Harry Mogg (1860-1929)
Harry Mogg (1860-1929)
(North Somerset Council and Somerset County Council Heritage Service, 2014)
Harry Mogg led Mogg’s Military Prize Band at recruitment events and fundraising concerts
Harry Mogg was born in Milton in 1860. He was the eldest of the seven children of Henry and Anne Mogg. A self-taught musician, Harry started Mogg’s Military Band in 1887 to give the young men of Weston-super-Mare an alternative to the pub!
The Band was made up of working men. Harry Mogg himself worked as a postman, a plasterer and later ran the Castle Coffee House with his second wife.
Harry trained the Band in the upper floors of a Mineral Water Factory near Jubilee Road. They played at important local events and began to enter national competitions. In 1912 they won the national band championship at the Crystal Palace. This was particularly impressive as most of the other bands employed professional conductors.
Harry married twice, first to Amelia in 1881, with whom he had three children, Ethel, Frederick and Frank. He then married Louisa in 1887, and had four more children, Adeline, Vera, Lilian and Harry.
Band of Brothers
Harry was 54 years old when the First World War started. Throughout the war, Mogg’s Band played at recruitment events, gave patriotic concerts and entertained soldiers.
A recruitment event was held on the beach lawns in Weston-super-Mare to recruit new volunteers for a Weston Comrades Company. Sergeant Major Harry Baker of the Royal Field Artillery signed them on. Mogg’s Band played martial music to encourage patriotic feeling.
The younger members of the band themselves began to go off to fight.
One band member, Stanley Taylor, was killed while on active service in November 1914 while rescuing a wounded friend. Others were badly injured, some dying as a result of their wounds.
By the end of the war, the band dwindled from 32 to just eight members.
Harry continued to lead Mogg’s Band after the war ended. In 1929 his health began to fail and he had to retire from his role as conductor. He had conducted the Band for 42 years.
To celebrate his years with the band the Town presented him with an illuminated address-album and a cheque for nearly £200.
Harry died on 7 September 1929. He was 69 years old. He is buried in the Milton Road Cemetery. Mogg’s Band continued after his death but eventually disbanded in 1953. They had been finding it difficult to recruit new members as many young men were forced to leave Weston to find work elsewhere.