

ART25902

Australian Infanteer mans PIAT Gun

Members of "A" Company, 2/33rd Australian Infantry Battalion who took part in the fighting along Milford Highway, Balikpapan. The man in the foreground is firing a PIAT (Projector Infantry Anti Tank) gun, while the other watches for enemy snipers.

ART25903

Jeep driver (Private W.A. Fletcher)

VX46911 Private W A Fletcher, 2/14th Australian Infantry Battalion wearing waterproof clothing used by dispatch riders, jeep drivers and motor cyclists, 2/14th Australian Infantry Battalion;

ART25904

First Japanese envoys for surrender negotiations arrive at Balikpapan

Japanese envoys Captain Tsujihashi, Lieutenant Commander Tsuneyo Nanda, Lieutenant Yoshifumi Kubota, all naval officers, and interpreters Nagashima and Ohdone with attendants bearing a basket of bananas as a gift from Vice Admiral Kamada, Commander of Japanese Naval Forces in Dutch Borneo, to...

ART25905

Colour note for landscape or Tank Plateau, Balikpapan

Situated on a table top feature to the west of Parramatta feature is Tank Plateau, with its huge squat oil tanks. Not one of these tanks had escaped our bombardment and during the second day's fighting many were still smoldering from the pre-assault bombardment, while at odd moments a tremendous...

ART25906

Infanteers operating 108 set

Showing members of "A" Company, 2/33rd Australian Infantry Battalion operating a '108' wireless set. This type of set, though heavy, is mobile and has proved reliable during operations, Milford Highway, Balikpapan.

ART25907

Private Jack Frost with Brengun

NX93105 Private Jack Frost, 7th Platoon, "A" Company, 2/33rd Australian Infantry Battalion, who distinguished himself in the fighting in Balikpapan.

ART26211

Moving up to the front Milford Highway, Balikpapan

Infantry of 2/33rd Australian Infantry Battalion pause for a mug of tea on their way to the fighting line at a forward detachment of the Red Shield Mobile Unit.

ART26212

British Indian prisoner of war

Study of Naik Kirpal Singh of 15 Punjab Regiment. He was one of the many prisoners held by the Japanese in Dutch Borneo and released during operations of Balikpapan. Natives reported that many British Indian prisoners were held by the Japanese in the area across the Balikpapan River from...

ART26213

Snowy Tait

Depicts a three quarter portrait of 'Snowy Tait' in the Middle East.

ART90678

[Untitled sketchbook]

Sketchbook contains a series of 10 watercolours and one charcoal sketch made in Syria in 1941

ART94180

Loading of Artillery onto L.S.T.s

Personnel of 7th Australian Division loading L.S.T.S (Landing ships, tank) with artillery and stores to be used in the amphibious landing at Balikpapan. The first stage of the voyage was to Morotai, the staging area and thence to Borneo. Smith Creek, Cairns, Queensland.

ART22410

Embarkation of 7th Australian Division troops

Showing troops of this Division embarking onto and L.S.T (Landing ship, tank) for Morotai and thence to Balikpapan for the amphibious landing, 'OBOE TWO'. Smith Creek, Cairns, Queensland.

ART22411

Waiting to embark for Balikpapan, Red Beach, Morotai

Almost immediately on arrival at Morotai, troops began to re-embark - this time on ships of the assault convoy. Day by day thousands of military personnel moved in draft onto the slowly swaying wharves. There was no bustle, no accident. Heavy field guns, flamethrower tanks(Frogs), Matildas,...

ART25512

Recreation in No.1 hold

Troops of 7th Australian Division aboard U.S.S Jefferson Davis en route from the Australian mainland to Morotai, the first stage of the journey to Balikpapan for the amphibious assault landing operation "OBOE TWO". Troops were crammed onto all manner of ships, making their own amusement to pass...

ART25934

Troops relax in No. 1 hold

A scene on board U.S.S Jefferson Davis, a Liberty ship conveying troops of the 7th Australian Division to Morotai from the Australian mainland. From Morotai they were proceeded to Borneo for the amphibious assault on Balikpapan.

ART25935

7 Australian Division loading vehicles and stores

Scene at Smith Creek as personnel of 7th Australian Division load stores and equipment onto L.S.T's (Landing Ships, tank) for transport to Morotai, the staging area of the "OBOE TWO", amphibious assault on Borneo at Balikpapan.

ART25936

"Looking Aft"

Aboard the Liberty ship U.S.S Jefferson Davis, bound for Morotai with troops of the 7th Australian Division en route to Borneo for the amphibious assault "OBOE TWO" on Balikpapan.

ART25937

"Washing on board"

Troops of the 7th Australian Division wash their clothes aboard the Liberty ship U.S.S Jefferson Davis, during the voyage from the Australian mainland to Morotai, the staging area for the amphibious assault, "OBOE TWO", on Balikpapan.

