Gunner 88714 John Bills

Died Home on Sunday, 20th May 1917, age 43.
Buried in Grave C. Ded. 105B. at Tipton Cemetery, Staffordshire, United Kingdom.

Royal Field Artillery, 42nd Reserve Battery.

Husband of Jennie Bury (formerly Bills), of 7, Primrose St., Camp Rd., Leeds
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, 14th September 1914.
Medal entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/395335/

Genealogical Data

1891 Census
66 New Road, Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffs.
James Bills (38, Coal Miner, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (36, born Tipton), and their 7 children: James (18, Coal Miner, born Tipton), John (16, Labourer in an Iron Works, born Tipton), Edward (9, Scholar, born Tipton), Richard (7, Scholar, born Tipton), Dinah (4, Scholar, born Tipton), William (2, born Tipton), and Thomas (3 months, born Tipton).

There is no trace of John Bills on the 1901 census as he was serving with the Royal Artillery in South Africa. His parents were still living in New Road, Great Bridge.

1901 Census
8 Court, 6 House, New Road, Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffs.
James Bills (52, General Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (50, born Tipton), and their 6 children: Edward (19, Tube Works Labourer, born Tipton), Richard (17, Tube Works Labourer, born Tipton), Dinah A. (14, born Tipton), William (12, born Tipton), Thomas (10, born Tipton), and Annie (7, born Tipton).

Marriage of John Bills and Mary Jane Sear registered September quarter 1904 in Dudley.

1911 Census
25 Avon Road, Blaenavon.
John Bills (36, Clay Miner, born Tipton), his wife Jane (28, born West Bromwich), and their 2 children: May (4, born Tipton), and Arthur (1, born Tipton).

Death of Mary J Bills, age 33, registered June quarter 1914 at Abergavenny.

Marriage of John Bills and Jennie Greathead registerd in June quarter 1916 in Leeds.

Marriage of Jennie Bills and Charles Bury in March quarter 1919, still in Leeds.

Personal Data

John Bills enlisted with the Royal Artillery on 24th June 1892; he was 18 years and 6 months old, 5 feet 3¼ inches tall with a 33-inch chest and weighed 126 pounds. He had a fresh complexion, blue eyes and brown hair, was employed as a Collier, and stated that he was a Methodist.

During his initial 7 years service, he spent 18 months in India which only ended when he returned to England after being kicked by a horse. He was discharged arter 7 years in June 1899, but just 4 months later he was re-called from the Reserves. He then spent 2 years in South Africa from November 1899 to December 1901 as Driver with 74th Battery, Royal Field Artillery. He was finally discharged from the Royal Artillery in June 1904 having served 12 years.

John was either recalled as a reservist, or volunteered immediately on the outbreak of war, as he landed in France on 14th September 1914.

Action resulting in his death

John Bills was wounded or became sick at some stage after he arrived in France in September 1914, and was invalided back to England. He died on 20th May 1917, and is buried in Tipton Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings