Private 78477 John Henry Gill

Gill John 96 372x600 Gill John Henry 96 431x600

Died of Wounds on Monday, 19th November 1917, age 27.
Buried in Grave XIV. C. 15. at Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Westvleteren, Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

Royal Army Medical Corps, 2nd Field Ambulance.

Brother of Alice M. Bibbs, of 105, Gospel Oak Rd. Ocker Hill, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. Mark's Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/620749/

Genealogical Data

Birth of John Gill registered June quarter 1889 in Dudley.

1901 Census
148 Leabrook Road, Ocker Hill, Tipton.
Harriet Gill (49, widow, Laundress, born Ocker Hill), and her 2 children: Alice (15, born Ocker Hill), and John Henry (11, born Ocker Hill).

1911 Census
181 Leabrook Road, Ocker Hill, Tipton.
Harriet Gill (59, Widow, born Ocker Hill), and her 2 children: Alice (25, Tailoress, born Ocker Hill), and John Henry (21, House Painter, born Ocker Hill).

Personal Data

John Gill enlisted in Wolverhampton on 30th October 1915, age 26 with an apparent age of 30. Private Gill's parents had both died and he was living with his only sibling, his sister Alice Maria Bibbs, at 105 Gospel Oak Road, Tipton. He was employed as a Painter, he was 5 feet 6½ inches tall, weighing 125lbs with a 35½-inch chest. He was described as physically well developed with perfect eyesight.

On March 3rd 1917, he departed from Southampton and arrived at Rouen on March 4th. On March 23rd he was transferred to No. 2 Field Ambulance, which was attached to the British 1st Division.

After John's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £3/8/3d (3 pounds, 8 shillings and 3 pence); this was paid to his sister, Mrs Alice M. Bibbs, in February 1918. His War Gratuity was £8/10/0d (8 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his sister in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that John had enlisted in March 1916.

Action resulting in his death

During November 1917, the 1st Division, and hence No.2 Field Ambulance, was involved in the final phases of the Third Battle of Ypres. This is usually considered to have ended around 10th November with the capture of the village of Passchendaele, but significant skirmishes continued throughout November and into December.

Although Private Gill survived the horrors of the Third Battle of Ypres, he was to be mortally wounded by shell fire on 19th November whilst doing his duty as a stretcher-bearer. He died on the same day at No. 4 Casualty Clearing Station at Dozinghem from the effects of shell wounds to the foot, leg and a shattered thigh. He is buried at Dozinghem Military Cemetery, located to the north-west of Poperinghe.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald December 8th 1917
Ocker Hill Chorister Makes the Great Sacrifice.
A very large circle of friends will deeply regret the death of Private J.H. Gill. He belonged to No. 2 Field Ambulance, R.A.M.C., and died on November 19th from the effects of shell wound of the foot, leg and a shattered thigh. When admitted to the clearing station he was too ill to suffer any pain or realise that he was dying. The matron told him she was writing home, and he asked for his love to be sent. He was buried with military honours at the cemetery attached.
Private J.H. Gill joined the forces on October 30th 1915, and had been in France since March this year. He died at No. 4 Casualty Clearing Station. He was 27 years of age. He was a chorister at St. Mark's Church for 20 years, and a memorial service will be held there in memory of the dead hero.
Lieutenant-Colonel Bryce of the R.A.M.C. writing to Private Gill's sister says: "Dear Madam, It is with great regret that I have to inform you that I have received notification from the officer commanding No. 4 Casualty Clearing Station that your brother, Private J.H. Gill, died of wounds received in action on the 19th inst., and has been interred at Dozinghem. At the time your brother was wounded, he was acting as a stretcher-bearer from the front-line. He was showing the greatest courage, endurance and devotion to duty under the most trying conditions which I have seen in a long experience out here. It is of course impossible to make up for such a loss, but it must be a consolation to you to know that your brother died gloriously and unselfishly, having given his life for another. We shall miss him sadly in the Field Ambulance, where he was deservedly most popular. The unit will place a suitable memorial on his grave. Please accept my most sincere sympathy in your great loss."