ART25938

Recreation in No. 3 hold

Showing troops of the 7th Australian Division on board the Liberty ship U.S.S Jefferson Davis laying on their hammocks playing cards on the voyage from Cairns to Morotai en route to the emphibious assault landing at Balikpapan, Borneo.

ART25939

Looking for'ard

On U.S.S Jefferson Davis, a Liberty ship conveying troops of 7th Australian Division from mainland Australia to Morotai and thence to Balikpapan for the amphibious

ART25940

Troops crossing river, October 1942

Frank Hodgkinson's earlier sketch of this subject is dated October 1942 and has a direct correlation to the artist's experience with 7th Australian Division. Hodgkinson enlisted in May 1940, but was not appointed an official artist until March 1945. During that period, he was dedicated to making...

ART27524

25 Pdr gun

Study of Australian soldiers loading the 25 pounder gun

ART94187

Australian wounded and Chinese bearers

Depicts studies of Chinese stretcher bearers and wounded Australian soldiers

ART94185

[Untitled]

This work looks across some farm fields that are enclosed by tall narrow trees. A road on the left disappears out towards the mountains in the background.

ART94180.010

Myola

Australian soldiers depicted in the jungles of Myola, New Guinea

ART94191

Infantry tank advance through Balikpapan

Australian Infantry and Matilda Tank advancing through Balikpapan.

ART26562

Airstrip Dunkerque

Depicts the temporary airstrip on the beach at Dunkerque containing a fence and barbed wire which stretches out along the beach

ART94189

Laying corduroy track, Samarinda

Australian soldiers prepare the corduroy track at Samarinda East Borneo in 1945. The corduroy track is a road made of tree trunks laid transversely.

ART94184

Recreation in the forward hold of USS Jefferson Davis

7th Australian Division troops aboard USS Jefferson Davis, en route from the Australian journey to Balikpapan for the amphibious assault landing operation Oboe 2'. Troops were crammed onto all manner of ships making their own amusement to pass away the monotony of the two or three weeks at sea in...

ART22412

[Untitled]

Study of a night move depicting Australian soldiers wearing full uniform carrying full packs marching along a road surrounded by a convoy of trucks and vehicles.

ART94188

Kafr Houn

A view of the shell smoke filled village of Kafr Houn and its valley as it sits between steep sloping hills.

ART94180.007

[Two Australian soldiers relaxing]

Two soldiers in full uniform stand in a relaxed pose. The figure on the left is examining up close and the figure on the right is holding a mug.

ART94181

Balikpapan

Three studies of Australian soldiers carrying their kits including rifles and shovels.

ART94183

[Untitled overlooking roofs of a town]

This is a painting of the roof tops of a crowded Middle Eastern city.

ART94180.006

[Untitled Man reading a book]

A man is sitting cross-legged reading a book.

ART94180.011

Beach Dunkerque

Depicts the beach at Dunkerque

ART94190

Storm over Broumana

This work depicts many white buildings with terracotta roofs that draw attention to a large three level building on the summit of a hill. These buildings standout as a storm approaches the town of Broumana.

ART94180.002

Damour R.

This is a landscape looking down a valley road towards some buildings and the mountains in the distance. The curves of the road follow the Damour River past a small group of isolated buildings set in the side of a steep hill.

ART94180.009

Balikpapan

Seven men carrying heavily loaded sacks on their shoulders.

ART94182

'Luny Lane' Saida Djessine Rd

Beneath an overcast sky a large cliff can be seen leading down to a flowing river. The river continues down the valley, disappearing at a turn with a small rectangular building. Above the river to the right is the road that runs along the base of a steep rise. The road mirrors the path of the river...

ART94180.003

Merdjayoun & Fort Khiam

This work was painted from the police post near Metulla and shows the vastness of the surrounding countryside. In the distance on the far left the barracks at Merdjayoun can be seen atop a hill. To the right on a hill is Fort Khiam. These were both important points in the 7th Division's advance...

ART94180.005

Near Kafr Houn

A landscape of rolling hills with a small forested area on the right side.

ART94180.008

Japanese 125 mm dual purpose gun

A close up study of the Japanese 125 mm dual purpose gun

ART94186

Storm over Broumana, Lebanon

This is a watercolour painting of a town in the Lebanese countryside. The artist has depicted the road leading up to a reasonably sized town containing several multistoried buildings. On a high point of the scene is a white building with a terracotta roof that stands out prominently against the...

ART94180.001

'Luny Lane' Saida Djessine Rd

This landscape depicts a section of the Saida-Djezzine road that leads into a town. The road runs along the base of an escarpment, disappearing from view as it passes a house perched on the edge of a cliff.

ART94180.004

Timeline

Date of birth 1919-04-28
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1940-05-28
Date of discharge 1946-05-09
Date of death 2001-11-23